Urban Gardening in Addis Ababa

stefanVulnerable Children Society’s first long-term on-the-ground volunteer, Stefan Jasuira, left today for Ethiopia. Stefan, a landscaper, serial volunteer and globe-trotter, is spending three months in Addis Ababa developing urban gardens to enable food security among impoverished Ethiopian children.

Stefan’s task is huge – but it will have a lasting effect of the quality of life for 70+ children and their families.

First, Stefan is launching up a demonstration garden at Vulnerable Children Society’s Love & Hope Centre in Kality, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Children from impoverished families attend the centre each day, to receive a hot meal, after school tutoring, love, medical care, counselling, clubs and unconditional acceptance. Many of the children are orphaned, but their guardians are already involved in the centre, preparing meals for the children each day. Stefan will work in partnership with the guardians and Vulnerable Children’s partner, Canadian Humanitarian, that runs the centre, to build vegetable gardens. The gardens will not only enrich the diets of the children who attend the centre, but also teach valuable intensive gardening skills to the kids and the community.

Across town, Stefan is planning another garden on a smaller scale. Vulnerable Children’s partner Hope for Children in Ethiopia runs an effective retraining program for young girls who want to escape the sex trade and start new careers. The ten  girls live in a group home, and the plan is to work with the girls to build container and vertical gardens within the courtyard. The gardens will be managed by the teen girls, empowering them to provide some of their own food, be less income reliant, and enrich their cooking skills for working in restaurants.

We hope you will follow along with Stefan’s adventures over the next few months, and see our cooperative urban gardening projects grow.

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!This nourishing project is financed by Vulnerable Children Society’s General Project Fund. If you would like to contribute, please donate here.

 

 

A surprise gift for the girls in our Teen Sex Trade Worker Retraining Program

My daughters and I had fun shopping for some very special teen girls on Saturday. Tawnya is leaving for Ethiopia next week to check in on our projects, and is visiting the ten girls in our Teenage Sex Trade Worker Retraining Program in Addis Ababa.

The girls in Addis are currently getting training in hair dressing, and we thought they could use some tool! But also, we just wanted to let the girls know how much we care for them. Many of these girls have been rejected by their families, and have very low self esteem. It’s important that they know we are sending love, as well as money for their program.

I’m sure Tawnya will have a blast sharing these gift bags with the girls. If you would like to light up the lives of 10 more girls next year, we are currently fundraising to support another cohort of girls that would like to escape the sex trade. Please consider donating 🙂

 

Canadian Sunday School Supports Ethiopian Children’s Music and Dance Program

by Marie Matchett

Recently I was approached by my childhood church (St. Stephen’s United Church) and asked if I knew of a charity in Ethiopia that the Sunday School children could fundraise for.  Immediately Vulnerable Children Society came to mind.

After waiting over 4 years to adopt our son from Ethiopia through many ups and downs, a lot of the congregation were there to cheer with us and sigh with us when we hit yet another hurdle.  On our first trip to Ethiopia in October 2012 we were able to visit with one of Vulnerable Children Society’s former projects.  It was one of the highlights of our trip that we still talk about to this day!  We saw first hand the good work this wonderful organization was doing for the most vulnerable children.  So it was an easy choice when I was asked about a charity.  After bringing our son home and visiting Ethiopia twice, we knew how important it was to give back to a country that gave us so much, and the Sunday school agreed!

The Sunday school which consists of around 15 children fundraised throughout the year.  In September they kicked off the season with a pancake breakfast.  In December they had a service where all the loose offering was donated.  And in February they started Random Acts of Kindness and placed a jar though out the church for people to place loose change or money in.  This project alone raised $135!

In June I was asked to make a presentation to the congregation about our adoption journey and the work Vulnerable Children Society does.  I was also presented with a cheque for $450 which will go towards a music and dance program for the children at the Love and Hope Centre!!   It was an honour to accept that cheque on VCS’s behalf!

Field Report from Addis: Teen Sex Trade Workers

Our honorary director Tam and her family visited the ten girls in the Teenage Sex Trade Worker Retraining Project in Addis last week. Here’s her awesome field report:

20140524-114018-42018443.jpg

“Right before we left for Ethiopia, I was invited to participate in the 10 for 10 campaign being held by Vulnerable Children’s Society. Ten women were challenged to raise $1300 each so that 10 more young women could be admitted into a former sex worker retraining program that Vulnerable Children Society supports in Addis Ababa.

These young women in Addis Ababa are as young as 14 years old and receive incredible support in this program which we got to see firsthand on the second day we were in Ethiopia. The director Yonas, told us that the young women receive counselling, skills training, medical care, education, food and group accomodation while they are in the one year program and that it’s had a 95% success rate to date. The former sex worker retraining program is just one of many that they have run successfully for years and it was obvious that he has a passion for helping wherever possible.

