Monday, November 1, 2010

Dire Dawa Sponsorship Students

 Merrily with sponsorship boy

AAI Executive Director Merrily Ripley traveled to Dire Dawa on her recent visit to Ethiopia.  While there she was able to meet with and interview some of our sponsorship students.  We've had about 40 children in that program but now plans are in the works to increase that number to 100 in the coming months.  Our sponsorship money helps keep orphaned and vulnerable children in school in this very poor area of Ethiopia.  We are also providing leadership training one Saturday a month to help boost the childrens' self-confidence and give them much-needed knowledge about reproductive health, decision-making strategies, etc.   Please consider sponsoring a child through AAI---your monthly donation of $25-30 helps keep several children in school and provides their families with supplemental assistance and help from a social worker.  Contact Brooke Cole here to help set up your sponsorship. 

  sponsored girl above with Merrily and in bottom photo with her mother

About Mekdes, the girl in the above photos, Merrily writes: 

Mekdes is 14 years old and has been in our sponsorship program for two years.  She is at the top of her glass of 65 students, but without a sponsorship the social worker says she would not be able to continue in school.  She and her mother live in one room with walls made of mud and straw.  Outside the door under a shade made with a plastic sheet, her mother sits in the dust waiting for customers to buy her tomatoes.  They greeted me warmly and borrowed a small stool for me.   Mekdes is a charming girl, poised and very able to communicate in English.  Her favorite subject is biology and she would like to be a doctor.  With money from the sponsorship she is able to buy a school uniform, books, pay school fees and go to the library which is not free. 

And about Wagaye, a boy in the program, she writes: 
Wagaye is 13 but only in the 4th grade.  He is an HIV+ child and has been an orphan for three years.  He lives with his grandmother’s brother’s wife; they share two rooms in a compound with three other families.  All of Wagaye’s siblings have died of AIDS and he fears he will die too, but he is receiving medication and is actually physically quite healthy.  He was so depressed, however, that  last year he had a very hard time focusing on school work and so he is repeating 4th grade this year.   He is doing better now and says he loves school and is now determined to continue and to work hard..  His guardian says he is a big help around the compound and loves to run errands.  His guardian expressed gratitude for the sponsorship making it possible for her to continue to provide for Wagaye.  

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