We will be having a bunch of blog posts in the next few weeks. Sorry for the little break but I, the blog manager, was off on vacation. A while ago Merrily unearthed the February 2000 newsletter and I thought I would copy it here so you can all see how much has changed. For instance, I think Layla House has been in three different locations since that date! You can also see the very beginnings of our sponsorship program which helps orphaned children remain with caregivers and continue their education. Starting with just this one family, we now have over 400 children enrolled in a number of different locations in Ethiopia.
Director of Development
I am sure you have been saddened, as I have, by the recent media reports of the extent of the HIV infection problem in Africa. I can only tell you that from my experience the situation is getting worse day by day. Last April the child care facility near our House in Ethiopia that cares for children who have tested positive for HIV was caring for 40 children. In July it was 90. When I was there last week they had 140, and room for no more.
In the waiting room at the Children’s Commission there is no room to sit, the room is full of adults, bringing children who have no where to go, hoping that the welfare system can find a place for them. Neighbors and relatives bring orphan children every day seeking help for them, and we are under constant pressure to take more children into our Children’s House.
Compared to the need, what we are able to do it so little. On the other hand, every child who is cared for at our House and goes on to join an adoptive family, is one who otherwise would have had no future. To keep from becoming hopelessly depressed we can only think of the positive impact of what we are doing.
At this time we are only able to care for 40 youngsters at a time. Our lease expires in June, and by then our goal is to either move to a larger facility or to open a second home to care for babies.
Your Christmas donations enabled us to do many things. We purchased a second hand computer and now have email capacity at the House, making communication faster and easier.
We purchased a new video camera for me and left the one I have been using there, so we will be able to get video of new children more quickly. Our challenge is to identify families quickly, process the children quickly, and get them to their new families so that there is room for new children. We need more beds, tables, and chairs and hope to be able to order them soon. The pre-school for the younger children is functioning well, but they have very little equipment so we will buy or send more puzzles, building blocks, simple books, and other supplies.
We have been hampered in our effort to find families for the Ethiopian children, in that the Children’s Commission has forbidden us to show pictures of children on the Internet. It seems ironic that they are unwilling to allow us to use the most effective tool available in identifying families, but they feel that it is advertising children and simply will not allow it. So we are more dependent than ever on word of mouth in spreading the word that there are children, especially Ethiopian children, in need of adoptive families.
Eleven of our older children will join their new families in the next four to six weeks. Some of them have been with us for more than a year and they will be missed, but we feel that they have a strong foundation that will allow them to make a good adjustment to adoptive family life.
The Children’s Commission has asked us to help in another way. They often receive requests from parents who want to keep their children but need some financial assistance to do so. They introduced me to a young woman who is blind. She has two children and has passed the examination to attend the university but has no money to do so, or to support her children while she is in school. I agreed to provide a sponsorship in the amount of $50 per month. I was told that amount would cover a one-room accommodation, someone to care for the children during the day, tuition, and food for the family. So we need two sponsors willing to help on an ongoing basis by contributing $25 per month. We will provide reports on an ongoing basis.
We thank you for your ongoing interest, concern and support. The task seems overwhelming at times, but working together we have made it possible for many little ones to have a full and productive life with their new families.
Merrily and Ted