Family Care Center

14 Days of Love Challenge for February

For 14 days in February we featured families that are still in need of a sponsor so you could learn a little something about them, have the opportunity to sponsor them and receive updates. Not many sponsorships were filled. There are 18 children left that are still not sponsored. Maybe you are not able to sponsor but you can still help us, by passing along the information to a friend that would like to make a difference. Below are all of the pictures and stories featured from the 14 day challenge.

Day 1:
It has to be our twins of course, for day one! This is Dagim and Natan. They are being raised by their Grandmother, Temench. She is also raising 2 other older granddaughters. She is such a strong, beautiful woman. She is a widow. You can see her hard working hands and feet, look into her eyes and see that she has not lived an easy life. But yet she chooses to raise her grandbabies, regardless of their moms abandoning them. It is NOT an easy road. We are so thrilled we can have them in our program. They are an absolute delight. They cried and cried at first, never being apart from their grandmother. But now, they love being with us during the day, gobble up their smoothies and other nutritious things we offer and have fun preparing for pre-school. More education than their grandmother has ever had. It is a new generation now. Natan is already sponsored at 25%, so only 75% more to go. Dagim needs to be fully sponsored. Those peope out there that have twins, don’t you want to be a part of their lives to make a difference knowing how hard it can be with little twins? She used to carry both of them to and from the center, which has to be close to a mile. She brings somebody with her to help now and well, they are BIG boys now, so they just HAVE to walk on their own! Oh how I wish you could all see them in person! Some of the cutest 2 year olds you have ever met! And Temench’s smile just brings a smile to my face when I picture it in my mind. Click here to learn more and sponsor either one…or both!

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 2:
The first one is Yeabsira. She started off such a little bitty thing and now look at her! When you click on her profile, you can see how much she has grown since September! She is pulling up on things, has all sorts of hair that the caregivers enjoy doing. Her mom, Askale is single raising Yeabsira and her other child that is 10 years old. When she was young, her family was promised that she could come to Addis to stay with her aunt and get an education. That never happened. She just worked in her aunt’s home and still has no formal education. Askale does beautiful embroidery work!

The smiley guy on the right is Abriham! He loves posing for pictures and seems like a real smarty learning his numbers and letters in the 2 year old room. His mom is Demeku. She was also promised an education if she moved to Addis and she did not get one. When she was 8 months pregnant, she discovered that her husand had another wife. She is raising her son alone now. They share a home with 2 other families to make ends meet.

Time for you to commit to helping these families. We love getting to know them, help them, pray for them and be able to provide the medical care, education about nutrition and hygiene, and numerous other things we are privileged to do. But we can’t do it without your financial support.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 3:
The cute little boy that was featured when we kicked off the Love Challenge …his name is Yonas…and he still needs a sponsor. He is an absolute joy since he lights up any room with his smile and always wanting to sit on your lap or play! His mother, Etagan, is always full of smiles, as well. She is married and her husband is a daily laborer. She has no formal education. She enjoys embrodery work. The picture of him is when we handed out the winter coats at the beginning of the program when it was cold and rainy here. Her picture is when she came to our training in handicrafts with the team from Texas.

The next picure in his very stylish sweater is Biniyam. I will not tell you he is always smiley, because he is not. He is a very serious boy, that often is sorta, well, particular, let’s just say. They ALL can’t be smiley and happy all the time! But he is cute, nonetheless and enjoys being here with us, often not wanting to be changed out of his clothes when his mom comes to pick him up each afternoon. Poor little guy has a lot of ear infections, and this picture was from when we took him to see a doctor last week. His mother, Birtukan, is raising him on her own, since her husband left after he was born. She use to own her own little restaurant that served drinks and snacks, until her husband took all of her money from her place and she had to close it up. She moved to Addis at age 15, after her mother passed away and her father remarried. She said they were always fighting. She thought it was better for everybody if she left to find work in Addis, instead of her hometown of Wolo. She has a 1st grade education. Her picture is also from the handicrafts training.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 4:
I am going to share with you what this mom told me when I asked about what Strong Families meant to her family. “Broken hearts are healed.” So don’t you want to be a part of that? Because we know we can’t do it without you!

