The EASIEST Way to Give this Giving Tuesday! You & I

Giving Tuesday is here, and our hearts and minds turn to helping those in need, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how.

We have an answer: the easiest way to give this Giving Tuesday.

 You and I FINALCOVER

Recording artist, Andrew Allen is a big supporter of Canadian Humanitarian and Kids Hope Ethiopia.  He has released a song to help raise funds for the organization. We are excited to announce the world-wide release of ‘You & I’. Andrew Allen wrote this song for the students in the programs, and then had them help him record the vocals and the music video.  They have taken the message of this song to heart – we can do amazing things alone… but together? We can change the world.

Check out the music video below:

Andrew Allen and many others have donated their time and talents to produce this song so that every penny will go to the amazing programs that Canadian Humanitarian and Kids Hope Ethiopia run in Ethiopia and Malawi. It’s an incredibly simple way you can help.  

**Pay a few cents for a GREAT song, and help change a life.

You can purchase the song here:

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  itunes


In the spirit of “Giving Tuesday”, make the choice to pick up this song – and then share it, gift it, invite others to join in giving these students hope! Can you imagine the difference 10,000 purchases would make? What about 1,000,000? Imagine the lives those numbers could change.

Please join us for #givingtuesday to buy the song, gift it to family and friends, share it out on social media so everyone can have this song in their music library and support a great cause in the process! Feel free to use the graphic at the top of the post and share it on your social media accounts using the hashtags #givingtuesday #you&I  then send them the link to this post, or directly to Google Play or iTunes.

If you want to donate directly rather than purchase the song, please consider us for Giving Tuesday 2015!

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 Together we can change the life of someone in need!

You & I.

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Let’s change the world!

Guest Post – Shelly Vansbinbergen

Over Their Heads

There are so many stories that are floating around my mind and heart upon returning from Ethiopia. I wish I could bring back something tangible to show you and have you feel and experience and smell and touch what we felt while we were there. Alas, luggage allowances aren’t what they used to be and  even if they were, they wouldn’t suffice so I’ll have to rely on words to bring you as much as they will for now.
 

I’ll start with a photo I shared on Instagram that seems to have touched a lot of people pretty deeply. It’s a young boy, named Teddy, who shyly gathered 7 adults together to thank them for putting a roof on his home.

Teddy lives with his mother, behind a corrugated fence that hides about 6 or 7 families living in small mud and stick constructed shanties. Stepping over the small ditch with sewage and water running freely, into the small compound, I immediately felt claustrophobic. It was a tight little space with piles of tires and bags and plastic on one side of the wall, allowing only about 2-3 feet to walk through to get to the back of the compound where Teddy lives. In the corner, last doorway on the left…a dark little 9×9 shanty where his mother and he share a bed, cook their meals on an open fire with no chimney, the smoke filling their home until it dissipates through the door or the holes in the roof. The mud walls are covered with blackened soot and the floor is covered in ash, though you can tell it’s been swept just recently.

Teddy and his mother live alone, and are only able to live here because their home is owned by a relative who has agreed to let them stay here. The roof is corrugated tin and it has falling into such disrepair that it actually allows the only light into the room that Teddy and his mother share. Sunlight streams through, illuminating the dust in the air, and while beautiful in a photo, imagine it in the rainy season when daily downpours rain virtually unhindered onto the heads of those trying to sleep or eat or cook below. We tear off the roof and there is an indescribable amount of dust, debris and rat droppings that we are inhaling as we go. There is no health and welfare department here to ensure the safety of children in their own homes. The roof comes off, the cross beams are dismantled, nearly dust themselves after years of heat and rain and smoke have had their way with them.
Sunlight through the holes in the roof

They’ve lived with this roof through too many rainy seasons

In the confined space, the guys tackle taking off the existing roof
Frank and Murray and Pete – and a shower of rat feces, dirt and debris that has accumulated over the years

