Announcing our new partner: Canadian Humanitarian!

Press Release
April 15, 2013: For Immediate Release

NGOs Team Up to Assist Ethiopian Children

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Kelowna, BC: Canadian Humanitarian Organization for International Relief and Vulnerable Children Society have once again joined forces to improve the lives of impoverished children in Ethiopia.

Canadian Humanitarian will be operating a new educational centre in the small town of Guder for Vulnerable Children, who is providing the funding and managing sponsor communications. In addition, Canadian Humanitarian will be taking over the management of Vulnerable Children’s House 2 House direct sponsorship program in Adama, Wonji, Mojo and Ambo  that enables orphaned and vulnerable children to stay in their communities instead of entering institutional care.

Bryce Meldrum, Canadian Humanitarian Executive Director, was enthusiastic about the partnership. “We have several educational centres in the Oromia region of Ethiopia that holistically address the needs of vulnerable children. This new centre in Guder combines our years of experience in supporting families and educating children, with Vulnerable Children’s energy and expertise in HIV support.”

The two organizations share similar values and agree that education is the tool to uplift children out of extreme poverty and enable them to realize their potential.

The children in the House 2 House program are chosen by local government based on an extreme level of need. Over 90% of the children are living with HIV, and the others have severe physical challenges. All of the children live in extreme poverty; many have lost one or both parents. Vulnerable Children pays the school fees and uniform costs for all House 2 House children, and provides their families with food and medical support.

“Our sponsors have been supporting our House 2 House kids for almost three years and the program has made an enormous difference in their lives,” commented Arnica Rowan, president of Vulnerable Children Society. “We are so pleased that Canadian Humanitarian has agreed to operate our programs and deepen the level of support for our kids in Guder with an educational centre. It is our hope to eventually offer these extended social, medical and educational services to all our sponsored children in each of the other communities.”

Previously, Vulnerable Children Society donated $10,000 to furnish one of Canadian Humanitarian’s centres in the rural Ethiopian community of Gindo.

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To learn more please contact:

Arnica Rowan, President, Vulnerable Children Society. Kelowna, BC. (250) 762-9227  info@vulnerablechildren.ca  www.vulnerablechildren.ca

Bryce Meldrum, Executive Director, Canadian Humanitarian. Medicine Hat, Alberta. (403) 527-2741 bryce@canadianhumanitarian.com  www.canadianhumanitarian.com

Donations to the Guder Educational Centre may be made on either organization’s website. Please mark your donation “Guder.”

To sponsor a House 2 House child, please set up your monthly donation on Vulnerable Children Society’s website.

 

 

Canadian Humanitarian
Canadian Humanitarian Organization for International Relief
www.canadianhumanitarian.com

Canadian Humanitarian Organization for International Relief (Canadian Humanitarian) is a non-religious, non-political, registered Canadian Charity (#87302 9102 RR0001). We are dedicated to assisting disadvantaged children, their families and communities break free from the cycle of poverty.

Our Vision: To see every child reach their full potential through innovative, sustainable community development models that empower local initiatives.

Our Mission: To break the cycle of poverty by providing orphaned and vulnerable children and their families with access to health care, education, vocational training, and the basic necessities of life such as nutrition and shelter.

Our Philosophy: Canadian Humanitarian believes in local solutions to local struggles. This leads us to partner with local individuals and local organizations overseas to create opportunity for individuals, families and communities. Adopting a community based development approach; we provide tools to community members enabling them to get themselves out of poverty.

Vulnerable Children Society
Vulnerable Children Society
www.vulnerablechildren.ca

Vulnerable Children Society is a registered Canadian Charity (#810826917RR0001 ). We help some of the most vulnerable children and families in Ethiopia, in collaboration with Canadian Humanitarian and other wonderful Ethiopian partner organizations. With the help of our dedicated donors, we run a House 2 House child sponsorship program, which provides compassionate supportive care to children and families affected by extreme poverty and AIDS/HIV in their neighborhoods; and support very vulnerable children and families with impactful, targeted projects such as orphanage support, drought relief, and furnishing a library and educational centre.

