Ethiopian Families Affected by HIV/AIDS Need Food Aid Now

Imagine only being able to feed your child once a day. Imagine having to choose between the expense of sending your child to school or being able to feed her that one meal per day. Even worse, imagine knowing that your little one’s health is already compromised by HIV and that she needs proper nutrition to help fight the effects of the virus.

In fact, this is daily life for many families in the central Ethiopian communities of Adama, Wonji, Ambo and Guder. While food is still available in these areas, skyrocketing prices due to the drought in Ethiopia have meant that basic food supplies have become  out of reach for low-income, at-risk families.

This week, Vulnerable Children Society is launching a Drought Relief Campaign to provide food aid to 50 hard hit families in these four communities in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

We are asking Canadian families to help us raise $1,900 in order to provide large bags of tef flour, the main ingredient in Ethiopia’s national food staple, for 50 at-risk Ethiopian families.

These families are already identified and on the waiting list to participate in the House 2 House sponsorship program facilitated by Vulnerable Children Society and its Ethiopian partner, Faya Orphanage. Most of the children in the community-based program are HIV+ or have family members who are sick or HIV+ as well. The House 2 House child and family sponsorships take care of their basic necessities, which can include food, access to healthcare, medicine and school supplies.

Unfortunately, the wait-list of families needing sponsorship is as long as the list of families already sponsored through the House 2 House program. The local government’s Women’s Affairs office identifies each child or family for the House 2 House sponsorship program. To be recommended for sponsorship, Women’s Affairs first vets each family and prioritizes those families which are most at-risk.

These 50 children and families wait-listed for the House 2 House program are in desperate need of assistance. While Vulnerable Children Society continues to look for ongoing sponsorship for these unsponsored families, they need our help urgently now.  They are already in real crisis and the current food price emergency in Ethiopia has made their difficult situations nearly impossible.

Please consider partnering with Vulnerable Children Society and Faya Orphanage to help these families affected by HIV/AIDS.

To donate to the Drought Relief Campaign, please click on the “Drought Relief” icon (top left) at www.vulnerablechildren.ca 

To enquire about sponsoring an at-risk child or family, please contact Vulnerable Children Society at info@vulnerablechildren.ca .

Read more:

A Special Thank You to Families Who Have Visited Faya Orphanage

Vulnerable Children Society would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all Canadian families who have donated to and/or visited Faya Orphanage. Your generosity means that, to date, the children living at Faya Orphanage have not experienced negative fallout from the drought affecting Ethiopia.

According to Faya Orphanage director Meseret Demissie, the donations brought to the orphanage have offset other costs, and enabled the orphanage to afford food for the children in her care.

As a result of the drought, prices in central Ethiopia where Faya operates have skyrocketed, meaning that essential food supplies and medicines have become almost out of reach for many families.

Over the last few years, several dozen Canadian families have visited Faya Orphanage with donations, while families in Canada also continue to sponsor children living there. It is this generous support that has helped safeguard the well-being of children who call Faya Orphanage home.

During this food crisis, it has never been clearer that donations from Canadians make a real and lasting difference in the lives of HIV+ and HIV- children living at Faya Orphanage.

If you are planning to visit Ethiopia or have donations you would like to send to Faya Orphanage, please contact VCS board member Nicole Bellefleur at info@vulnerablechildren.ca for more information.

While the children at Faya are safe, unfortunately many of the community families enrolled in Faya Orphanage’s House 2 House program in Adama, Wonji, Ambo and Guder are feeling the effects of runaway inflation on food prices.

Please stay tuned to Vulnerable Children Society’s blog and Facebook page this week to learn more about the actions we are taking right now to assist vulnerable families living in Ethiopian communities.

Read more:  Drought in Ethiopia Takes its Toll on Families

Written by Vulnerable Children board member Chris Ardern

Droughts in Ethiopia – crisis in progress


You may have heard about the droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia. It’s important to hear what is going on, and how the NGOs and governments are responding.

You may ask what you can do to help people so far away, with such a huge crisis.

We know from reports from our friends and partners in Ethiopia that life is getting harder for everyday working folks, and extremely dire for those living on the edge of poverty.  Thank you for considering donating to those in need.

Our First Newsletter!

Well, Vulnerable Children Society is seven months old and doing amazingly well. We’d love to share with you some pictures and highlights from the first whirlwind half-year.

Please download our newsletter and share it with your friends! VCS April 2011 Newsletter!

Excerpt from the president’s report:

In the summer of 2010, three women were sitting outside in the sunshine drinking hot cups of Ethiopia coffee. We shared friendship and connections to Ethiopia: two of us (Arnica and Tawnya) had adopted children from that country, and one of us (Menbere) originally hailed from there. For several months, we had been contemplating how we could get more involved and contribute to the country that had given us so much. We talked about how Faya Orphanage had an opening for a new partner, and we decided – now is the time. With commitments made over buna, Vulnerable Children Society was born.

Thanks to your strong commitments, we have met and exceeded each of our goals!  Two highlights: We have complete sustainable funding through sponsorship for the orphanage, and have applied for charitable status.

I can’t wait to see what the next six months bring!

No charitable receipts THIS year

I’ve been emailed by a few supporters enquiring about tax receipts for their sponsorships and donations.

The bad news is – we can’t issue tax receipts this year.

The good news is – we should be issuing tax receipts by next year!

Why? We actually didn’t send out tax receipts for this year, because we aren’t a charity – yet. We are still in the application process for charitable status.

Vulnerable Children Society is a registered non-profit society (registered in BC.) Here is a handy document discussing the difference between non-profit societies and charities. Charitable status (being registered as a charity through Revenue Canada) takes quite a while. Society registration was the first step towards charitable status, writing our agreements with Faya Orphanage was the second step, and then we rushed to start filling out the additional paperwork. Since, we have sent off our completed application to Canada Revenue. We’re waiting now for that charity designation. We are expecting to wait 8-10 months from now until we hear back from them.

Our application was very complete and we don’t anticipate any issues with it. So by this time next year, we should be issuing you all tax receipts for your wonderful, outstanding support!