Games at Kirkos

At the Kirkos center we had two days of fun! The first day we did North American dancing and Ethiopian dancing – the second day we had a carnival which included an UNO tournament, face painting ( although some wanted it on their arms), a craft table, a puzzle table… The kids LOVED this! 2015.03.kirkos1 2015.03.kirkos5 2015.03.kirkos4 2015.03.kirkos2 2015.03.kirkos3 -Deborah Northcott, Expedition Team Leader

Documentary Now Available to view Online!


Recently a documentary was done about the work that Kids Hope Ethiopia and Canadian Humanitarian are doing in Africa. Originally released on Canadian Television, this documentary is now available to view online.

We hope you enjoy this documentary as much as we did!

Mobile device users please click here if the video screen does not show up below.



Canadian Humanitarian from Rick Castiglione on Vimeo.

Feel free to share this video with your friends on facebook, twitter, or wherever you like to share!

If you have any questions about the work we do, please contact Lyndon (Executive Director), or Rachel (Sponsorship Coordinator).

A Fun Day at Kirkos

Our Fall Expedition Team has been in Ethiopia for over a week now, and it looks like they are having a wonderful trip!

2014.11.Kirkos30khe The team spent a few days with the students at the Kirkos Education Support Center, and were treated to presentations from the students, and from the dance club.

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Then they taught the students how to use magnifying glasses. None of the students had ever seen one before, but they quickly found out you could burn your name into a piece of paper if you maneuvered it just right!

2014.11.Kirkos32khe Each of the students received a hygiene kit as a gift from the expedition team. Thank you to everyone who donated hygiene items for making this gift possible!

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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.

Global Youth Expedition: Fun and Games at Kirkos!

We spent our last day at Kirkos Center enjoying the program that the students had put together for us, and playing games together.
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Kirkos Center has a wonderful student dance troupe. They have won city-wide competitions for traditional dance. We were treated to several different cultural dances from them, and it was awesome!
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The older students planned the program out, and had thought up several games to include our Global Youth volunteers in. Such as blowing flour in someone’s face while blindfolded!kirkos.81
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Kirkos also has a very active Drama Club, and this trip they entertained us with several different miming skits. This one was about a burglar – which explains the makeup!kirkos.05
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Egg races! Our Global Youth team didn’t last very long – the students at Kirkos are really good at this!
This was our final day working at the Kirkos Center – playing games and dancing with the students was the perfect way to end our visit there. Thank you Kirkos!

Global Youth Expedition: Kirkos Community Cleanup

After learning about why it is important to keep our environment clean from our volunteers, the students at Kirkos Program held a community clean-up activity.
We started with the center itself, and then moved into the streets nearby – picking up garbage and pulling weeds, then taking everything to a dumpster to be properly disposed of.
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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!

Making A Difference

We have the opportunity to do a few home visits with our students when with an expedition group. Home visits allow us to meet guardians and to thank them for the support and love they daily give their child or foster child. It is an acknowledgement of their hard work and a way for us to show our gratitude for what they do.

During a home visit a few months ago, our group (Lyndon, Nikki, and I) met a wonderful family in the Kirkos area of Addis. The mother is a market vendor. She has 3 children; an older teenage girl, a mid-teen boy ( in our program) and a younger boy. The family recently moved into their small mud and stick home, offered by local government authorities. This new home got them off Addis streets, and into a space of their own.

However, the home was in deteriorating condition and the front door did not lock. The family had managed to stave off intruders, but there were safety concerns for the daughter. During our February visit, we were concerned for the welfare of this family, and moved by their stories. Our volunteer group tried to get improvements in motion, but due to the home being government property, petitions for improvements had to pass through local government channels before repairs could be made to the home.

Once back in Canada, I thought of this family regularly. I believe that no one should have to live in fear in their own home. Everyone should be able to have a safe place to sleep. We know that this can be a challenge even in our country. The family’s safety, particularly the daughter, weighed on my mind.

With the May Expedition Group, I had the opportunity to meet with Kirkos Education Center staff. They assured me we would do home visits again, and they promised that I would be impressed with the changes for this particular family. On our last day with the children in this program, home visits were scheduled. I was anxious to see this family.

As we came around the street corner, I knew I was in a familiar area, but I never would have recognized the home on my own. The outside structure had been reinforced. There were no longer holes in the walls. A window had been added to the front of the home to allow for more light. A new door had been installed and the lock was functioning. The interior of the home was restructured, with new concrete floor. A proper bedroom had been added, and the roof replaced, so that it no longer leaked.

The family was so grateful for what had been down with their home. As we visited, I asked the daughter how she was feeling. She told me that she felt safe, that she could sleep soundly at night again. Her brother in our program was also able to significantly increase his school performance. I cried many tears of happiness that day. I was grateful to our project managers and partners, who recognized the family’s need and pushed for approval from the government to renovate the house. I was impressed that they acted quickly, engaging both the family and their neighbours to volunteer their time to get the house renovated. What a difference this is making to our student, and the family!

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The motivation for our work

When I arrived back in Ethiopia this trip (my second this year), it felt as though I had barely been gone. Things were much more familiar to me and it is beginning to feel like home while I am there. We had four volunteers on this expedition plus myself as the team leader; as a small group we were able to work closely together.

We were able to accomplish a number of educational and interesting sessions on this trip. We worked with the staff, with the children in the education centres, and with the students at the vocational training centre. For me this trip allowed me to build better relationships with our staff and with our students. I was able to build good friendships with our volunteers, all of whom I look forward to working with again in the future.

This trip I was able to interact with the children at each of the centres in Addis very closely. We spent a few days with each centre and this gave me the opportunity to get to know a number of the children, their names and their situations. These children are why we do what we do. They are the reason that we work hard at fundraising. They are the reason that we talk about our jobs and our work to everyone we know. When you get the opportunity to spend time with these children and to meet their families, you realize the effect that these programs have on the lives of these children and their families. The children in the photos below are just a few of the ones that are expanding my capacity to love and to work hard at what I do, in the hopes that they will have an advantage in life in spite of anything else that may happen in their lives.

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