for the vulnerable and marginalized
A tiny little women of 36 years, a figure of mocking; made drunk and raped was identified by our Gender Based Violence Awareness campaign. She was pregnant! Full term! Brought to the hospital where by C/S she was delivered of little boy. “You keep him,” she said, “I cannot, I am poor, he will be tormented like me…” So we added Lukas to our family.
So with careful planning we set about making the changes, housemothers move into town, plan to attend evening school, improve their education status, and work as daily housekeepers, cooking for their beloved children and still seeing them most days.
The apprentices under our training will work directly with the children, ensuring bed, bath and story times with them and helping the older ones with homework. So far it is working!
The Women’s Affairs Ministry informed us that more children should be cared for in their homes and communities. We support this fully. With adequate funding we can help so many more children within the community. We have had some five new sponsors and we are grateful for each one we get.
One step further is to include these children after Grade 10 in our workforce here, giving them priority over others to work within the village.
Refugee Child Protection
In June 2009 we had been told that we would care for thirty children… We are now managing 760 with a prospective total of 2,000 by the end of 2010… Poor darlings so near to home yet so far…
Maternal Health Outreach
Our super Health Officer has just gone out to the hospital because there is a fistula patient! The folk around North-western Zone now know Mehari as Mr. Fistula and call him when any of these poor suffering women come to them. We pick them up and send them to Mekelle where the Hamlin Fistula Centre helps them with surgery and repairs of their fistula.
He continues the efforts in new Woredas for maternal health awareness and we are planning a more structured form of Gender Based Violence Awareness since we found little Hewan and Mebrat, the miniature mother. We are convinced that there are more just like them who need our help. Tselemti is one area where ten and eleven year old girls are still being married off to older men; this is a sure precursor to obstetric fistula because they are not yet fully grown.
A new component for Emnet Coop has developed! Cow dung patties! The lads are out early collecting this precious commodity, all over the compound these smelly cow pies are drying! The refugee camp has no more wood and the cow dung burns perfectly for making the Ethiopian bread… We have a great market! At $4 a bag the lads are making money from waste.
The other coop has been put into the hands of a former fistula woman and a person living with aids and they are doing well. The girls have all transferred to childcare apprenticeships. We are selling milk at the front gate, making butter and cottage cheese.
KelakilWe visited Kelakil where some 35 women have rented a small mud house and established a work rota for the cooperative members. Inside was a buzz of activities, some making baskets, others spinning cotton by hand, and still others carding wool for carpet making. As we stood talking to the women, one woman came up and asked if we could give her food for her twins… She had one month old babies with her, one on her back and one in her arms. The mother looked so weak, pale and frail. We are currently helping several families in this way with milk and food supplements for their babies.
The other farming projects are holding their own at this time. Everyone is preparing for the rains.
Reservoir and Wells
The well is still being dug by hand and at 14 metres down… The well digger told us he has reached Holland, but we doubt that because Holland has plenty of water and we don’t… The storage-reservoir is now complete. With the rainy season approaching we will fill this storage-reservoir and keep it as back up for the dry times at the village. It is very big and will hold a lot of water!
The Rainy Season
The girls and one young man will learn to care for children and run a small home for four to seven children; the children will take part in club activities, art, drama, English, sports etc.
You dear friends have made all this possible! We are still looking for funding for next year’s Grace School. We have not paid off the required fee for the reservoir. But we do have food on the table, peace in our homes, joy in our hearts and songs on our tongues!
Thank you for caring! God bless you all,
Karin v /d Bosch & Ruth C. Kennedy