The guys on our team, Frank, Murray, Pete, Keith and Henry work alongside two graduating students from the vocational program, to come up with a plan to support and rebuild the roof, despite the crumbling walls and cramped workspace. We were worried that the guys being on the support beams may in fact cause the walls of not only Teddy’s house to crumble, but also that of the other child headed household on the other side of the wall. We had to move cautiously and constantly reassess the situation. There are no building codes in these slums. Most of the time that the guys were working, I sat outside the pit latrine, on the only free real estate I could find, with my feet up on bricks, hovering above the stream of sewage flowing through the yard. As I sat, I tried to imagine dark nights and rainy days turning the dusty yard to mud. I tried to think of how a mother would keep her son safe and fed and dry when everything around them seemed unstable and unsafe, the very home they shared showering them and the mud walls crumbling into the already cramped space. I tried to think of how I would keep my wits about me if these were the circumstances I was handed, my life to be lived out in this cluttered alley shared by other families, no privacy even in the suffering. I watched Teddy’s mother as she watched the guys rebuild her roof. She was a solemn and serious woman and yet, her hands would touch Teddy’s back when he walked by, she would stand next to him and watch alongside him, her love for him evident in her mannerisms and body language, though her face remained stoic. Apparently there’s no room for emotions in this crowded alley. Maybe they’re a luxury that can’t be afforded to those trying to survive. I know as I watched her and Teddy, my eyes filled with tears several times but I hid them in an effort not to embarrass them or myself. 
Cross beams are cut from local hardwood poles

Keith and Frank spacing out the cross beams for adequate support

Hilo, a recent carpentry graduate is happy to be working and gaining experience. As a result of his work on this site,  we are able to write a credible reference for him to aid in his job search.

Frank learned quickly that you need to oil the nails to allow them to penetrate the hard wood poles.


Teddy pitched in to clear away some of the fallen roof from his home

With the room cleaned out and the roof off, it was still just a 9×9 mud shanty shared by Teddy and his mother.

Teddy’s mother looks on while demolition of the original roof takes place. 

In the end, the guys were able to secure the roof and also to make a place for the smoke from the cooking fire to be vented, without allowing water into the home. Teddy and his mother were incredibly grateful and she shared their gratitude with us after the construction was completed. 
A few days later, when we visited Teddy at the centre where he receives a daily meal and help with school work, he asked the program coordinator, Tillahan, to ask if he could speak to us. Standing there, with Tillahan as his translator, this small boy spoke with such eloquence and gratitude, he moved us all to tears. He told us that in the rainy season, he felt he could never sleep and that he cried each night as it rained. No one should have to live in the kind of conditions that Teddy and his mother live in. Even with the roof fixed, I asked myself if I would feel confident enough to sleep there with one of my boys and I know that I wouldn’t. Although Teddy and his mom have to live in difficult circumstances, I know that when the rains come in the next few months, they’ll know that they will think of a group of new friends who came halfway around the world to do what we could to provide them with a dry place to sleep and the knowledge that they are loved and missed and prayed for by us. 
Teddy and his mother outside their home.

Trees and Crafts at Gindo

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The Expedition Team spent a few days out at the Education Support Center in Gindo in rural Ethiopia. It was a wonderful few days full of activities! The students and volunteers made crafts together, and our Expedition Team taught the students about the environment, and about re-forestation.

Then, the students and volunteers planted 50 tree saplings around the Gindo Center yard, and at the Market Garden area. The kids loved doing this- and were very organized in getting water in the hole before the tree went in, and after. Each student has taken on a specific tree to take care of. So they will all get the attention they need until they are strong and growing well.

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support a scholar

Kids Hope Ethiopia has had great success in seeing many students be accepted into universities, colleges, technical and trade schools, and vocational training programs.

We have students enrolled in health officer training, nursing school, engineering programs, lab technician programs, accounting programs, hairdressing school, culinary school, computer technology institutions, attaining woodworking and metalworking certificates, and more.

