Field Report: Humbled and Inspired

From Communication Director Nicole, December 2013, from the Love and Hope Centre in Addis Ababa:

The kids who are participating in this program are among the most at-risk in Kality, meaning they have lost one of both parents, are touched by HIV (either they and/or their parents are HIV+), and/or are very poor. They range in age from 5 to 13 years.

One might think that with so many challenges before them, they’d be down-in-the-dumps, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I was greeted with unbridled excitement and enthusiasm – these kids know how to make a gal feel welcome! They were eager to play games with me and show me around, and they just loved watching videos of themselves on my iPhone.

As someone who spent three years teaching English in Japan, I was impressed by how well the kids could speak English. They were all eager to introduce themselves to me, tell me their ages and shake my hand.

Before I left, they sang a joyful song. As I watched them, I couldn’t help but marvel at their resilience. These kids have experienced more hardship than most of us will ever know, but they aren’t dwelling on it. Instead, they are meeting life’s challenges head on, smiling all the way. It was both humbling, and inspiring.

Visit: Love & Hope Centre’s Holistic Approach

by VCS Communications Director Nicole Bellefleur

Bisrat & Nicole2On Monday, December 9th, I visited the Vulnerable Children Society’s Love & Hope Center with Canadian Humanitarian’s in-country representative, Bisrat Sime.

The educational center is located in Kality, an impoverished community of about 28,000 residents located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. The unemployment rate is exceptionally high and poverty is wide-spread; its residents are among the most vulnerable in the region.

Seventy of the community’s most at-risk kids visit the center on a daily basis, to receive a hot meal at noontime, and to take part in the center’s after-school program – this includes:

• Tutoring and homework assistance daily (the kids attend a nearby school from 8:30am to 3:30pm)
• Reading practice two days per week
• Art classes two days per week
• Free play one day per week

The walled compound features a building with one large room furnished with tables and chairs, and a small office; there is also a courtyard where the kids can play. The entire facility is immaculate.

Nicole - Main Room2

Courtyard2

The program places an emphasis on personal hygiene.

Brushing Teeth2

Each child keeps a toothbrush in a pocket of big canvas storage unit that hangs in the social worker’s office, and brushes his/her teeth every day after school.

SW - Toothbruch Storage2

To one side of the courtyard is a new structure made of corrugated metal that houses separate toilets and showers for boys and girls – this is where the kids take showers on Saturday mornings.

Toilet2 Shower Stall2

Next to this structure is a concrete platform with four taps on either side – this is where they wash their feet every day.

Foot Washing Taps2

Across the courtyard is a small shelter where the parents and guardians prepare nutritious meals for the kids (there is also a kitchen area inside the main building).

Main Building & Shower-Toilet Building2

There are seventy parents/guardians, and since they all want to contribute to caring for the children, they formed a committee that assigns five of them to volunteer for this task each month.

Parents-Guardians - Food Preparation2

The children in the program also receive medical attention from health care professionals.

It’s evident that the social worker managing the Vulnerable Children Society’s Love & Hope Center genuinely cares for each child in his care, and is proud of their accomplishments.

By giving the children access to educational assistance, better nutrition, and health care services, and enabling them to grow through play, sport and art, the program is taking a holistic approach toward ensuring they reach their full potential.

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org! You can support these wonderful kids and make a difference in their lives. Your support enables children to receive the love and hope they deserve, as well as educational, health and social care. Your donation also enables us to expand our Love and Hope Centre program to other communities. Learn more.

Progress on the Love and Hope Centre in Kality

One month ago, we announced that the Vulnerable Children Society had partnered with Canadian Humanitarian to fund an educational center in Kality, through our sponsorship program.

photo 1

Since our announcement, the team in Ethiopia has been busy getting the Vulnerable Children Society’s Love and Hope Center up and running. We recently received an update from Canadian Humanitarian, regarding the progress in Ethiopia that has been made over the last few weeks.

Canadian Humanitarian has leased a 490 square meter building that has one large room, several smaller activity rooms, and two offices. Vulnerable Children Society is covering the cost of renovating and furnishing the compound.  The renovations are almost done: the team is now working on the plumbing in the shower and toilet house.

The Canadian Humanitarian representative in Ethiopia has received a picture of the Love and Hope Center sign that was made by the Vulnerable Children Society – he loves it! According to him, the words in Amharic are powerful. He has printed the picture of the sign and hung it in the center for all to see while they wait for the actual sign to be brought to Ethiopia by the Canadian staff soon.

photo 3

Most importantly, all of the children in the program have been registered for school, and started attending classes last week. Prior to this, the school supplies that were generously donated by our supporters in Canada and transported to Ethiopia by our volunteers were distributed to the children and their guardians by the Love and Hope Center staff.