The mom that shared this with me, her name is Beletu. She is married and has 3 children. Maybe similar to many of you reading this? The difference is your circumstances and hers. She did not chose to be born into the poverty she is in. She has a 10 year old and 6 year old. Her husband is a day laborer (which means he does whatever job is available–hard labor like moving rocks or dirt for construction in many cases) and she does embroidery work and sews. She went up to grade 5 in her education. Gelila is such a cute little one and fits right in with all of her little friends in our 2 year old room. She made me think of my grandpa when he would never show any teeth while taking pictures. Gelila would not show me her teeth when she was smiling for her picture!

Dagim T. also is one of 3 children in his family. His mom and dad are both HIV+ and taking their antivirals and eating healthy when they can afford to do so. They CAN stay together as a family. He cleans roads as a job. She has no education and does embroidery work for income. Dagim was so little when he came into our program in the fall and has grown so much! Yeneayew (mom) always has a smile on her face and always seems to be in high spirits. It is hard not to get in a good mood after seeing her!

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 5:
First up is Selam. She is in one of our 1 year old rooms. She is another one of our more serious little ones. She does love her momma so very much and lights up when she comes to pick her up each afternoon. She also enjoys the time with the other kids and caregivers at the center. Her mom is Sewunet and she is 21 years old. She had a child with her previous husband and he is 4 years old and doing well in school. Her husband is handicapped and begs as a source of income. Sewunet use to also beg. But now that she is in our program, she is selling items to local sooks (small store). She would like to someday have her own sook to support her family. She has no formal education, but wants more for her family and her children.

Next is Bereket. He is new to our program. They came in a bit over a month ago. He was so shy and so unhappy when he was first here, wanting to be left alone to be sad. Now his personality has been shining through. He has the biggest smile ever and he has quite the sense of humor as he plays with the other kids in his class and jokes around. He gives me the typical Ethiopian eyebrow raise (in this picture) and will giggle as he wags his finger at me for taking his picture. His mom is Almaz, is 32 years old and is no longer with her husband due to his drinking. She looks much older than a woman of 32, as you can see from her picture (if you look them up on the link below). She is from Addis and has a 6th grade education. Her smile is just as big and contagious as her son’s!

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 6:
I was going to feature our moms that are outside here today learning how to use their talents and gifts in making a new handicraft…but it will have to wait. When I saw the next name up on my “featured” list here, I know the first baby up has a very special place in many people’s hearts.

Her name is Elsabet. She was born back in October to a mother that is HIV+ and part of Strong Hearts hospice program. She was very underweight and they kept the baby in an incubator for a little while (I know my days are not exact, but stories here are never very big on exact detail!) and then came home. I remember the hospice workers (that are in the home helping patients that are affected by HIV or cancer to help them with nutrition and monitor health needs) being very concerned for this baby Elsabet. They didn’t think the mom was connecting very well with the baby, having issues with the baby breastfeeding and giving what appeared to be, very little formula. So fast forward to the end of December when she came into our program. She was a tiny little thing. Not sure how much she weighed, but you could see bones. The first picture of her here is when she first arrived. Now about a month later, she already looks bigger. I think just having her here all day, regular feedings and love, is doing it! We will continue to work with mom as we get to know her. But for now, we are just so thankful this little baby is thriving. She is one of 3 children in the home. The other 2 children are 10 and 9 years old and their father passed away. Elsabet’s mom’s name is Nana and she has had a rough start to life, moving to Addis when she was 10 years old because her father passed away and her mom could not afford to pay for her to live there. She has no formal education. She has been working at the trash dump, collecting things out of it, to sell. She is already sponsored at 25%…so that means only 3 more people have to commit to $35/month!

The 2nd little one just celebrated a birthday! Realize that the calendar here is different than the calendar used in the US. So we convert all of their birthdates to US calendar. I know..confusing, but it would be really confusing if I told you that her birthday was January 22, 2004! It is the year 2006 right now in Ethiopia. So anyways, we celebrated all of the January birthdays just this past week. So this picture is of Arsema at her birthday party here. And yes—that next picture is of her holding that huge knife to make the first cut in her cake that has all the burning candles. No frosting smeared on faces here for birthdays, just hand clapping, singing and cutting of their own cake as soon as they can! Her mom is Gete and she is the one that we were able to get seen at the hospital since she thought (or was told) that she had a tumor in her abdomen. Could you imagine carrying around the burden knowing that something was wrong, but you did not have the money to pay for a doctor visit to see? That was her situation before entering this program. And by the way, she is fine as far as a tumor is concerned, there was no mass after an ultrasound was done. But we are having her monitor her blood pressure and hoping that she can get that under control with some nutritional changes. She is married, and has another child that is 7 years old. Her husband is a daily laborer. They live in her mother’s home. Her mother has an undiagnosed mental disorder. Her little Arsema is the cutest—runs to her mom each afternoon to go home! This family is also at 25% supported, so it would only mean 3 more sponsors at $35/month!