While gaining their education the students have a variety of costs such as tuition, transportation, books, and living expenses. These costs and fees can be prohibitive to a students being able to attend post-secondary education, even though they have been accepted.

Support A Scholar donations will go directly to helping these students meet their needs as they earn their degrees, certificates, and diplomas.

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Program Update: Kirkos

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Students at our Kirkos Center have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and five (5) in May. Each group brought special life skills, they spent time playing, visiting student homes, and getting to know these students better.

healthheadline Several nurses took time to discuss and teach about infectious diseases, how they spread, and the role of immunization to prevent infection. The kids were very interested in hearing the story of the first vaccine developed by Mr. Louis Pasteur for Rabies, and about immunization programs that now exist to help prevent more diseases.

dance headline.k The students are so welcoming! Culturally, a welcome in Ethiopia means being invited to dance, sing, and have a cup of coffee. The volunteers had lots of time to participate in these activities!

Kirkos Center has a very enthusiastic Dance Club troupe. They have been performing and competing in dance recitals all over the city of Addis. In January, they won the Addis Ababa City Wide Competition, 1st Place Gold Cup. As you can imagine, the whole center is very proud of this dance group.

kirkos art headline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them. The students loved this special activity.

For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother figure. The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift. The students loved this activity!

kirkos home visit headline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors them, and acknowledges their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school fulltime, and to attend the Education Center after school. So far this year, we have had several opportunities to visit with the families of some of the students from the Kirkos Center.

kirkos scholarship headline Many students who used to attend the Kirkos Education Center programs are now in college, university, or technical schools. In February we had the opportunity to gather volunteers and students together to spend an evening visiting, eating, and swimming.

Two former Kirkos Center students received a special grant and award, the Manji-Burghardt Scholarship, for achieving a GPA over 3.8 for the full academic year. This award included a laptop for each student, and $1000 BIRR ($50 USD) grant. These items were presented to them in July, by the Global Youth Expedition team members. The students were surprised and excited to receive it.

It was a great evening to meet together as guests of the Hilton Addis Ababa.

bonding headline All of our volunteers comment on how much they grow to love the students in our programs. It is amazing that in such a short amount of time that a bond of friendship and trust can be forged so strongly. This has been true for our volunteers in 2014.

Kids love to play, have their picture taken, and give out hugs! Many of their games are reminiscent of old time outdoor games we recognize from home. Games like “Red Rover”, “Duck Duck Goose”, “What time is it Mr Wolf?”, each with their own Ethiopian flavor, are loved by everyone!

If you would like to sponsor a child, contact Rachel.
See this update as a newsletter.

Program Update: Kality

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Students in our Kality Program, run at the VCS Love and Hope Center, have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and another group of five (5) volunteers in May. Each group brought special life skills, and spent time playing, visiting student homes, and getting to know these students better.

health headline Several nurses took time to discuss and teach about infectious diseases, how they spread, and the role of immunization to prevent infection. The kids were very interested in hearing the story of the first vaccine developed by Mr. Louis Pasteur for Rabies, and about immunization programs that now exist to help prevent more diseases.

grooming activity headline Volunteers had the chance to help students with their personal grooming time on a Saturday. At the common wash up area, many of the students were washing hair, their faces, and were helped along the way.

birthday headline The students at Kality get to celebrate student’s birthdays every 3 months. The March celebration was particularly festive, with dancing, recitations, and LOTS of cake and treats. It was charming to see the students help each other spread cake frosting on their noses and foreheads, traditionally a birthday celebration activity.

art headline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them. The students loved this special activity. For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother-figure.
The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift.

kality home visit headline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors them, and acknowledges their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school fulltime and the Education Center after school.
While home visits can be emotionally challenging for our volunteers, they always report back to us that it is also one of the highlights of their volunteer experience. All student families report to Kids Hope Ethiopia that they LOVE having volunteers visit them personally. We have had the chance to visit several families of the students in the Kality Program so far this year.

dental headline Kality is still working very hard on its dental hygiene program, and volunteers helped encourage students to keep their teeth clean!

renovation headline February volunteers included construction workers from Canada. They helped to paint, fix up and do an overall renewal of the Kality Building. They even taught some of the local center staff how to do these kinds of repairs too! Thanks to their efforts the building looks beautiful!

