100% of donations to this project go directly to support this program.
The pervasive, extreme poverty in Ethiopia is at the epicenter of far too many painful experiences: hunger, homelessness, social ostracism, illness, and even death. It is also a major factor behind the reality that millions of children are orphans in Ethiopia. Far too many parents simply cannot afford to house, clothe and feed their children. And, since they cannot ensure that they will be healthy, safe, and happy – something every parent wants for the child they love – they make the heartbreaking choice to send their babies to stay with others, or to live in an orphanage – or even to try to survive the harsh conditions on the streets.
We at Beautiful Together would like to establish an Orphan Prevention Care Center for a specific community of impoverished mothers and babies who are currently at risk for a similar fate. The goal is to not only establish a day care program but to also weave in comprehensive and radically life-changing benefits for all involved.
They will receive reliable, safe and clean care at an established, well-run facility care center nearby. They will be able to count on daily nutritious meals, daily supplements, and necessary immunizations. In addition, they will receive generous affection and interactions from an involved caregiver staff, early literacy encouragement through reading and activities, and they will have plenty of inside and outside room to play, explore, socialize and learn.
This benefits the older siblings of the babies going into day care, too, as they are often tapped to mind the younger children, unfortunately missing out on schooling, an opportunity to focus on their own growth. With younger siblings well cared for, they can leave for school, focus on their own education and experience a significantly safer day to day life than the all-too-common alternative: begging on the streets.
This care center will allow the mothers to have invaluable peace of mind, as it relates to the safety of their children, while they actively work to better their lives for themselves and for their families. To that end, we will be incorporating an educational component for the mothers, most of whom have received an average of a 4th grade education. This program will include basic schooling, such as reading, writing, and math – as well as rather vital basic health and nutritional education. These skills will be a key component for them to move on to the next step of training, and it is something that every single mother interviewed is genuinely thrilled about being able to receive.
All in all, the women will spend six days of every week on a schedule that evenly builds on education, working in basic positions (carrying wood, selling vegetables, etc), and taking responsibility for several shifts in the care center. And, since these women typically work 24/7 in multiple capacities, they will have Sunday completely off, with their family, as they rest up for another week of changing their future – and their family’s future – for the better.
After three months, the next level of education will be specific vocational training. This means that women will be able to add in training for a long-term position in a variety of industries that will enable them to support their family, save for their future, and possibly even start their own business one day. A future upgrade of this program is a micro-loan opportunity for those who wish to start an entrepreneurial venture.
In addition, a key piece of this program is that a portion of what the mothers make throughout this time period will be set aside to help sustain the program long-term, not just for their future children but for all families who continue this program over time. They are investing themselves in this in every way, they are able to see their direction contributions to their family and to society, and experience the boost in self-confidence associated with that, and they are committed to sustaining it long-term.
Lastly, many of the mothers selected for this program have suffered some rather traumatic experiences in their already difficult lives, so we will also be covering biweekly therapy sessions for every woman in the program.
We have secured a clean, albeit lightly-furnished, day care center that is within walking distance of this community of women, which is important as they do not have transportation.
We have met with members of the community and reviewed a list of candidates to be part of the initial launch of the program. We have selected 12 mothers and their 13 children to start, and we have verbal commitments from all of them about investing in the program. In addition, they will all sign agreements before the first day of program launch.
We have met with the Director of the care center, and they are thrilled about the potential of this program. In addition, there is not only room to grow the care center, and to include more participants, but there is already an open room that can be converted into a dining area/training center.
We have met with vocational trainers, and they are incredibly enthusiastic about being a part of this endeavor.
We have created a plan and a schedule that allows for nearly every component of the comprehensive program.
We have detailed out a start up budget, as well as a 6-months’ coverage budget.
There are very few jobs available in Ethiopia. Since we are hiring four day care workers (small stipends to the mothers who take turns a few days a week as day care workers), one teacher, multiple vocational consultants, a part-time program manager and a part-time therapist, this program also serves as a job creation effort, too. In addition, we have connected with two separate businesses already doing fantastic, high-quality charitable-focused work with weaving, jewelry and artisan creations. They are both already on board to offer vocational training, as well as future employment of the women from our program.
This is a comprehensive program, and a great deal of planning has gone into lining everything up to be as successful as possible. We are ready to start this right away, and we plan to upgrade the program to more mothers and babies, over time, as well as offer more advanced options (immunization center, early literacy program), The overall project cost, which includes all startup costs and the first six months’ of care center payments, food, and worker fees is $16,500
Ongoing support funds for this program will be less, as the initial startup is the costliest part, and there will be fees set aside to help sustain the program long-term.