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 7:
This may be one of my favorite pictures I have. What looks more comfortable than this little one sleeping? This is Besufekad. I walked into one of the rooms and the caregivers were folding fresh laundry during naptime and apparently thought it was a great place to put him. His mother is Weyneshet and she is 21 years old. She is HIV+ and just recently moved out of her mother’s home. Her husband left her when she was 4 months pregnant. When he first came into our program, he was just getting over having pneumonia. At the time, he very much favored the guard (a male) to any other staff! It is hard to imagine him not being able to have a comfortable and clean place to lay his little head down each afternoon. He is already sponsored at 25%, so only 3 more $35/month available!

Mehalet most definitely wins the “best afternoon momma greeting” award. The reuinion between Mehalet and her mom, almost makes you cry. The pure joy that you can see when her mom walks in the room is awesome! Can you imagine if they could not be together? Nope, me neither! Etenesh (mom) is 26 years old and has a 4 year old, as well. She looks well over 26 years of age, but life here seems to age people more quickly. She made the choice to not stay with her physically abusive and alcoholic husband in order to protect her family. We are thrilled that she had the courage to do this and we are able to help her at this critical time in their life. She is staying on top of her health in order to take care of her 2 young children. She takes her anti-virals and eats healthy when her income allows. She has a 7th grade education and washes clothes for a living. She also has a sponsor for 25%, so only 3 more slots to fill!

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 8:
This is Ruth. She came into our program almost 3 months ago. Our social worker and lead caregiver met her mom, Birhane, when she was sitting in a wheelchair with her baby. She shared with them about how she wanted to work, and had a job before she had the baby, but did not have anybody to care for her baby. She applied to our program and met the qualifications. It was our youngest little one at the time (November) and we were happy to have them join. She has another child at home, who is 9 years old. She is also married, but her husband has been mentally unstable ever since a job went poorly. She said sometimes he sleeps at the church and does not come home. Birhane (mother) uses a wheelchair at times, but mostly two walkers. When she was 5 years old, she received an injection from a doctor to help with an issue with her leg and it made her legs worse and she has no use of her legs. She moved to Addis with her father in order to get treatment. Doctors could not help correct this. She had a job at a factory before she had the baby, and had the opportunity to go back to this place of employment, but needed childcare. She would like to make more money for her family, but is thankful for a steady job. Baby Ruth is adorable and we love seeing her grow. The first picture is of her when she first came into our program and the video was taken a couple weeks ago that I sent to her sponsor family. She is sponsored at 25% currently. Of course kids never “perform” as they should—she has this incredible smile that covers her entire face that I wanted to share, but she would never look at me and do it while I was taping! But you will get the idea. You will see how much she is thriving, sitting up and getting ready to crawl. Come and be a part of these families’ lives by helping us help them.