If you would like to sponsor a child, contact Rachel.
See this update as a newsletter.

Program Update: Gindo

gindo headline
Students at our Gindo Center have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and others as they have been able to travel the roads during rainy season. Each group brought special life skills, and spent time playing, visiting student homes, getting to know these students better.

wheelchair headline Thanks to generous donations of volunteers, Abate from the Gindo Center was able to have a wheelchair specially measured and made for him. With the chair, came a tutoring course, and specialized tools so he can repair and care for this chair on his own. Abate will graduate this year from the center, as he is now 19 years old. Center staff have been working with him to learn a skill so he can run his own little business. Being off the ground, and mobile are HUGE improvements for his life. THANK YOU to the Gindo Center staff and volunteers who have made this dream come true for Abate. Equal with the others!

underwear headline Personal grooming kits were given to each student as part of the February expedition group. Students, and staff happily accepted new socks, underwear, t-shirt, candy, and a toothbrush.

methanex headline In the fall of 2013, Methanex sponsored a Global Awareness challenge with a high school in Medicine Hat. Challenging the students to come up with a solution to a need in Gindo that could be helped with a budget of $1000. The outcome of this challenge was a solar powered light project, that is now providing light to 10 families in the Gindo area. The students had a fun time in February creating thank you banners for both Methanex and the participating students.

Gindo art headline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them. The students loved this special activity. For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother figure. The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift. These gifts were beautiful, and the students were excited to make them.

Gindo home visit headline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors them, and acknowledges their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school fulltime, and to attend the Education Center after school. Throughout the past 6 months, we have visited several of the families of students in the Gindo Center.

If you would like to sponsor a child, contact Rachel.

See this update as a newsletter.

Program Update: Alemgena and Guelele

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Students at both our Alemgena and Guelele Centers have been the recipients of many visitors in the first half of 2014. We had twenty (20) volunteers in February and another group of five (5) volunteers in May. Each group brought special life skills, and spent time playing, visiting student homes, getting to know these two centers better.

healthheadline Several nurses took time to discuss and teach about infectious diseases, how they spread, and the role of immunization to prevent infection. The kids were very interested in hearing the story of the first vaccine developed by Mr. Louis Pasteur for Rabies, and about immunizations programs that now exist to help prevent more diseases.

firstaidheadline A second team of nurses worked with students to help them understand some basic principles of First Aid, how to make a sling, put on bandages, and stop excessive bleeding. This picture shows a real honest effort by a group of Grade 2 students to put a sling on their classmate. They eventually learned how to do the classic sling to perfection.

cultureheadline The students are so welcoming! Culturally, a welcome in Ethiopia means being invited to dance, sing, and have a cup of coffee. The volunteers had lots of time to participate in these activities! Using an empty jerry can for a drum, students all join in singing and others teach volunteers how to shake their shoulders in the traditional manner that is basic to all Ethiopian cultural dance.

mothersdayheadline The May group helped the students to make special gift flowers out of tissue paper, to give to someone in their life who is a Mother-figure to them.The students loved this special activity. For many, a staff member of their education center was their Mother-figure.The children also wrote a small note to their mother and made little 3 dimensional pictures to finish their gift. The students loved this activity!

homevisitheadline Each expedition group takes some time to visit the student’s families. This honors the family by acknowledging their important role in supporting the student in their efforts to attend school full-time and to attend the Education Center after school.

