I am writing you all with a plan on my heart, specifically but not limited to these little ones you see above in the picture.Some of you may know that I went to northern Ethiopia last year with VCDS. If I am to be completely honest, this experience was expectedly difficult, beautiful and it wrecked me in all the right ways. I had no idea that my heart had the capacity to let so many people in and love them. It was an incredible opportunity to go and see what this organization is doing in the villages of Woldia and Yerah, and how they are bringing hope to the lives of the most vulnerable within these communities. They are in the midst of providing educational and daily support to 60 orphaned children and their guardians.
There are innumerable children that have been left orphaned from the AIDS epidemic that hit Ethiopia hard; many of these children are left to be cared for by aging grandparents. From what I observed during my short stay, VCDS acts as an orphanage without walls – to support and help sustain the community through education, their basic daily needs and providing practical programs for both the guardians and the orphans. I could really see how they value the importance of laughter and play time, believing that acting in love brings healing and hope.
On the first day that we were doing training with the guardians, we were all asked to introduce ourselves. When it was my turn, I began to explain that I came from Canada and that I have two children – my son Samuel who was 5 at the time, and my daughter Sophia who was 3. After I was finished my introduction, one of the women asked to speak. With tears in her eyes she began to express how she couldn’t believe that I would come all the way to Ethiopia, and leave my children to come and be with her. I felt as though she was saying her life wasn’t worth as much as my children’s lives? Because that’s where I believe we are called to bring truth, that their lives matter just as much as my children and my family and the lives of those around me. If I did nothing else on that trip except let that one woman know that her life counts then that was enough for me. You see, I love being a mother, but I am not just a mother to my biological children. I believe that we are made to be mothers (and fathers) to all children.
After coming back home nearly a year ago today, I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I could possibly do to help this organization make a bigger impact in achieving their goals. Because the truth is we are stronger together than we are apart.
Here’s where we come in … one of our goals is to assist VCDS raise funds to partner with Mekane Yesus, our local church in providing housing, for the orphans and guardians that are living in the most desperate situations, and also providing the necessary tools and programs which will help them achieve the dignity they deserve by giving them not just a “hand out” but a “hand up”.
The housing project is aimed to help improve the quality of the elderly guardian’s lives as well as the orphaned children by making one simple adjustment. That is to provide row houses that will be connected together with community kitchens and washrooms. We will then strategically house one younger guardian beside an elderly guardian and so on. This will help to deepen their sense of community, self-worth, dignity and ability to care for one another.
50 brave men and women in Vancouver + 15KM Walk/Run = Raising $60,000 for housing and programming for vulnerable children in Woldia, Ethiopia.
Helen Balzer, Bea Libsekal and I have signed up for a 15 km run on September 28th to raise $60,000 for VCDS’s projects. This date gives us several months to train and prepare. It will be a stretch for us all, but we are so excited to dig in and get started. I think of my friends encouraging words when I did a run a few years ago “What we lack in physical ability (like running 15 km’s) we make up for in heart!”
Bea Libsekal is one of the forces behind VCDS. She is 70 years old and she is going to finish 15 km’s with us. If she can do it, so can you!!
If this cause has impacted you, let’s join together and walk or run the 15 km’s and help stand with our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. We really hope that you will be with us for the journey.
We are so much stronger together then we are apart.
So what do you think?
Are you willing to take a leap and say YES to running or walking 15K with us?
Try something new and step out of your comfort zone?
Are you ready for a life changing experience?
If you can’t walk or run, would you be willing to donate and help spread the word?
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