When Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) was started its work in August 2006 with six orphaned children and one widow, the only thing which we had plenty were hope, faith and love to help poorest children in one of the poorest villages in Ethiopia, Shanto. There was no resource, no land, no office, only few workers, etc. After three strong and hard and difficult years, we met the two westerns (aka the Howletts) who have really big hearts for Ethiopia and its poor people. Then my hope and dream became true and real.
Now we have very skilled and committed staff, much honored partner (EOR), very strong and hard working Board Members, 57 orphaned and 7 vulnerable children, much love and support from the local government and people.
EOR’s love, partnership and funds still continue. It has sent us another large amount of funds to start our life changing program, that is Widows Hope Program . Thank you EOR for this great love and supports for my children and people and widows!
Now it is time to start one of the four WHP projects which is called Livestock Development Project.
Why Widows Hope Project?
In Ethiopia, many children are living in extreme poverty in one parent homes. Because of abandonment, death from AIDS and malaria, mothers are alone, trying to keep the family together but most have neither education nor skills to provide properly for the family. Partnership will help meet physical, educational and spiritual needs to help prevent children from becoming orphans. FOVC carries the following life changing projects through its Widows Hope Program (WHP). With the help of partners like you, in average, a life of thirty five siblings and seven widows will be changed in each project for years to come!
FOVC’s WHP consists the following four different life changing projects:
1. WIDOWS LIVESTOCK DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Rising food prices have made the lives of subsistence farmers in Ethiopia even more precarious. For the rural poor, close-to-the-earth assets such as farm animals and poultry are a longed-for source of financial and food stability. A flock of chickens, goats, sheep and cows means nutritious eggs, meat, cheese, protein and so and so for the family’s children, as well as providing a source of income that can help make the difference between crushing poverty and the ability to build toward a better future.
In our culture goats, sheep, cows and hens are a valuable asset for families and communities, but many people cannot afford them. Livestock can supply a family with several quarts of milk each day—important nutrition for undernourished children. Extra milk can be made into cheese or yogurt and sold to make extra money for the family. Livestock manure can be used to fertilize gardens and fields. Goats and sheep have two or three kids a year, enabling families to start small dairies. With their earnings, widows can afford food, education and health care to their siblings.
Give the gift of a livestock to a group of widows in Damot Pulasa! It costs $3,270.75 to provide a pair (one male and female) goats, sheep, hens and cows for each widow in a group. And then, see how you make a poor people health and wealth, with your small blessed money.
2. WIDOWS CROP FARMING PROJECT
When normal agricultural cycles are disrupted and sources of crop seeds are gone, people struggle to survive at the most basic level. Sadly, this is all too often the case in Damot Pulasa, Ethiopia. But a loan of $1,874.25, provides 100 Kg of seeds— nourishing maize, teff, beans, a quintal of potatoes and onions providing food for a group of seven widows each has five siblings in average. In other hand a loan of $1,874.25 provides food for (5×7+7 = 42) people for years to come! Now isn’t that a seed worth sowing?
3. WIDOWS HANDCRAFT PROJECT
In this project FOVC provides materials and teaches HIV/AIDS widows how to make handcrafts, which can be sold as a means of income. Wolaita people are famous for its abundance of colorful textile crafts, and for the artistry and creativity of its traditional craftswomen. For a group of seven widows which wants to start a small crafting business for life changing income, however, the initial investment in raw materials can be beyond the group’s or widows’ means. Training widows and allowing them to exercise their creativity and create handworks to sell can help make the difference between crushing poverty and the ability to build toward a better future.
Providing funds to pay for thread and material, to make scarves, potters, etc. to sell, can take an abandoned mother from starvation to self-sustaining survival. A group of seven widows needs a loan for $8,583.75 to start this project in group. After the widows repay the microloan to FOVC, the money will fund another group of seven widows, and then another, and then another… creating a “pay it forward” effect that touches many lives of widows in Damot Pulasa.
We believe that if they are trained and provided with necessary facilities, it will be the best income generating opportunity for them. There are many markets for the products to sell. As experience shows many trusts and guests visiting the Woreda are also very interested in the products.
The project has a secondary function since it acts as a valuable support group within the community, where the widows can make friends and share the challenges of being HIV positive.
We encourage the volunteers to support these women through purchasing some of their crafts made by the women.
4. WIDOWS SMALL-SCALE BUSINESS PROJECT
Some struggling but hard-working widows in Damot Pulasa, Ethiopia simply need someone to invest in their desire to provide for their families on their own. A group of seven widows, in average each widow has got five siblings, needs a loan for $18,789.75. All widows are lost their beloved one to HIV/AIDS or other preventable diseases. They can open a shop with a loan – and pay it back so others can benefit. Local government promises to give a piece of lands to build small shops with area of 3x4m2.
Now the fund which is released by EOR helps us to start our Livestock Development Project. We are also wondering to start the remaining three life changing projects those are Crop Farming Project, Hand Crafting Project and Small Scale Business Project.
I hope and believe that our Mighty will help us to start the remaining three WHP projects.
We have many million thanks for EOR and its members and supporters for supporting and helping us to start one of FOVC’s life changing projects i.e. Livestock Development Project.