Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
What could be better than an Ethiopian welcome, FOVC style?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ethiopia, part III: Children's Heaven

Some of the families in the Boulder/Denver area introduced us to a ministry in Addis Ababa called Children's Heaven (http://www.childrensheaven.org/) and its founder, Hanna Fanta. Hanna is an Ethiopian woman who lived in the U.S. for sixteen years before returning to Ethiopia to start Children's Heaven. While we were in Addis, we had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with Hanna and "her girls."

This is Hanna. Doesn't she glow?

Children's Heaven currently serves forty-four at-risk Ethiopian girls ages 9 to 17. The girls are orphaned--some of them live with Hanna, most live with neighbors or extended family. Children's Heaven provides daily mentoring and nurturing, clothes, medical care, tutoring, encouragement and love. Hanna and her team stay in touch with the girls' schools, and they make frequent contact with the girls' homes. Without the love and the safety net that Children's Heaven provides, these sweet girls would be faced with abuse, life on the streets of Addis Ababa or prostitution. The girls have already experienced so much loss in their young lives, and Hanna gives them stability and a mother's love!

The need in Addis Ababa for an organization like Children's Heaven is unlimited. (In fact, there is currently a long waiting list of girls who would love to be part of the ministry.) Hanna's heart is huge and her energy seems to be limitless, too. Unfortunately, resources are very limited, and the Ethiopian government doesn't make it easy for organizations like Children's Heaven to grow. So....please pray for Children's Heaven and the girls served there. Or, consider supporting a girl financially. Or, come to the Boulder/Denver area fundraising auction in early November, where you can meet Hanna and purchase beautiful Ethiopian scarves, textiles and etc. in support of Children's Heaven.)

Even though it's winter break in Addis, here is a group of girls during a math class.

They welcomed us one afternoon with a special program, in fact:

Some of the girls performed a praise dance to a Chris Tomlin song!

A recitation in Amharic.

Every girl stood up and introduced herself in English--and shared where she goes to school and what grade she is in, her favorite subject, sport and hobby, and what she hopes to be when she grows up. It was so moving to see the beautiful hope these girls exhibit....Dave and Grammy and Allison and I were all crying when they finished.

Thanks to contributions to "Change 4 Change," donations from friends and gifts from my hair stylist at Studio Boom, we took enough gifts so every girl got a wrapped package that included a few small gifts. They included all kinds of hair accessories, new underwear, markers, lip gloss, candy, etc. There was also a big suitcase filled with school supplies, messenger bags, DVDs and CDs that Children's Heaven will use in the coming weeks and months. We praise God for the opportunity to share a little love with these girls!

Here is one of the girls after she opened her little package--she's beautiful in her headband, huh?

One of the older girls prepared a coffee ceremony in our honor--our first coffee ceremony!

Here are Hanna and Amelia and all the girls.

Good bye and God bless. We hope to see you again!

2 comments:

Derek Weber said...

Thanks for sharing Lory. Keep us up to date on the Boulder/Denver area fundraising auction in early November. I would like information when it becomes available.

DW

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Love that shot of Hanna!