Child by child, family by family, we hope to make the world a safe and joyful place for some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Our values are sustainability, compassion, transparency and impact.

Vulnerable Children Society was started by 6 women, all joined by a common love and sense of responsibility for children in Africa. Some of the women have children adopted from Ethiopia and Swaziland. Two women are of Moroccan and Ethiopian heritage themselves. Currently, we have approximately 100 members and 6 directors from all across Canada.

Ideas for Sponsored Child Gifts

Vulnerable Children SocietyIf you sponsor a child through Vulnerable Children’s House 2 House program, you may want to send a little gift with us on our annual trip! If we deliver the package in person, we will take pictures and send them to you next update. If we don’t see your sponsored child in person, we will leave the gift with the local government office.

Remember, your gifts need to fit into a large freezer ziplock bag, and need to be sent to the address below before April 15th!

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I’ve had quite a few emails asking about appropriate packages, so here are some ideas for your child and their guardians. Feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments!!

  • For all kids:
    • A photo of your family. You are also welcome to include a short note in English.
    • Bars of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • For preschoolers:
    • Baby rattles or age appropriate simple learning toys, like little cars or threading beads.
  • For young school aged kids:
    • pencil crayons or felts and colouring books
    • hair barrettes, elastics or bobbles for girls
    • little pony or little doll with brushable hair and a brush for girls
    • little cars or plastic animal figurines for boys
    • little stuffed animals for girls or boys
  • For older school aged kids:
    • pencil crayons or felts and notebooks
    • hair barrettes, elastics or bobbles; lip gloss for girls
    • little cars for boys. Soccer or other jerseys (second hand are fine!) are a hit
    • a nice T-shirt
    • a deflated soccer pump and manual small pump
    • a wind-up or shaker flashlight (no batteries)
  • For mom, grandmother, auntie and older sister guardians:
    • little sample bottles of perfume to go to church or the mosque
    • chapstick or lip gloss
    • a super compact umbrella
    • wind-up or shaker flashlight (no batteries)
  • For dad, uncle, older brother and grandfather guardians:
    • playing cards with Canadian motif
    • wind-up or shaker flashlight (no batteries)
  • PLEASE NO:
    • Liquids
    • Gum or candy
    • Guns or any other violent toys
    • Anything that requires batteries

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Positive change: new partnership and new educational centre

IMPORTANT UPDATE

Please read the information below, for important information about our partnership with Faya Orphanage, and changes to our operations in Ethiopia.

We started Vulnerable Children Society in 2010, our intent was to help vulnerable children in Ethiopia. Our first partner was Faya Orphanage. We covered the costs of the orphanage and they ran our successful and growing House 2 House program. Since, we have also started working with other partners, including Canadian Humanitarian for their educational centre in Gindo.

Regrettably, we have experienced significant challenges getting comprehensive financial reports, complete sponsor child updates and other information from Faya Orphanage. The financial reporting is especially crucial to our status as a registered Canadian charity. The board of directors has worked closely with Faya Orphanage for a year on these issues. Despite this, we have been unable to achieve the level of financial reporting and child sponsorship updates we require to continue our relationship with Faya Orphanage.

Meanwhile, Faya Orphanage’s operations have changed as well. What was once a small group home for 12-15 kids is now a very large home for three or four kids. Approximately half of our monthly budget has been going to run the orphanage; whereas the other half has supported 70 children in the community. Several factors, including increased community support, more health workers, and the adoption slowdown, have all contributed to smaller numbers at the orphanage. In the larger picture, this is a good thing – more kids are staying with their families, and fewer are going into institutional care.

Not continuing contract with Faya Orphanage

As a responsible board of directors who care deeply about being accountable to our donors, we have decided not to renew our contract with Faya Orphanage.

We want to help vulnerable children in Ethiopia grow and thrive, and we need partners who can meet our reporting requirements. To be fully accountable to both our donors and the Canada Revenue Agency, we must work with partners who can provide comprehensive information on both the financials and all the children in the House 2 House program.

