Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What a Difference an AAI sponsorship can make!

Post by Susan Poisson-Dollar, AAI Director of Development

For just a few dollars a month, you can make a huge difference in the life of a child in Ethiopia, Ghana or Burkina Faso. AAI has sponsorship programs in each of these countries; in fact several different ones are available in Ethiopia where we have been operating for over a decade now.

At first our sponsored children were often the older and unadoptable sibling of a child placed by AAI. When adoptive parents frequently learned that their child was leaving behind an older sibling and often several, perhaps in deep poverty and not able to even attend school, they helped us create a sponsorship program to ensure that the sibling(s) would have a chance at a brighter future.  The family was then able to receive a social worker's report and updated photos of the child/ren several times a year.  We now have over 125 children enrolled in this particular program, mostly in and around the city of Addis Ababa.  We have branched out now to outlying areas where we have worked with partner orphanages and we now have over 120 sponsored children, mostly orphans, in Dire Dawa, Sheshemone, and Dessie, where the AAI school was built.  While the children are enrolled in the sponsorship program because the need is so great, we do not yet have sponsors and hope that readers of this post will contact Brooke Cole, AAI sponsorship and volunteer coordinator to join the program and help us assure that we can continue this important work. 

The lovely young lady shown above, Tesfallen Melaku, was in AAI's sponsorship program for a number of years thanks to an AAI adoptive parent who adopted her sister.  The sponsorship helped put her through college and she is now 23.  When I met her in March 2010, she was working in AAI's sponsorship office and said that she just loves "helping people and finding out what their condition is."  Tesfallen has future plans to continue studying law or social work.

I was also lucky enough to accompany AAI sponsorship social worker Elsa Moges to visit the family shown above.   We learned that the father had been unable to work for several months because of an eye problem and while Elsa had been on maternity leave, he was to shy to talk to anyone else.  Elsa told me that the girls, Marta and Bethlehem, were outstanding students and also helped their father a great deal. She described them as a close, affectionate family.  

On our first visit, the girls cried as they described how worried they were about their father and how tough things had gotten.  Elsa rushed right back to her office after the visit and made an eye appointment for the father the next morning.  We picked him up by taxi and within two hours he had received an prescription for his condition and been fitted for some good sunglasses to help protect his eyes in Ethiopia's strong sun.   We went to the pharmacy to get the prescription and also some stomach medicine for the older girl who had been experiencing stomach pains so severe she couldn't eat, presumably from stress.  By the time I returned to the U.S. a few days later Elsa had checked in with them again and the situation was vastly improved with the father expected to be able to work again within a few days.  The adoptive family of these girls' brother paid the relatively small cost to cover these additional medical bills. 

Please consider helping to make a difference in the life of a child by joining one of our sponsorship programs.   You can make a recurring monthly or quarterly donation online and for just the cost of one extra-large pizza in the U.S., you will be making a great impact on the life of a child.   Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I would just like to say, that I have been sponsoring a child/family since before we brought home our first Ethiopian daughter 3 years ago. I have met with the family several times, on my visits to Ethiopia. It's truly amazing how far $35 will go in Ethiopia, and the impact it can make on a child/family. The money comes out of my account automatically, so I don't even miss it... and I know and have seen first hand, just what it can do.
    Elsa, Jerry and the other Social workers overseeing the OSP program, are wonderful. I highly reccomend this program to anyone who is interested in making a difference in the life of a child. You can trust that your money is reaching the intended recipient! (And is appreciated beyond words.)