Category Archives: FOVC Child Sponsorship Program

New School Uniforms!

In Ethiopia, like other developing countries, household poverty is a major factor keeping many children out of school. Poor households often cannot afford to send their children to school or are forced to withdraw children out of school at early ages. Although primary school is free in Ethiopia, hidden costs such as food, exercise books, supplies, uniforms and shoes hinder poor households from sending their children to school. The situation gets even worst when the children become orphaned and the children from the destitute families and they cannot afford foods, let alone school uniforms, supplies and books and they often go without education.

Knowing that education is their chance to step out of the vicious poverty and become dignified happy individuals, Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) through its Helping Orphans Prosper through Education (H.O.P.E Child Sponsorship Program) provides the children with both basic needs and educational supports. To fulfill the children’s basic needs, FOVC provides hot nutritious meals ones per each school day through its School Feeding Program (SFP). To support the children’s education, FOVC provides the children with school supplies (like exercise books, pens and pencils), school uniforms, school fees, clothing and shoes, personal hygiene care materials and health care. This all in one package service which we call Seven in One Package Service helps the children to focus on their education and not worry about their basic needs and educational needs and improves their performance in school.

Children in their old tattered clothing

Children in their old tattered clothing

Children in their old tattered clothing

Children in their old tattered clothing

Thanks to the generous supports of sponsoring families and the people like you, FOVC could provide 150 new school uniforms to our Shanto children at the beginning of this academic year.

Here are the pictures of the children in their new school uniforms:

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Through our experiences, we learned that providing school uniforms to the children improves the children’s and their guardians/parents psycho-social status and the children’s performance in school by eliminating feelings of social-economical barriers between children as a standard uniform leaves minimum space for signifying economical status. And it also improves the children’s behavior and conducts by reinforcing the academic setting.

Children in their new school uniforms

Children in their new school uniforms

Children in their new school uniforms

Children in their new school uniforms

What a visible difference! Thanks again for giving these children a chance for an education and a bright future and also a feeling of high psycho-social status for both the children and their guardians/parents!

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Currently, we are raising funds for shoes through our funding partner for H.O.P.E Child Sponsorship Program and we seek your involvement as usual in our Shanto Shoes Project. For more information and details on our Shanto Shoes Project, please go to this link



Thanks again!!!

Desalegn Daka

Founder and Director, FOVC


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Filed under FOVC, FOVC Child Sponsorship Program, H.O.P.E Child Sponsorship Program, School Uniform, Shanto

Merry Christmas to Partners and Friends

We at Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) Ethiopia send our most warmhearted Christmas greetings and blessings to all our friends and highly valued partners.

In Ethiopia, we celebrate Christmas (Ganna in Amharic) on January 7 (Tahsas 29) instead of December 25. It is a day when families including small children attend church. In the church choirs sing and preachers preach the herald of Christ’s birth. After the church service is over the rest of the day is spent dancing, playing sport and feasting.

The day before Ganna, people (particularly Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers) fast all day. The next morning at dawn, every one dresses in white. Then everyone goes to early prayer and mass in the morning.

The foods enjoyed during the Ganna season include injera (a sourdough pancake like bread), doro wat (a thick spicy chicken or meat stew), vegetables, and eggs and cheese as well.

Though it is not large as westerns do for their children in Christmas, gift giving is also a part of Christmas celebration in Ethiopia. Children usually receive presents such as clothing.

Last year FOVC’s children in all the three project sites received backpacks filled with gift cards, school materials, personal hygiene care materials, toys and dolls from our main supporter Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. This year we are raising funds to purchase new school uniforms for our children. If you are interested to donate for our school uniform project, please go to.

Meanwhile, we are thinking and praying for other poorest children around us whom we are not able to include in our programs due to the lack of resources and funds. We see that there are still immense needs to be fulfilled for the vulnerable children, who are the target of our H.O.P.E Child Sponsorship activities in Southern Ethiopia. There are children living frustrating lives, needing psychological, spiritual, financial and educational supports. Gifts, celebrations, joy and harmony are fluffy concepts for these children. For most of them Christmas is just another time of struggling – like any other day of the year. We have much work to do together in order to secure these children a fair and joyful childhood.

