Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dig Deep, Get Involved

So yesterday I shared about the need to get involved in keeping first families together.  It's critical in my mind.  Yesterday, I read gruesome details of a public orphanage in Ethiopia.  My friend wrote the blog post having just been there and experienced it herself.  I was horrified.  She carefully shared enough to give us an idea of reality.  The need is great people.  Please don't breeze through those words.  The.Need.Is.Great.  Even if we're not going on extravagant vacations, carrying around the most recent iwhatever, or eating out twice a week, we have so much.

My post was long enough, and random enough, yesterday that I wanted to wait until today to share a few ways that you can get involved.  Of course, you know that my love is for Ethiopia.  You might not know that I also have a love for this small church in the heart of Mexico City doing big things.  My focus has been on Ethiopia so that's mostly the options that I have to share.  Here are a few places you can get involved:

Roots Ethiopia
Roots was birthed out of a desire of adoptive families to connect with Ethiopia in culturally appropriate and forward-thinking ways.  One thing I love about Roots is that their decisions are based on local wisdom and experience.  I also love that they've started small and desire a strong anchor before they reach out far and wide.  The two main projects that Roots works on is Income Generating Grants (IGA's) and school sponsorships.  Roots can be found via their website, facebook, and even cool snippets on pinterest!  Check them out and see how you can help.  $28 a month sponsors an IGA and $20 a month sponsors a student's education and medical.

Children's Hope Chest
Hope Chest is the organization we volunteer with.  I have grown to love Hope Chest and their methodology.  They work mostly in child sponsorship in countries like Russia, Swaziland, Haiti, Guatamala, Uganda, and Ethiopia.  Their focus is a community to community focus.  So, for example, my work community, or my church community, would focus on a single community in Ethiopia through sponsorship and other capital campaigns.  It's awesome to see a group of like-minded people work together to focus on a small area.  This is, by the way, how we sometimes work on water quality in my 8-5 job - a small area of focus so you can see the impact.  We call it a watershed approach.  Anyway, our community of choice has been Shanto since we were introduced to them in late 2010.  This is where Ryan and I have been involved specifically working with widows to help them survive and thrive and keep their families together.  The work that Ryan and I do is called a capital campaign project and our current campaign is to finish off the second half of the livestock project we started where we give a woman a cow and a sheep.  She will then repay her "loan" by giving away the first born of her animals.   There is no set monthly donation to support the livestock project.  Child sponsorship is $34/month and pays for private education, medical, and a uniform.

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
FOVC is an Ethiopian non-profit.  The Shanto project mentioned above partners locally with FOVC.  What started as a man caring for two orphans has grown exponentially.  While FOVC in Shanto is supported mostly by Hope Chest, they exist in two other communities in southern Ethiopia that aren't in a Hope Chest program.  Desalegn is always looking for people to partner with him in sponsorship and IGA's.

ZAT project
ZAT stands for Ziway & Adami Tulu - two communities in Southern Ethiopia which we've driven through on our way to Soddo.  ZAT project partners through Lifesong for Orphans in child sponsorship.  Lifesong partners with local ministries to employ excellent education with two meals per day.  My adoption travel buddy and real life friend at GodWillAdd has poured her heart into this project. She's gone so far as to run a marathon to bring awareness and raise money.  In 2012, the ZAT project funded 830 students to attend school.  A $19/month donation covers the tuition, and meals for a student in the Ziway, and Adami Tulu areas.

Ethiopian Orphan Relief
A non-profit here in the states that desires to improve the lives of Ethiopian orphans.  They work in partnership with local non-profits in Ethiopia.  For example, at FOVC, they built the new addition which is currently being used for the crowded school.  EOR welcomes you to participate in your own fundraising drive in your community, as well as donations.

Heartline Ministries
Heartline is located in the heart of Port Au Prince, Haiti.  I was introduced to Heartline a handful of years ago through my friend Michelle who was born in Haiti while her parents served there as missionaries.  We hosted a "purse party" and I have been so impressed with their work.  They have some really neat ministries going on there that get to the heart of the problem.  They created a women's program where they have a place to learn life-skills and support their families out of poverty.  They have a maternity center where expecting mothers can have medical care, education, and clean delivery options.  They have a children's home that they partner with.  They've even started a bakery where men are discipled half the day and work in the bakery the other half.  They're learning a trade and learning how to be MEN in their homes.  They also have a great fundraising project where you can host a purse party.  They mail you the purses made by the women in their sewing program, and you sale them at the purse party and mail back ones not used.  It's an awesome way to have a social gathering with purpose.

Ministry opportunities abound.  If you're interested in learning more about one of the ministries above, check out their website, or contact me.  If you're looking for a way to get involved locally, or in a country besides Ethiopia, I'd be happy to help you find a good cause.

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