This has been a very difficult decision to make as a board of directors. We would like to extend our warmest thanks to Meseret and Sintayehu for working with us for the last 2.5 years to support the well-being of dozens of children and families living with HIV/AIDS or other serious health challenges. We believe the partnership between Faya Orphanage and Vulnerable Children Society has brought help and hope to many families in Adama, Wonji, Guder and Ambo. Without the tireless efforts of the directors of Faya Orphanage, none of this would have been possible.

Plan B – great news ahead!

All this said, the board is now actually feeling very positive about the future. Plan B is on the horizon, and we are very excited to roll it out.

The stress and strain of managing this partner relationship definitely took its toll in the summer/fall, but when we started looking at other options, we saw hope. Our first commitment was to the 70+/- children in our House 2 House program. We wanted to find a partner in Ethiopia willing to support these same children. Along the way, we also started looking at the possibilities to expand our programming and deepen our impact on our House 2 House families. These were board goals that we had already – to make a life-changing impact on a child’s life, and break them out of the cycle of poverty.

After months of planning, we are happy to announce that we have a new partner to continue the support of our house 2 House kids, and develop innovative programming to support them more than we could before.

Continued support for House 2 House kids

Our plan with the new partner is to continue the House 2 House program for all the current families that wish to take part.

Children in Ambo, Adama, Wonji and Mojo will be offered continuing support as follows (children in Guder will be offered a place at the new educational centre. Please see further below).

When Faya Orphanage was running our House 2 House program, we sent a cash stipend to the families, and paid for school registration fees and uniforms as a separate project. The revised program will include registration fees and uniforms for school each year, as well as an equivalent food credit at the local mill or store. A coordinator will visit each family quarterly: the food credit is conditional upon the coordinator meeting with the family and child. The coordinator will also be tasked with preparing bi-annual updates on the children. We are currently working with our partner to hire an appropriate coordinator, and get this program up and running in the next few months.

Arnica will be travelling with other directors and volunteers to Ethiopia in April. They plan to meet with many of the families, to connect with them and explain the revised program.

A new opportunity for Faya Orphanage sponsors: NEW educational centre!

We understand that most of the Faya Orphanage sponsors simply want to help children in Ethiopia struggling with poverty and HIV. We are very excited to announce an amazing opportunity to do just that. We hope that each and every one of our sponsors will maintain their monthly sponsorship, so that they can become founding supporters of our new educational centre to support our House 2 House families in Guder.

We are pleased to announce that we will be rolling out our first supportive educational centre for the House 2 House children in the town of Guder, west of Addis Ababa.

This fantastic educational centre will provide hot meals for the children each day, school registration fees and uniforms, a safe place for the kids to go after school and a support network for the guardians of the children.  As we expand our sponsor base, we also will be offering programming such as a community health worker, HIV educational workshops for guardians and children, a community garden, and after school tutoring. This centre is modeled after other very successful programs we have visited in Ethiopia, and we know that it will effect deep transformational change in these children’s lives.

We decided to begin our first educational centre in Guder, since the government officials were very receptive to or previous visits, the House 2 House program participants also have a real sense of community, there are existing ties to the HIV Association, and the town has less support from NGOs than other communities.

We will start with the current approximately 20 children in the House 2 House program, but plan to expand the centre to 30 children over time. When the Guder centre is full and we have the support to do so, we will roll out another centre, in another House 2 House community, to help the next group of kids. Eventually, we hope to have a centre in each of the communities we serve.

If you have any questions, please email info@vulnerablechildren.ca

FAQs

How does Vulnerable Children safeguard our funds?

Please refer to “Safeguarding our donors’ funds: How VCS oversees our projects to be effective and accountable”. The added component is that if our partner cannot account for funds in a timely fashion, and cannot give complete reports, then we cannot continue the relationship.

What if we still want to support Faya Orphanage?

Of course, you are welcome to support any cause you see fit in Ethiopia or anywhere. We simply will no longer be facilitating funds for Faya Orphanage.

