Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Kind Hearts" Kids Can Count On Food EVERY DAY!!!

Tsehaynesh (above) is still waiting for a sponsor family.

These three boys (above) have all been matched with sponsor families!!

Of the 68 children that are now coming to "Kind Hearts" every day, we have 54 of them matched with sponsors and the children are already starting to feel the impact as nutritious meals are now available EVERY DAY!!! (14 children are still waiting for a sponsor!!) What a difference from one month ago when our team arrived and these kids were too hungry and lethargic to react.

As we noticed their blank looks and lack of excitement, we asked if they had eaten recently. "We are only able to feed the children on Wednesdays," we were told. Kind Hearts was able to provide a safe place and a basic education, but they could only provide a meal of rice one day each week. Other than that, the children came to school hungry, ate no lunch, and hoped to have a little something in their belly before they fell asleep at night.

I did find out that funds have been so short, that the two teachers/caregivers on staff have not been paid in the last 2 months - and of course, they have families to provide for as well. Hopechest stepped into the gap to pay the staff last month, but going forward, I'd like to find a few families that would be interested in "sponsoring" the teachers. We all know how important teachers are for these kids ... education is the difference between a life of opportunity or a life trapped in grinding poverty.

The teacher's salaries are only $57.50 each per month ($115/month for both). If anyone is interested in sponsoring one or both teachers - or if several people would like to "sponsor" a portion (for example, 6 people each contributing $20/month), please contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com. I would love to have teachers here, come alongside the teachers in Ethiopia - and I know the teachers would love to receive letters and suggestions from you. I will post pictures of the two teachers as soon as I have photos.

There are still 14 children at Kind Hearts waiting for a sponsor family - waiting for YOU. Contact me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com if you want to be matched with one of these sweet kids. Your $34/month contribution will ensure 2 nutritious meals every day, education, clothing, medical care and Christian discipleship. And your letters will teach them how much they are loved and valued!

We still have a lot of work to do at Kind Hearts as we begin to focus on some of the capital projects and improvements that will help Kind Hearts become more self-sufficient and be able to provide micro-business opportunities for destitute women (and some of the widowed mothers of the kids at Kind Hearts). With 10 acres of land, the Kind Hearts team is looking into opportunties for using the land to generate income through farming and gardening, chicken farming, and other small business opportunities. As these opportunities are developed, I will post about them here.

The other need is a bridge for a nearby river that many of the children have to cross in order to get to school. This river happens to be polluted by textile mills further upstream that dump chemicals directly into the water. I was there - and I have never been so choked by toxic fumes than when I stood at the edge of that river. (See satellite image below for a map of the property showing the grounds and the location of the river.)

We had to pull our shirts up over our noses and stumble backward, away from the river, in order to catch our breath. Most of the children need to cross that river in order to get to school - and they get sick or they get infected cuts and sores when they touch the water. In the dry season, its relatively easy to cross the river on the stones, but in the rainy season, they must wade through the water. (I would not let my children within 100 yards of that river - and yet our Kind Hearts kids have to cross it in order to get to school.)

We are currently getting bids and investigating permits in order to build a bridge over that river. The director of the school is also seeking assistance from the government to stop the pollution of the river, but that is a longer process.

I will continue to post updates about Kind Hearts - so please stop back often for an update on the kids and the progress at Kind Hearts in Ethiopia!


Jodi Widhalm said...

I can't sponsor right now, but I am an elementary teacher and would love to help out however I can. Let me know!
Jodi Widhalm

Anonymous said...

AWESOME POST! Karen, only 18 left...we're praying for the remaining 18 to be matched soon!