By Sister Nancy Asbill
To start my report on the Ethiopian NGO, I would like to say what a privilege it is for me to be able to meet the mothers and children and have a little part in this program.
Bro. Jemal and Bro. Fikre have had a big job of learning the “ropes” of establishing and managing such an undertaking. Since the NGO began the first part of January there has been much to do. One of the biggest tasks was deciding who would qualify for the program. The government upon approval of the NGO determines in what part of town you can help widows and orphans, so Bro. Jemal and Bro. Fikre began to look in Kotebe Woreda 11 for those most needy. There are so many needs everywhere that much prayer and thought went into their choices. Presently, there has been a small office rented in a secure compound in the Kotebe area. This is quite exciting as it allows the NGO to have a central location for the work in the area designated by the government. The office is unfurnished so we are praying to be able to find the furnishings it needs.
Since the program is new and the staff is small, the decision was made to start the program with twelve children. The children are from very poor families and in this case single mothers. The children are provided with schooling and the required books, plus extra classes called tutorial classes to help them advance in their studies. The tutorial classes are for the furtherance of learning English and math and are after their primary schooling Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The children and mothers are also given every three months a supply of food staples as well as soap and basic hygiene products. On a monthly basis the mothers receive teaching on hygiene and how to properly help their children in their daily needs.
Our first opportunity to meet the children and mothers was on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. I was not sure what to expect, but thought I would bring some flannel graph Bible stories. It turned out to be a blessing for us all. We were able to share “Hope” talking about David and how because his heart wanted to know God, God moved in so many ways and no “Lion” or “Bear” could harm him. We sang the song “If You Are Happy and You Know It Clap your hands”. It was a very lovely time sharing the Love of Jesus.
How do you describe “poverty”? It has many faces. Of course the obvious one is no food or shelter and such. But look at the poverty in this world of a lack of relationship with the living God. These children have lived from being a small baby to their ages now with not knowing anything else than very little food, to not having a bed to call their own or a special pair of shoes or clothes. You would think they would be quite downcast and sullen, but it is quite the opposite. When the children came into the room we were in, they greeted us with smiles and a hand shake. The mothers were very pleasant as well. There was for the most part sweetness about them. After the first meeting the children went out to play. One little boy was running as boys do, even though his shoes did not fit. He was not complaining but going about with his running the best he could. How can I ever complain when I have so much!!
Our next meeting, we had the Hloskas and Barak with us. We sang our “happy” song again and spoke with the mothers for a bit before passing out the notebooks and colored pencils the Hloskas brought as well as the toothbrushes and toothpaste from Sister Terry. The children and mothers were very happy to receive the gifts. The children later showed us some very good pictures they drew.
Kveta and I, as a willing helper, worked with the ladies on some basic sewing skills. Kveta was a very good teacher and patiently went around the room helping each lady learn the skill of a needle and thread. You see, many of these ladies have not had any formal schooling. To sign their name might be just a scratch. Many of them have some very low paying jobs, if they have a job. Our desire is to see them learn some skills so as to better their living situations for them and their children.
Hiwot Wube is a little lady with quite a frown at first, but give her a few minutes and the smiles will come. Her mother has the same look but soon her face beams with a warm smile. Hiwot says she like to play hopscotch and jump rope.
Dagmawit Sisay is a very bright and cheerful young lady that speaks quite good English. She also likes reading and is quite a good drawer too. Her mother knows Jesus as her Savior as well as Dagmawit which explains their smiles.
The NGO is providing hope for these families. As the program progresses, the mothers can learn a trade and one day be able to be more self-sufficient so they can move on and others can be helped as well. The plan at this time is to have the mothers attend classes on sewing or attend beautician school at one of the local night classes.
We thank the Lord for this wonderful opportunity to help this community, but most of all to spread the good news of Jesus and his Love for them. It has been marvelous to watch as God has led us step by step and given the NGO favor to be approved. It is a blessing to see it now working. Glory to the King of Kings!!