What is happening to our donated funds now?

Faya Orphanage sponsorships will be converted to Education Centre sponsorships and applied toward the quick start-up, and soon, operation of that program. House 2 House sponsorships will support the same program, and the same children.

Gorgeous kids sport their school uniforms – sponsor updates soon!

Looks at those beaming smiles! So proud of their uniforms!
Looks at those beaming smiles! So proud of their uniforms!

Hello dearest supporters and sponsors;

This is just a note to thank you again for your support, especially around the beginning of the school year. This year we were able to provide all the children in our House 2 House program with uniforms to attend the local government schoools, as well as pay their registration fees.

A gift of uniforms in Ambo
A gift of uniforms in Ambo
Ambo kids in their new school uniforms.
Ambo kids in their new school uniforms.
The local media covered the story in Guder...
The local media covered the story in Guder…
Some of our House 2 House kids in Guder.
Some of our House 2 House kids in Guder.

Currently, we are working on preparing updates for all House 2 House sponsors. We haven’t received information or photos on all the kids from Faya, but the pictures we did receive show off the bright and shining faces of our VCS kids. If we have new news on your sponsored child or not, either way, you can expect a email in February. The updates we did get this time have more information for most of the kids – it’s great learning more about them and following the kids’ development.

Hello from some of the families in Wonji!
Hello from some of the families in Wonji!
The rainbow of colours - each colour is a different school.
The rainbow of colours – each colour is a different school.

Thanks again to our volunteer Rita who spends days preparing updates on all of the kids to over 100 sponsors. It’s a work of love.

Darling kids - read to learn!
Darling kids – read to learn!

Festive Fundraising

In December, the call center staff at Veseys in York, Prince Edward Island embarked on a two-week-long fundraising initiative in support of the Vulnerable Children Society, in lieu of their annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange.

Veseys Call Center Staff

While the initiative was spearheaded by the call-centre staff, the entire Veseys team joined in the fun.

Everyone scrambled to be first in line to buy beautifully packaged homemade fruitcakes, cookies, squares, cupcakes and truffles at the bake sale table.

Bake Sale

Staff members bought raffle tickets for a chance to win one of three gorgeous gift baskets, filled with bath and beauty products, decadent treats and keepsake ornaments.

Gift Basket

A bucket-full of coins was collected through a penny drive (a dedicated staff member even rolled all those pennies and brought them to the bank on our behalf!).

Penny Bucket

By the time the campaign wrapped up on a snowy Friday afternoon, the call center staff had raised $522.60 for the Vulnerable Children Society! 

Pat & Nicole
Check presentation to VCS Director Nicole Bellefleur

Throughout its 73 year history, Veseys has been committed to supporting communities locally and abroad. The company contributes to events in support of Island individuals and organizations, and it offers a fundraising program that enables non-profit organizations across North America to raise money by selling of flower bulbs and seeds.

Veseys is also proud to support Farmers Helping Farmers, a nationally recognized, award-winning organization that assists Kenyan farmers in becoming more self-reliant in agricultural food production. In addition to providing monetary and seed donations, Veseys sends experts to Kenya as part of the crop advisory team.

Veseys is located in York, Prince Edward Island. It is one of North America’s largest mail order seed, bulb and garden equipment companies; it also features forty acres of trial gardens, a retail garden shop, and the Island’s largest selection of outdoor lawn and garden power equipment. For more information about Veseys, please visit www.veseys.com

Single Malt Tasting benefits Vulnerable Children

scotch tasting 2013

Enjoy a tipple of single malt? If you are in the Kelowna, BC area, come join the Ogopogo Rotary Club for a fabulous night of scotch tasting! All proceeds will be donated to Vulnerable Children Society!

January 25th at 7pm – Centre for Learning at the Okanagan College KLO campus in Kelowna.

Call or email for tickets:
Olivia 250 317 4007 olivia6010@yahoo.ca
Jane 250 764 9313 jane@jfaconsult.ca