The board and staff of FOVC and me send our gratitude and thanks to our partners for your cooperation and continuous participation in our tenacious struggle to break the cycle of poverty and make the vision of FOVC come true:

 “… that enabling orphans, vulnerable children and widows to overcome poverty and to have the chance to become responsible, productive and happy individuals.”

Desalegn Daka,

Founder and Executive Director, FOVC


Filed under Christmas, EOR, FOVC Child Sponsorship Program, Partners and Donors, School Uniform, Shanto

Will you send a widow to sewing school?

Dear Ones,

It’s Lory here.

I have been awake much of the night, thinking and praying and tossing and turning about how we can do more. How I can live with myself, in my comfortable life, while too many are suffering desperately.

Here is an email I received from Desalegn last night. He has found a way to send the FOVC widows to a sewing school. The school goes for three months. It is run by a Catholic organization that is only about a fifteen-minute drive from FOVC.

Hi dearest Lory,

I have been working to find more effective ways to teach Beauty and other widows how to prepare materials and how to sew it. Luckily, I found a wonderful Center which offers a short term sewing training in Boditti. Its monthly training fee is only 40 birr ($2.5 USD). It is very amazing for me Lory. The widows will have a good training and that will help them to change their lives completely, I believe that!!!

And Lory, I worked out the break down which is needed to teach a widow at the Center per month:

1. For training fee = 40 birr per month
2. For meals=12 birr per day (360 birr per month)
3. For transportation = 10 birr per day (300 birr per month)
4. Miscellaneous = 50 birr per month

So, we need 750 birr or ($45.5 USD) per month per widow to teach widows a life changing skill. And we need three months training for each widow. Before finding this cheapest and effective way, I was thinking to teach only Beauty. But as this is very cheap and effective, I think it is good if we teach all widows to have basic knowledge there in the Center. By the way the Training Center is Catholic based and it will offer good skills in how to prepare materials for sewing and how to sew it. Thank you so much for bringing this idea and you will see the impact and result which the sewing project will bring soon.
With much love in Christ,

FOVC currently serves eight widows. For $135, a short-term sponsor can send a widow to sewing school for three months. $135 will cover her tuition, transportation and meals.

If you know very much about the problems faced by orphans and widows in poor countries, you know that providing an education for the orphans is the key to lifting them out of poverty. And the key to giving the widows a hand up is to provide them with job skills. A widow in Ethiopia is typically responsible for four to ten people. But she has no means to earn an income. No social status. No help from the government.The churches have no means to help. The community is struggling to survive, so the neighbors can’t help. In the small villages where we work, there is no other NGO or NPO presence.

It’s up to us.

Please email me if you can sponsor a widow for this destiny-changing opportunity.

Because it’s up to us.
Kathy helps a baby put on a clean new shirt. Even though this baby is surrounded by adults, he is covered with flies.
Mom is so proud for her baby. These moms are me.

Gift of food that we delivered to each of the FOVC widows.

Another family stand back looking on. Looking in.

These kids are no different from our children...except they were born on the other side of the world.

After we delivered the food and prayed with the widows, we got into our car and drove away.


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Filed under FOVC Child Sponsorship Program, Lory and Dave, Widows Hope Program


Hello all,

It’s 9:50 AM here in Shanto, Ethiopia and I received this wonderful email massage from our Board Member Lory Howlett which tells me that Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) officially starts its Child Sponsorship Program. FOVC’s Social Worker, Sharon Bonnett, brings uncountable effort to start this life changing program. I really thank Sharon and her dear husband pastor Brad and her children for this great work.

As you can see from my last post, life is very difficult for a child even with their parents here in Shanto and its surrounding areas. Every child is starving for food, clothing, shoes and medical and school supplies. One cannot even provide school supply for his own children with his small income, most of the time very, very below a dollar per day.  An other problem here in Shanto is that the average family size exceeds 7. Can you imagine how life is difficult for a family to care for its 7 children with smallest income, which is bellow a dollar per day?