While home visits can be emotionally challenging for our volunteers, they always report back to us that it is also one of the highlights of their volunteer experience. All student families report to Kids Hope Ethiopia that they LOVE having volunteers visit them personally.

annualmedicalheadline Students at both Alemgena and Guelele had annual physicals completed with the help of volunteer nurses and doctors. For many of the new students coming into Guelele and Alemgena, this was their first experience to have a doctor see them. At first they were nervous, but that quickly faded with the help of our friendly and caring medical volunteers.

All the students are spending their summer preparing for the upcoming school year, and were also visited by the Global Youth Expedition in July.

If you would like to sponsor a child, please contact Rachel. <small>See this update as a newsletter</small>  

Global Youth Expedition: First day at Kirkos Center

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We were greeted by the students at the Kirkos Center with warm smiles and lots of excitement! The Kirkos Center is very proud of their Dance Club, and were very happy to perform many different dances for us during the 3 days we spent with them.
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Our first presentation was given by two of our Global Youth Expedition team members. They taught about the importance of keeping our environment clean, and different ways we can recycle and reuse to reduce our waste.
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In the afternoon, we made animal masks to go with the story we read with the students. Mice, cats, dogs, and hens – all of them covered in glitter!

Filll a plate for students in Uganda

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Part of our program model is that every student enrolled in the Education Support Center receives a hot meal every day.

$200 will provide their food every day for a year, and a plate to eat it on.  Fill a plate full of food in Uganda!

Fill a library in Uganda

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Our new Education Support Center in Lira is starting to fill up with supplies and needed items for the students.  Help us put books in their library – let’s fill it up!  $40 will add about 10 books to their collection, so help the library shelves fill up!

Fill it up – Uganda!

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We are working hard to get everything we need for the new center in Lira – see how you can help with backpacks, tuition, tables, school supplies, books, and food.

There are still a lot of items to fill – so share with your friends, and help us keep 50 children in school in Lira!

Fill a Backpack in Uganda

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Our Lira, Uganda Education Support Center is getting prepared for 50 new students in the fall.

Help us fill a backpack for every child with a school uniform, shoes, a hygiene kit, and of course the backpack itself. $150 goes a long way in Lira.

Life Changing Experiences – A Volunteer Perspective

Children Parents Families

Teamwork Positive Engaging

Collaborative Responsiveness Inspiring

Engaging Sustainability Transparency

Collaboration Growth Visionaries

Loving Kindness Graceful

My experience in Ethiopia is so hard to describe. Throughout my time in Ethiopia I wrote down single words that help me to better understand and illustrate the work of Kids Hope Ethiopia, the staff, the children and the families in Ethiopia. Their goals and expectations for the children are no different than what we have for our children in North America. My experience has been powerful and simply life changing. I made a commitment to one of the moms during our home visit and told her although we would be going back home that did not mean we would stop working for her family. There are many other children in the community that need our help. I plan to be part of the change and keep the powerful words in my mind when I think I, just one person, can’t make a difference. I can and I will.

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This blog was written by Linda Langevin, one of the volunteers with the May Expedition.

Fill a Desk in Uganda

desk.khe We are opening a new Education Support Center in Lira, Uganda this fall, and we are thrilled!  There will be 50 children in the program, who will receive a hot meal a day, after-school tutoring, and tuition support, as well as much more. Help us get their Support Center filled and ready for them by filling up a desk – with notebooks, pencils, geometry sets, paper, and any other school supplies they need.  Each set of supplies only costs $60 – so share with your friends and help us fill all 50 desks with supplies for the students!

A visit to Kersa

In February, Dan and Lyndon went with an group of volunteers on an expedition to Ethiopia, and as part of the trip were able to spend a few days in Kersa area with the Foresight Fathers, the Students, and their families.

It was a busy few days!  Volunteers did repairs to the building, cleared part of the yard, and did medicals on enrolled Students, Foresight Fathers, Provident Mothers, and their families.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the visit to Kersa!