To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 9:
Something different today. There is a fine line in our head between educating people about the realities here, versus exploiting the families. But today I am going to share pictures from some of our families’ homes. The social worker at the center conducts ongoing home visits for each of the families. We hope to help them learn better ways of taking care of themselves, their homes and their children. What you see by these inside pictures are some “typical” homes. Some homes may have concrete, tin or mud walls. Most homes do not have running water, so they have to walk to get containers of water to wash their clothes, dishes or cook with, for that day. Most homes do have electricity. Many have one room, with their bed being a mattress, perhaps on the floor, along with maybe a table or a chair for food preparation. Many are in a compound of various similar homes. When people walk through our center, they see a nice, clean facility. They see clean clothes, and clean, healthy children (for the most part, we always have a couple runny noses!). This is deceiving from where they rest their head every night. A person once said to me that our care center “should not be anywhere near the trash dump. No child should be exposed to that filth.” I couldn’t agree more. But this is reality. This is where God has placed our family to serve. We live and serve in the Kore (same know it as Korah) area. We are not scooping anybody up with our Superman cape flying off our backs and taking them out. But we are doing our best to meet them where they are. We are doing our best to help them at a time in their lives that is tough. We are hoping to change hearts. We are hoping that these families can learn the love of Jesus through us. We are hoping that they will take pride and gain the dignity every mother, father or grandparent should have in leading their family. We ask that you help one of these families and we will be thrilled to share with you their progress throughout the time you sponsor them. To some families, progress may just be surviving. Progress may be not giving up on raising their family because it is tough. I say the word “tough”, but only because there is no other word to describe it, but it does not seem to do the situation justice. Please consider sharing the stories from the previous week, as well as this coming week, with others. I know it is not the pleasant coffee chat you may be comfortable with, but I don’t think living in these conditions are terribly comfortable, either. You have been given privileges in perhaps just the place you were born or the school you attend, or the way you make your living. Use your gifts and your privileges to help somebody that does not have that currently. I assure you that the families we are serving are soon going to be an example to their neighbors and be able to help them. I could go on and on, that is evident. I promise to stop yapping on and on, if you will promise to consider what a bit over a $1/day could do for these families. Most of the families are simply happy that their children are being fed healthy meals (because they couldn’t afford it) and be in a clean, positive environment. Every child deserves that. No matter what your religion, your political affiliation, your stand on major issues…I don’t think you can possibly argue that these little ones don’t deserve to be cared for and to stay with their families.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 10:
Shewaye is a quiet little one that much prefers the caregiver to me, for taking photos! She is one of 2 children in her family. Her mom is Zeneb. She is only 25 years old and has already been a widow once. Her husband that she had her 1st child with passed away. Her 2nd husband left her after Shewaye was born because they didn’t have any money. He does help pay some of her rent, though. Zeneb has no formal education. Her hope for her children is that they will have a better future, and be able to learn in school. An opportunity she did not have when she was young. Her other child is enrolled at Strong Academy in KG1. She is very thankful to be a part of the Strong Hearts programs and have a safe place for her children during the day so she can work.

Yodit is the next little one here. She is also a quieter one and much preferred to come hang on my leg with her little friend, than pose for a picture. Her mom is 26 years old and has 3 children. Her first 2 children are from a different father than Yodit. He left her when she was pregnant with their 2nd child. She is married now and her husband was also looking for a permanent job at the time that she came into the program. She is thankful her child is here, so she can work now during the day to help support her family. She is also thankful that her child gets fed while she is here, on a consistent basis. You really have to hop over to the sponsorship page to see this beautiful mother and daughter.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 11:
This is Tsinat. She is in our 2 year old room. Her mom Mekdes, in the next picture, is a shining example of how a person can work on getting a better future secured for their family. She is 21 years old and completed the 7th grade. She had her child out of wedlock and lives with her grandmother. She is from Addis Ababa. She came into the program very excited to be free to work since her daughter would be here during the day. She also said that she would like to further her education. That is exactly what she did! She is currently enrolled in beauty school and will graduate in June. She is happy that she is free more during the day to help her grandmother with household things, as well as studying and going to school. Way to go Mekdes! Please be a part of their new journey! They are sponsored at 50%, so only half to go for them to be fully sponsored! That is two at $35/month or one sponsor at $70/month.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 12:
The “featured” child is really Abigiya. She is 2 years old and her little 1 year old sister Heldana, is also here, but is fully sponsored. There are 2 children in this family and they live with both their parents. Their parents are evangelist, with the husband preaching at a local church and Dibora (mom) makes jewelry at the local church. She is the one that makes the gorgeous crosses that you may have seen pictures of on our page. (I decided to share that picture again on here!) They are thought of highly in the community, as Christian leaders, but also have struggles living where they are living with no family support and lower education. Dibora finished the 10th grade and was born in Hosana, moving to Addis Ababa when she was 31 years old. She definitely feels their calling is sharing God’s word. They are so very thankful for both of their children to be able to be in this program. It started out that just Heldana was here at our center. A long story short, but when we had just one of their children, they brought in a child (older girl) from the countryside to watch their other child. This is common practice here so that parents can go to work full time. We spoke with the parents and educated them why this was not ok to have a child working like that, and that this country child needed to be in school, not working in their home. They agreed with us and now this other older child remains in their home, but is in school full time. So Strong Families has not only made a difference for this immediate family, but now another child has the opportunity to get educated and have a better future. This family can now be an example to others around them that taking in older children to work in their homes is not acceptable. When people are not exposed to different lines of thinking, they do not know any better. I am thankful we were given the opportunity to educate and change hearts for these families. Please be a part of this change, too.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 13:
Selamawit is an only child and is adorable. Her mom is Meseret and she is 22 years old and married. Her husband found out recently that he was HIV+, but mom and Selamawit are healthy. She is very happy to be in the program so she can find a job now. She has a 6th grade education and would like to sell things. She moved to Addis from Wolo when she was 16 years old with her brother, to find a job.

