Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)
Interclass competition has helped the children become a little more spirited about learning. Educational games sent from friends around the world make learning fun too! One game was how to handle money; our children do not handle money much so this game has been very valuable.
Tefere, our blind lad, was actually homesick for Grace Village when he went away for a brief holiday; his mother said he could hardly wait.
It is grand to see the children play, together and it is even more encouraging to see them help each other and hold them and hug them. I saw one of the older boys, who does not know who his parents are and basically has no known biological family, sitting with about eight 5-8 year olds playing stones, (a game similar to jacks). He must have spent an hour playing with them and they were so pleased.
The older children are doing well too; taking their responsibilities seriously as role models for the younger children. School results have been varied from excellent to just fair. This is an honest representation of what we know their capacity to learn.
We have changed two of the teachers around to see if this will help with some teaching – student issues. It appears to have done the trick.
Nursery has become a very professional unit where Azeb is doing some stellar work in caring for the babies and younger toddlers. We have a new baby, little Hana came six weeks ago. She is nearly three months and has gone to Martha’s house.
The community is happy and nicely settled with the previous changes, the cooks attending school in the evening when the Nannies are home from school but both girl and woman caring for the children during the night. This has lightened the load for both of them, but especially for the Nannies.
The two senior lads who moved back in have been given apprenticeship assignments, Hyaloum helping Awash with the younger boys and Mu’ez working with our Purchaser both are delighted to be ‘back home’.
Our dear Zayid who had had open heart surgery in Netherlands several years ago, and had returned to live ‘a normal life’ with her mother and older brother, she had attended chapel that morning in March and the rest of the day with her two friends, singing and resting on the couch. She felt unwell that evening and the next morning her mother took her to hospital, she died a few hours later from a pulmonary embolism. We miss her and so does her favourite Daniel pictured here with her.
We have appointed a Programme Officer capable of managing this activity in a more dynamic manner; we plan to do a baseline survey and needs assessment of OVC in the North-western Zone in order to identify the gaps in orphans and vulnerable children in the area and to better manage these. Competent manpower we are finding is of enormous value for improved results and caring for the community orphans.
We have received letter from two Woreda (sub districts) asking us to come and help them, they have ideas and want our input and assistance.
Elementary School Support (ESS)
The Economist is to visit the school at Degana to see the progress being made with the first instalment that was to build an extra classroom for the school.
The Kelakil School has started phase two of their proposal that is to establish an income generation activity in the school; unfortunately when we visited the school was shut. We will do a follow up on this over the coming weeks.
You would never recognize our barn, it has improved so much! There is now a foot dip before you enter the barn; a lady to make cow pies collects the manure and packs these away taking home half the profit as her wage. So the more she makes the more she earns!
Having Dr. Henock has been very useful for us. He has sign boards for each cow, her milk yield, food mix and whether she is pregnant or not and all very professional.
Refugee Child Protection
Closure has been made. Last week we handed over all supplies, items, furnishing and data base and files to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. All the staff engaged to work with us have been given their release and final payments.
It was with heavy hearts that we left the over one thousand children but we were compromising our primary work of the children in Tahtay Koraro, Shire and North-western Zone.
Women in Need
Ato Mehari walks into my office stating, “I have been called to come and talk about maternal health” He used to work for the local health office so he is well known. Word is out that he is Mr. Fistula and Mr. Maternal Health as well as Gender Based Violence. So he is now the man called in the Zone to speak on these topics, sit on panels for discussion and represent the women around the zone. This has expanded our area of cover due to this free advertising of our work.
Women with Childbirth Injuries
Tejey came first, she is seventeen. She was still wet after surgery and had no one to help her at home so “Please could I stay and work here?” She has blended into the village beautifully. Gidey trained in cleaning and now Terhas is training her in cooking. She is living in Tsega’s House and helping to love and care for the ten children in that house!
Then came Desta, she had run a beer hut, but didn’t want to do that and she too wanted to stay and live in the village, she has been wet a long time. She has been trained to clean and is helping Kelam, our unwed mother, to keep the houses clean and to fold and put away clothes.
A number of women have come through to go to Mekelle for surgery at the Fistula Centre there.
Our lovely Wobete of “Walk to Beautiful” fame has just been diagnosed with tuberculosis and she has a compromised liver. We do not know the implications of all this but covet your thoughts for our sweet lady.
Assembly / Dissemination of CDK
Our donors in Australia have now sent funding for this and the exchange rate was excellent meaning we can perhaps make more!
A small package with plastic sheet, blade, cord ties, soap, gauze and gloves, make the difference between delivering on the basic bed or floor found in most homesteads in rural Ethiopia. Even the health centres like them because the women now know about them and want the ‘clean sheet’ delivery!
Women Headed Householder
The Lemlem women’s cooperative is developing nicely with their small cow barn and have cows they can milk and then will be able to sell the milk. The other project is slower and rather disappointing because they lack initiative and despite our efforts don’t appear to clear much profit from their small shop. We will need to review this for sustainability. Semama and Adigidat are now independent and working well.
Gender Based Violence Awareness
Though we have not been able to go to the women, we are now known as the people who help women with unique problems. One woman came with a growth on her private parts that she had had for two years and could we help. We helped her to Mekelle to be seen by a senior specialist. Just taking the time to listen to her and wanting to assist her and her husband was an emotional morale booster for her.
Another was a wee lass of eight, so pretty; she is well loved by her mother and father. They wanted to know if we would help them with their daughter. We found a mild hydrocephaly. We have been able to send her to the Missionaries of Charity in Addis Ababa for ongoing assistance.
It is at times like this that we realise that being the link point for so many makes the difference of where to go, where to find help and who to ask and the small money needed to pay for the trip.
We have just heard of some rather exciting donations that we will be able to use to develop our barn and dairy herd! To have a sustainable income for the future of Grace Village through marketing of dairy products will mean that our children have a future at Grace Village even if donations cease!
The wonderful band of donors who give each month to sponsor the children, to help cover the costs of the village, the farm, the school, who send money for the orphans and vulnerable children in the community, who help us help women with childbirth injuries and spread the information on how to prevent these horrible injuries and support victims of gender based violence are so very valuable to us and we thank you so much!
Thank you very much!
Karin v /d Bosch & Ruth C. Kennedy