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:

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“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
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10 women fundraise for 10 girls

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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

Crafting, reading and meeting at the Love and Hope Centre

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On March 10, I had the delight of spending the day at Vulnerable Children Society’s Love and Hope Centre in Kality, on the outskirts of Addis. In fact, a whole gaggle of us met at the centre. My family came along with me to teach crafts, and my kids ran around with the other Ethiopian children their age. I had a meetings with staff from Canadian Humanitarian, our partner organization that operates the centre, as well as Deb, the expedition coordinator from Canada. We were also joined by other Vulnerable Children reps: our project consultant Birhan, as well Nicole, one of our directors from Canada. It was a merry, busy day!
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Now, as the president of Vulnerable Children, I spend most of my time in Ethiopia in meetings, strategy sessions, and project evaluations. But this time, I got to interact with the kids, reading them stories and leading a craft.
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My mother, a retired school teacher, prepared a fantastic but very involved craft, that helped the kids practice their English. Counting, colours… My husband father, mother and I all lead groups of 15-20 kids, making beaded frogs and lizards. My hats off to my family… I had the benefit of rudimentary Amharic on my side; but they operated their groups with humour, determination, and a lot of hands on help. At the end of two hours, two hours! all the kids went home with an incredibly special, durable, and fun toy to show their families.
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On a personal note, my seven year old daughters visited and participated too. Most of huge children at the centre are right around their age, so even though they were shy at first, once their daddy got involved in chasing around the kids, they were in their like dirty shirts. My husband Jason only knows a few words of Amharic, but all he needed to start that game was by yelling “Anbassa!” (Lion!) at the top of his lungs. Then he had a crowd of kids, including ours, after him!
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The children usually come to the centre for lunch, then return to school until the end of the school day. Then they return for after school tutoring, games, art club, showers, teeth brushing, etc. but since it was the first day back for them after “spring break,” the kids came for lunch, and stayed until the end of the day.

I was really impressed by how the ideas concocted between Canadian Humanitarian’s former executive director and I, those months ago, have transformed into reality. It’s amazing to see. For example, we asked the caregivers to be involved in cooking… So far, five groups of female guardians have rotated through the kitchen, making lunch every day. The guardians are paid as cooks usually would be, and then the next month, they are replaced by new guardians. It’s a pretty awesome, legitimate way to financially involved them in the centre, as well as being involved and supportive.
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The centre’s coordinator, an amazing young woman, came with the children from the former program, so she knows and understands their individual needs well. Also on staff are a social worker, and an accountant. In reality, they all help with the day to day operations, and it’s an extremely efficient and effective operation.

We did have meetings after the children went home (what’s a visit without a meeting?) to discuss the needs and new developments at the centre. I’ll share those with you all after I have a chance to discuss them with Vulnerable Children Society’s directors. But the punch line is that both our project consultant (who is doing formal evaluation work for us,) Nicole and I… We were all extremely happy with the project!
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If you are currently a Love and Hope sponsor, you should be really proud of your support. It’s money extremely well spent! With an incredible well run centre. Hats off to our partner, Canadian Humanitarian, for operating a fantastic project. And hats off to you, for funding it!
Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!
We hope you will ask a friend to join us as a Love and Hope sponsor, so that we can enrich this program, and open another centre in the near future!
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Vulnerable Children Society starts a Literacy Library

From Vulnerable Children’s President Arnica Rowan:

When I learned that I was going to Ethiopia in a couple of weeks, I asked Canadian Humanitarian’s Ethiopian coordinator, who operates the Love and Hope Centre, if there was anything I should bring. “10 books of the same title, for our reading club,” he replied. Vulnerable Children’s Love and Hope Centre provides after school tutoring, as well as hot meals, medical care and a safe place for 70 kids to play each day.

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Well, thanks to the generous contributions from a variety of donors, we are bringing a whole Literacy Library to Ethiopia next week! There are 10 books of every title, for the 10 students in each reading group. We were able to purchase readers and books at 1/2 price from Scholastic (thank you!) which made the donations go that much further. There are books at a variety of primary levels, all in English, with culturally appropriate topics. We have also purchase vinyl covers for all the books, and a library stamp, to keep them in good order and organized.

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If you are wondering why we would bring English books to Ethiopia, it’s because English is one of the keys to getting a good education. Primary schooling is taught in each region’s indigenous language, but by the time students reach post secondary, the majority of instruction is in English. The foreign language is also a big asset is several industries, including tourism and sciences. So enriching the students’ English second language studies is contributing positively.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to our project! We look forward to expanding the library as the students learning needs grow!

If you would like to make a contribution to this project, click the red box below.
Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

Request for Hygene Donations

With an emphasis on personal hygiene, the goal is for each of the 70 children at the Love and Hope Centre in Kality to have at least three sets of underwear: shorts, panties, socks and undershirts (100% cotton). The center also needs toothbrushes and toothpaste.

If you would like to donate these items to the Vulnerable Children Society’s Love and Hope Center in Kality, please send them to Communications Director Nicole, who will be travelling to Ethiopia in the near future. The address is below.

Or, if you are traveling to Ethiopia soon, please consider bringing these items to the centre. You can contact Nicole for details on how to get to the centre, and for their current needs: info@vulnerablechildren.ca

Nicole Bellefleur – Please send before February 1st
6 Gay Avenue
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
C1A-2N3
CANADA