Brihanu is our newest addition! He just came into the program about 2 weeks ago and is a bit over 1. He is the only child to his mother of 19. Her name is Almaz and she has been married for 3 years. She came to Addis from Raya when she was 13 years old. She grew up an orphan, her parents passing away when she was a baby. She begged and received help from neighbors to survive. She had no shoes as a child and had a bad infection, so the neighbors gathered money to put her on a bus to get to Addis for treatment. The treatment that she received was not even for the foot/leg problem, but that she had TB. She was treated for 7 months at Mother Theresa’s and then was back on the streets begging to earn a living. This is where she met her husband, who is blind, and also a beggar. Alma uses two walkers to help her walk—since she has one leg that is significantly shorter than the other. She has not known any other life other than begging, yet she shared with me that she does not want her son to grow up learning to beg. She is not sure what she is good at, since she has never done anything else. She was learning how to make bags today with the group from our center. I am hopeful this young girl can turn things around for her family, one day at a time. She is thankful Brihanu is in a nice clean place during the day and that he gets fed as well. You can be a part of her transformation! Please consider sponsoring them.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

Day 14:
I was so hoping to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody is sponsored!”, but I cannot. We still have 18 families that still need to be sponsored. Out of the 14 days that we have been doing this challenge, 5 people (2 came in today!) have sponsored families at different levels of support. Thank you so much to those families!!! It really means the world to us, and to the families we serve here.

This month, not only have I had the opportunity to write a bit about each family that has not been sponsored yet, but it also happens to be the month that we have been completing updates on each family. What perfect timing for God to remind us what glorious things are happening here. We have done about half of the updates for the families. While some families still need help with things like leaking roofs, better jobs or medical issues, the majority so far have been sharing with us how much their everyday life has changed because they are in this program. I am refreshed and inspired by the strength of these families. One of the mothers I was talking to this afternoon was sharing that things were so very good with her family now. She is so happy that she is free during the day now that her little one is in our care center, so she is free to work. This is a woman that was in a serious construction accident (fell off a building), got beat by her alcoholic husband, is now raising 3 children on her own and she says life is good because she can pay for her rent and food for her family now! She works mainly at the trash dump looking for things to sell. Does this put “life is good” into perspective for you? It does for me! And I think her baby might just be one of the prettiest and happiest babies we have. She already has a sponsor, so I won’t even tease you with her adorable picture. (I couldn’t help myself–the cute little one with the big smile is here, below!) But there ARE 18 other adorable, cherished by their family, children, that we need your help in providing support.

People want to know if it makes a difference. We of often ask ourselves that same question. Does this program make a difference? I cannot predict the future. But I do know that it is making a difference today. These mothers (they are mainly moms, but we have one dad and a couple grandmas), I hope, are learning that they are loved. They are learning they are smart and God has given them gifts. We hope to bring to light these gifts. Because right now, they have only worried about immediate needs and surviving. The proud smile I saw on a young mother’s face yesterday as she showed me the bag she was starting to sew with our volunteer handicraft trainers was priceless. This was a woman that a week or so ago, told me she didn’t have any skills other than begging. They all still have a very difficult road to travel and life is not easy for them. But we are hoping to show them that they are loved, their children are loved and we want them to stay together, because that is best for them. The sense of community that is already in place here is one of their biggest strengths. The women that have a handicap, have friends that help them carry their children home. When one of them is working later, they arrange for their neighbor to pick up their child for them. This may sound somewhat like the states, but we are not carrying babies on our backs or walking a mile to get home on rough terrain. We don’t have to wear little floppy shoes over rocks and dirt, to get home. Not most of us from developed countries, anyways. I urge you to look back at the last 2 weeks, read about each of them. Pray for them. Share with others. Let your heart be burdened with their stories. Donate your money, time or service in helping us help them! Walk with us in this journey of loving them.

To view all of the children or to commit to a sponsorship click here Family Care Center Sponsorship

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