We look forward to posting pictures of the Vulnerable Children Society’s Love and Hope Center in the near future!

BACKGROUND

Previously, Canadian Humanitarian had made a long-term commitment to put seventy kids through school, all the way to the post secondary level, through its sponsorship program. Each Canadian Humanitarian sponsor is assigned to one child, and their sponsorship fees cover uniforms and school registration fees.

Recognizing the tremendous benefits of taking a holistic approach to child development, Canadian Humanitarian wanted to enhance the support provided to the kids in the program, by welcoming them to an educational center every day where they would receive hot meals, tutoring and medical services. Following months of carful negotiations, the Vulnerable Children Society committed to funding this important facility, which we named the Love and Hope Center (Fikir Tesfa in Amharic.)

Get involved… become a Love and Hope sponsor!

ABOUT KALITY

Located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Kality is a community of displaced people, many who live in slum-like conditions. The unemployment rate is exceptionally high and poverty is wide-spread – its residents are among the most vulnerable in the region. We’re confident that by joining forces with Canadian Humanitarian, we’ll have a significant, long-term impact on the lives of seventy deserving kids and their families, through this enhanced sponsorship program.

Introducing: the children of Kality!

It’s very exciting to open a file folder, and for the first time, see the face of the children in a new program. Our new Love and Hope Centre in Kality opened last weekend, and these are some of the children from Canadian Humanitarian’s Kid’s Hope program who will be attending the centre. We should have more news to share on the program’s launch soon, but for now, please enjoy the children’s face. Thank you SO MUCH to all our sponsors who have stuck with us, and are now supporting these amazing kids through their Love and Hope sponsorships!

If you would like to be a Love and Hope Sponsor and support the children in Kality, please simply arrange to make a (minimum $35) monthly donation through CanadaHelps, and sent us an email info@vulnerablechildren.ca saying you have signed up!

The children at Vulnerable Children Society's Love and Hope Centre in Kality, Ethiopia

VULNERABLE CHILDREN OPENS NEW EDUCATIONAL CENTRE FOR CHILDREN IN ADDIS ABABA

Vulnerable Children Society has partnered with Canadian Humanitarian to open the Love and Hope ፍቅር ተስፋ Centre for at-risk children in Kality, an outlying neighborhood of Addis Ababa.

older kids

In June 2013, Canadian Humanitarian made a long-term commitment to put seventy kids through school, all the way to the post secondary level, through its own sponsorship program. Each Canadian Humanitarian sponsor is assigned to one child, and their sponsorship fees cover uniforms and school registration fees.

Recognizing the tremendous benefits of taking a holistic approach to child development, Canadian Humanitarian wanted to enhance the support provided to the kids in Kality.

Vulnerable Children Society stepped up to the plate.

Following months of careful negotiations and planning, both organizations are pleased to announce that Vulnerable Children Society is opening the Love and Hope ፍቅር ተስፋ Centre  to serve the children in Kality. Vulnerable Children will fund the educational center through its existing sponsorship program.

kids

Vulnerable Children’s Love and Hope ፍቅር ተስፋ Centre  will welcome the Kality children every day, where they will receive hot meals, tutoring and medical services.

An existing building has been leased, and Vulnerable Children is covering the cost of renovating and furnishing it.  Canadian Humanitarian will use its vocational center in Addis Ababa to build some of the furniture; where possible, they will also involve the kids’ guardians in the renovation work.

Renovations are currently underway, and the children are expected to be attending the Centre by October.

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JOINING FORCES

Canadian Humanitarian sponsors will continue to be Kids Hope child sponsors; their funds will be directed to supporting the children to attend school. They will receive regular updates on the individual children they are sponsoring through Canadian Humanitarian.

Vulnerable Children Society sponsors will become Love and Hope sponsors. They will receive quarterly updates on the all the children at the Kality centre, including details on one or two featured children.

Canadian Humanitarian will manage and operate the educational centre. Vulnerable Children Society will have strong strategic direction over it, and is the major funder of the centre.

Because of its close proximity on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, it will be easy for Vulnerable Children Society’s Love and Hope sponsors to visit the educational center when they travel to Ethiopia, to see how their financial contributions are transforming vulnerable children’s lives.

kids and guardians

ABOUT KALITY

Located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Kality is a community of displaced people who live in impoverished and slum-like conditions. The unemployment rate is exceptionally high and poverty is wide-spread;  its residents are among the most vulnerable in the region.

By joining forces with Canadian Humanitarian, Vulnerable Children Society sponsors will have a significant, long-term impact on the lives of seventy deserving kids and their families, through the Love and Hope ፍቅር ተስፋ Centre.

For more information

Please contact: Vulnerable Children Society, info@vulnerablechildren.ca