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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Report from Hope for Children – Teenage Sex Trade Workers Retraining Project

We received an official sponsor report from our partner, Hope for Children in Ethiopia, that operates the Teenage Sex Trade Workers Retraining Project in Addis Ababa. It’s a very comprehensive report, but I’ll include a couple of excerpts! It’s so nice to have good reporting form our partners!

“Dear partners,

The social challenges Ethiopians face are complex but at Hope for Children of Ethiopia Relief and Development Association (HCE), we continually strive to increase our understanding of these challenges. We have made significant strides in our understanding and interaction with the culture around us. We have learned more about Streetism — a danger that undermines the potential and development of children — and its major impact on society. HCE’s focus is to understand and provide relief and assistance to our community to fight Streetism, child labor, prostitution, and crime. All of these are inter-related and HCE has realized significant success in our efforts.

HCE relies heavily on the support of our partners and donors to continue our work reaching the destitute and most helpless individuals in our society.

Our partnerships are vital to our continued success. Thank you for your continued support and assistance as we relentlessly pursue our mission to provide education, medical care, school supplies, counseling, and life-skills training to thousands of Ethiopians every year.

Warmly,

Yonas Tesfaye, Managing Director

…..

The Teenage Sex Trade Workers Retraining Project in Addis Ababa…aspires to facilitate a healthy environment for working children to allow them self-reliant by economically, socially, and spiritually. In order to achieve the planned project activities, the project designed a strategy that includes renting houses, providing working materials, and providing operation and living expenses for students for one year while the Boy or Girl attends training. A variety of training is provided to the children in order to increase their confidence throughout the training period.

Most of the children have been subjected to child labor and child abuse. Child Labor is a significant problem in Ethiopia. Children are often abused and neglected by their employers. The children suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and have trust issues.

HCE works to address each child’s individual issues to help him/her overcome obstacle he/she faced with a view to heal the scar in him/her. Most of the children in our Boys and Girls Projects are able to recover from the pain that resulted from the injustice by their previous employers and they, after time, training, and healing. They become productive citizen who can help themselves and others.

The ultimate goal of our program is to equip the children to become self-reliant.

During their stay in the project, each child received life-skills and vocational training. After one year, at program completion, these children know how to manage their time, resources, and individual freedom. They are equipped to begin their own life in their own and become the major decision makers in their lives. These children also learn to make and save money become socially active with their respective community.”

More in future blog posts!

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

VCS directors start work in Ethiopia

Greetings from Vulnerable Children Society in Ethiopia! our first official day of work, we headed out to Guder, which is 2-3 hours west of Addis Ababa. We will have a report on our meeting in Guder tomorrow, but for today, please enjoy some pictures.

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Getting ready early in the morning to head out to Guder. Extra coffees for the jet-lagged volunteers!

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After our successful meeting with the woreda government officials. From left to right: Bisrat from Canadian Humanitarian, Nicole, Birhanu the woreda Women and Children’s desk assistant, Arnica, Birhan our VCS consultant, Asegash the Women and Children’s desk manager, and Tawnya. Rita was taking the picture.

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Nicole and Tawnya looking very official.

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The non official monkeys battering the roof of the woreda office. I recognized Columbus monkeys, but am not sure of the other type. Any ideas?

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