We were able to meet the young women in the program who were just about to start their daily counselling session with a pair of Dutch counselling students and an Ethiopian counterpart. Some of the other girls were in a hairdressing class (big business in Ethiopia) and were shyly showing off their flat ironing skills.

It was obvious that these girls had be through so much. Their eyes spoke volumes of the things that no one should have to endure and the courage they have to try and change their lives. It was an hounor to be able to meet these girls and see the program first hand.”

You can donate to Tam’s campaign to support one (or more!!) teen girls to attend the program next year:
https://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=36706
20140524-114018-42018561.jpg

10 women fundraise for 10 girls

20140524-114642-42402072.jpg
This summer, 10 women from across the country are fundraising to support 10 girls to attend our Teenage Sex Trade Worker Reemployment Program in Addis Ethiopia.

The women are students, government workers, homeschooling moms, retirees, business women… aged 15 to 65! They all want to give a teen Ethiopian girl another chance at freedom and self reliance.

Each woman is raising $1300, the year-long program cost for one girl!

So far, we have raised $3870 as a team… That’s enough for three girls to attend the program. Will you help us 10 women support 10 girls?

In the next four days, please consider donating to Dacia’s campaign!

https://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=36820

Guests Welcome at the Love and Hope Centre!

On our last visit to the Love and Hope Centre, we sat down with the staff and discussed visitors coming to the centre. Several of our supporters have expressed an interest to visit the Love and Hope Centre, in Kality, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. You are very welcome to visit! Here are some of the guidelines to ensure you, the staff, and the kids, have a lovely time together. We’ve also included a current list of valuable donations, should you decide to fill a bag for the centre!

Love and Hope Centre Visitor Guidelines

We are so glad you have decided to visit Vulnerable Children Society’s Love and Hope Centre in Kality. Please follow these guidelines to ensure a wonderful visit for yourself, the kids and the staff!

  • Plan on visiting the centre around 3pm in the afternoon, on a weekday, so that you can see and interact with the children.
  • When you know your exact date, please email Nicole info@vulnerablechildren.ca so she can pass on the date via the proper channels to the centre staff.
  • The Love and Hope Centre in Kality is approximately a one hour drive from the centre of Addis Ababa, depending on construction and traffic. You are responsible for the costs of a driver to visit the centre. If you need a driver to pick you up, please include that in your email with your date of visit, as well as where you are staying in Addis. If you have your own driver, we will provide a contact phone number so they can speak to the centre staff and get directions to the centre.
  • Any gifts for the children must be brought in batches of 70, and must be given to the centre staff for appropriate distribution. Please don’t hand out gifts or candy at the centre; it teaches the wrong lessons and may not be fair to all the children. When in doubt, please stick to the donations list below.
  • If you bring donations – thank you! Please give them to the centre staff, so they can distribute them wisely, at an appropriate time.
  • Please do not give cash to the centre staff. If you use cash to purchase donations in Ethiopia, and drop them to the centre, that is fine. But if you have cash to give, please donate it through Vulnerable Children Society, so that we can properly account for cash flow. This assists us, and our operational partner, to maintain our stellar reputations as accountable, reliable, non-profits.
  • You may take pictures at the centre! In fact, we encourage it. Please realize the pictures may be used for the sole purpose of promoting Vulnerable Children Society’s work, and the Love and Hope centre. The pictures may not be used for any other application, such as making profit, religious purposes, or raising funds for other causes. You are welcome to post the pictures on Facebook or blogs, but again, please always link to Vulnerable Children Society’s website.  Do not post the names, or personal stories, of any of the children, as we want to respect their privacy. This is really important, and we appreciate your consideration.
  • We love it when we get pictures from visitors, or even better, little stories about your visit to the centre. If you can send us a couple of your best pictures, as well as a paragraph about your visit, we would love to post it on Vulnerable Children Society’s blog, to inspire others to contribute.
  • FYI: the Love and Hope Centre is operated by our awesome partner Canadian Humanitarian, and mostly funded by Vulnerable Children Society. We each have revenue streams that support the centre. If you are interested in Love and Hope sponsorship, or making monetary donations, we have an agreement with Canadian Humanitarian (CH) that Vulnerable Children Society (VCS)’s friends and supporters should donate through VCS. If, for some reason, you are affiliated with VCS but donate through CH, then please let us know, as this amount should be deducted from our transfers to CH.
  • If you have any feedback or questions about the centre, please don’t hesitate to email us.

 Current Donation Wish List

  • Groups of 10 Pre-K and K (Kindergarten) readers. This means 10 copies of the same book, so the students can work on them together  in Reading Clubs. Please avoid any political, violent or religious topics.
  • School supplies, including notebooks, pens, pencils, sharpeners, erasers.
  • Art supplies of any kind, for the art club. Examples include paints, brushes, chalk, charcoal, sketch books, canvases, coloured paper.
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • Underwear, for boys or girls aged 6-12.
  • Black socks, for elementary school aged children.
  • Skipping ropes