Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 2011 Families for Children newsletter

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Report from AAI-Ghana

Our Ghana Coordinator, Anita Gillispie, traveled to Ghana for two weeks in June.  It was a very busy trip, with visits to around 15 orphanages and non-profits in 5 regions of Ghana and Togo.  In this part of the world in-person relationships are of the utmost importance.  Culturally, some things must be communicated in person rather than by email or phone.

Thanks to generous donations by AAI families and friends, Anita was able to take over 300 pounds of donations, and give over $2500 in food and supplies to orphanages and non-profits in Ghana.
AAI helped a group foster home receive 12 new mattresses for the children.
Directors of the group foster home choose donated shoes and clothing for their children
Earlier this year families raised $5000 for the construction of a new dormitory at Nyame Dua Foster home.  Anita was able to tour the dormitory that is now nearing the end of construction.  When finished, the addition will have a new sitting area, 2 new bedrooms, a western-style restroom, and a storage area.

construction of the Nyame Dua boys dorm

The current restroom facility at Nyame Dua--a new one is planned.

Family Preservation is a significant part of our program in Ghana.  Anita was able to observe these programs in action when she went along to deliver food to vulnerable families and to visit the sponsored children in school.

The trip was very fruitful, in part, thanks to the private vehicle Anita was able to use during her time in Ghana.  Unfortunately, The Ripley Foundation (our primary NGO sponsor in Ghana) is in dire need of vehicles to be able to effectively do their work in Ghana.  Currently, they are borrowing one vehicle (to be returned in August) or using public taxis/buses. Please consider a donation to our Ghana Vehicle Fund to help put this program back on the road.  

The roads are sometimes almost impassable even for a 4X4 SUV, so you can imagine how difficult it is for TRF Humanitarian Director Muna Saeed to do her work hiring public taxis each day.  Many times she can only take a taxi to a certain point before she is left to walk the last few miles on foot (often with donations in hand and her son on her back).  This is, at best, an inefficient way to accomplish the work that must be done on behalf of orphans and vulnerable children. 
 Muna, walking with a mom whose children are sponsored through AAI

Joha, TRF's Director of Development, often takes a public bus from Accra to Bolgatanga--a 17 hour ride--in order to work on adoption cases in the Upper East Region.
 Joha (in brown shirt) settles in for the 17+ hour bus ride

Without access to a dependable SUV, Anita would have been unable to visit at least 5 of the orphanages she visited during the last trip.  The SUV barely made it through the muddy road below.

In the coming months we hope to assist The Ripley Foundation in purchasing two used vehicles--one for city travel and one for "rough" travel.  The organization is doing its best to raise money within Ghana (including their own personal funds) to meet this need, but they ask that we come along side them.  The fact is, at this point, AAI adoption and family preservation work is being inhibited by the transportation problems.

Thank you for your continued support in Ghana.

Anita Gillispie
Adoption Advocates International

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holiday Project Kicks off with an Online Gift Auction!--Items needed now.

 This year we are trying something new and different for our annual Holiday Project.  Coordinator and volunteer extraordinaire Mandie Doak just sent this message to our country yahoo groups and I'm sharing it here for those who read the blog.  And wow--look at some of the items she's already received--they would make great gifts!
Hi All! I know its hard to believe that I'm posting about the Holiday project and its only the middle of July... but I have to tell you, I've already been thinking about it for a month now, and today I saw aisles and aisles of  Christmas decorations out at Hobby Lobby.... so apparently, I'm not the only one!

The reason I'm typing is because I am putting together a silent online auction (and possibly an event in Kansas at its end...) to raise money for this year's Holiday Project. The auction will take place the beginning of October, but I wanted to get the word out early so that those of you who are crafty and quilt or knit, or do some other great thing that requires a bit of time to put together, could have time to do it! I'm asking for donations from all of our AAI Africa families , since this project will touch children and caregivers in Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda this year!  

My name is Mandie Doak, I'm an Ethiopia adoptive parent, volunteer with AAI, and I have
been organizing the Holiday project for the past 5 years.... I put the word out, beg for money, do the shopping, beg for more money, remind you all that we still have money to raise, and finally carry all the gifts to Ethiopia and oversee that portion of the project. You can visit this link and see photos from last year's projects in both Ethiopia and Ghana.

I'm very excited to be including AAI's new program in Uganda in this year’s project, and I can't wait to see the photos of their celebrations!

Last year’s project brought in more than $20,000... Half of which went to AAI's humanitarian aid projects. The remainder of the funds went to provide gifts for all of the children in AAI's care, special Holiday party and foods, modest bonuses for the caregivers, special treats for our sponsorship kids, and holiday meals for several of AAI's partner orphanages. The project will touch more than 500 orphans and caregivers in all three countries.

Please help us to make this year’s project a HUGE success! If you are able to donate an item or two, please let me know and I’ll send you my shipping address! If you are crafty and you know it...raise your hand! Calling all quilters, clothing makers, bow makers, photographers, jewelry makers, artists, etc.!  Travelers, you can help out too! If you are traveling soon, and would be willing to pick up some souvenir type items (drums, baskets, scarves, clothing, coffee, spices, jewelry, etc...) to donate to the cause, let me know!

The auction is not limited to physical items.... If you own a salon, how about' a do? Own a restaurant or have a friend who does?   How about donating a dinner for two? Maybe you can donate a weekend getaway or charter fishing trip? You can see where this is going! If you can offer a good or service that someone else could bid on, let me know!

You don't have to be a crafty-traveling-business owner to participate, either! If you have an item, or want to purchase an item to donate to the cause, that would be welcome too! Just as a reminder, donations should be new or like new items that you would want to give or receive as a gift during the holidays... We are hoping that folks will use this auction as a place to do some of their holiday shopping, so please keep this in mind!

I have the Holiday Project FB page up and running, and have started posting previews of the items that will be offered for auction! I will update it as I receive the items. Stop by, "Like" it, and get ready to bid! Please be sure to check out donor's websites, many of them work with organizations in Uganda, Ghana and Ethiopia.

If you have a website associated with your goods, I would be happy to link it to your items. They will also be linked on our Facebook page, where I will have a preview of the items as I receive them. Take a look; there are some beautiful things already that will make great gifts for a special someone on your list.  

Please feel free to contact me with questions! Items need to be shipped to me by Sept. 16th.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Thanks so much for your help with this!

Mandie Doak

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fun in Wenatchee!

A group of AAI families gathering at a state park in Wenatchee, WA over the past Fourth of July Weekend.  By Saturday evening, there were over 150 people there attending a cookout planned by Chris Little, the event organizer and AAI Board President.  A highlight of the weekend was a panel discussion featuring about a dozen older Ethiopian adoptees discussing and answering questions about their unique experiences. Families also enjoyed games, marshmallow roasting, swimming, bike-riding and hanging out with old and new friends.  Below are some photos of the weekend taken by Marta Little, Jessica Alderson (AAI Volunteer) and Susan Poisson-Dollar (AAI Director of Development).  Director Merrily Ripley and her husband and grandchildren were also in attendance. 

Oh, yes there was Ethiopian dancing!

And doro wat cooked on a campstove...

the older kids fielding questions and talking about their experiences

more members of the panel

AAI Volunteer Jessica enjoyed seeing some old friends from Layla House

Impromptu hair-braiding sessions went on all weekend

Old and new friends enjoyed each other's company

The games Chris planned were a big hit and helped keep us all cool in the hot weather.

Hula-hooping contest with the AAI Family Tree Quilt in the background

The teen set could not get enough socializing in!

There was always a line to try out this cool bike that Chris brought