Saturday, May 3, 2008

Do something

Video's like this have always triggered an emotional response from me; usually around half guilt at having so much and half sorrow for those that are suffering. Since our trip to Ethiopia I look at these kinds of appeals for help a little differently. I have now seen the kind of poverty and need portrayed with my own eyes. I have seen the suffering, but I have seen the pride and hope and joy too.

When I look at this video I feel a stirring deep inside. There are over 4 million orphans in Ethiopia and only 1,250 or so were adopted to the US last year. My son was one of those very few children and his story could have very easily have been much different. I want to help the children in our adopted country that have little or no choices for the future. The ones that can't afford food let alone school.

My difficulty lies not in the desire to help, but in finding ways to help that allow people to help themselves. I really believe that just handing out money or food isn't the answer. I remember reading somewhere about a program that helped children stay with their families instead of funding orphanages. If their parents we're gone then extended families took up the roles, then foster parents, and as a last resort, small group homes. that is a program I can get behind. I also like the idea of funding small loans to people to start their own businesses, or building schools, or digging wells... well, you get the idea.

So, for those of you out there who are "giving back", what programs do you support?


Mom of 5 said...

We feel like we have given back by taking the leap of faith to adopt an orphan child (our Mia)- and by deciding to take the leap again....
We also donate when we can !

paige said...

Hey Carrie

Some of us who adopted from Ethiopia have created a non-profit, Ethiopian Orphan Relief While the money won't help keep families intact, the goal of many of our projects is to help older orphans who won't be served by the traditional orphanage system. We are developing a micro loan (among other projects) so that these young adults have the ability to support themselves through small businesses or vocational training.

I agree, we can never really do enough to to foster self-sufficiency, but it should be a goal to aim for when we provide charitable dollars. I'd also like to suggest supporting the work of COEEF. Educating Ethiopia's girls will go a long way toward creating self-sufficiency in the population of this beloved country.

wmw said...

When we went to Ethiopia we were actually able to meet the girl we sponsor through Compassion International ( They made a big point of showing us how all the money we send is tracked to go directly to the child and, in the case of extra gifts, to her family (ie the social worker works with the family to determine what they really need to buy with the money). In fact I would say we were most pleased to see how sponsoring one child really does help the whole family. This single mom of three girls could never get even one of them to school without this program, and they all benefit from health information, social worker visits, etc.

I am also intrigued by the idea of micro loans, like this: