(by Liz) For Ru's "Homecoming Day" we wanted to honor her birth country and find a way to give back; one that she could be involved with as she grows up. We were thrilled to find out that the SOS Children's villages program works in Ethiopia. This group, which started in 1942 to address the orphan crisis in Europe after WWII & has been nominated for a Nobel Peace prize 14 times, describes their mission this way:
"We build families for children in need.
We help them shape their own futures.
We share in the development of their communities."
In Ethiopia they have villages in Addis, Awassa, Dire Dawa, Harrar, Bahir Dar & Gode. Here is a link to a page describing more specifically SOS' work in Ethiopia. > SOS in Ethiopia
What is really rewarding about their program is that you can sponsor an individual child in Ethiopia who will grow up in the care of their Village program. You can write, receive photos and letters and, if you're able to travel to Ethiopia, you can even arrange to meet them. What's more amazing is that when you sign up to sponsor a child, you can ask for a certain age or gender too; our little Habesha penpal is exactly 2 months younger than Ru - to the day!
I hope that their friendship as they grow will help span the distance from Ru's home culture and shared orphan background. Already Ru talks about "her friend" and brings the photo to show her friends at daycare.
So, if you're looking for a way to stay engaged in Ethiopia and give your children a real live connection to their culture and background, look into sponsoring a child through SOS! Add your request for Ethiopia/gender & age to the "special requests" field in the "Additional Information" part of the form.
Want to Sponsor a Child in Ethiopia? Here's the link:
Sponsor a Child | SOS Children's Villages