Yesterday one of our little children came to me with tears in her eyes and told me that she hadn’t had her breakfast and lunch and she couldn’t follow her education. That was shocked my brain very much and pushed all of us to pray the Lord to help us to feed this small, little sweet child and here is the answer from our Mighty and much trusted Lord, Jesus Christ:

Hello Desalegn,

I want to let you, your staff, and the children know that US-FOVC is moving fast toward child sponsorship. Even though we haven’t completed the needed paperwork here in the U.S., we are going to start accepting sponsors immediately. Praise God! Please see our social worker, Sharon Bonnett’s, first request for sponsors below. She is a godly woman, led by the Lord, and I cannot wait to see what He is going to do through her good heart and her hard work.

Also, I’m not sure if I confirmed to you that Sharon’s husband, who is also a teaching pastor, will be joining Team Tasfa in Ethiopia. We now have two Spirit-led pastors who will be ministering to your pastors and church leaders.

We have also had a Christian therapist join Team Tasfa. If you become aware of any ways she can serve you, your staff or the children, please let me know.

With love, gratitude, eager anticipation and many blessings,

Hi team!

As you probably saw on Lory’s blog today, the sponsorship program is ready to get off the ground!

I am including below the email I sent to individuals who had previously contacted me with interest in sponsoring a child.  We have 57 children in need of sponsors.  My hope is that we can have about half of the children matched with sponsors before we travel in December (o.k., I’d really rather have them all matched!).  PLEASE help us get the word out and send any possible sponsors my way!

We will be running an “abridged” version of the sponsorship program until we arrive back in January.  This means that I will be collecting funds (instead of EFT’s or paypal) and we will wire the money as soon as it is available.  Also, we will not be facilitating any communication between the children/sponsors until January.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please let me know and I will be happy to match you with a child!  Please contact me at this email address.

Sharon Bonnett

Thank you for your interest in sponsoring a child through Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) in Shanto, Ethiopia. It is my great pleasure to announce that FOVC is ready to get the sponsorship program off the ground!

The past couple of months, FOVC has been in the process of developing the sponsorship program and anticipated beginning the sponsorship program in January 2011.  It has come to our attention that the need for sponsorships to begin is very urgent. FOVC is currently responsible for 57 orphaned children in Shanto.  Twenty-four of these children joined FOVC in mid-September after the local government, seeing the work done by FOVC, requested that these children be admitted into the program.  While we are thankful that the local government is supportive of FOVC’s projects and is seeking help for the children in their community, the admittance of 24 new children has placed a significant burden on FOVC. FOVC’s Executive Director, Desalegn Daka, reported that these children “need immediate support to sustain their lives.”  Because of this, we feel it is in the children’s best interest to begin the sponsorship program and not wait until after Team Tasfa travels in December.

All 57 children are in need of sponsors.  $35 a month will provide a child with food, clothing, education and medical care.  Sponsorships help children living in poverty begin to break the cycle of poverty and hunger through education As a sponsor, you will receive photos and biographical information of your child, and the opportunity to communicate with your child 3 times per year.  It is our hope that a long term relationship will develop between children and their sponsors.

Your tax-deductible gift will have immediate impact and will offer hope to a child desperately in need.  Please contact me for more information or to begin your sponsorship.

Seeking the best for children of Shanto,

Sharon Bonnett
FOVC Social Worker

“To reduce and break the cycle of poverty and to ensure that all orphans and vulnerable children grow up in safe, permanent foster families and have quality education and the help they need to be successful in life.”  -FOVC’s mission

I ask all of you to join us to break this hard and heavy yoke from the shoulders of my small children and help them to continue their education which I believe is hope for my children.

I have many million thanks for all of you for understanding the heaviness of poverty for my sweet children  and joining our effort to break the cycle of poverty and hunger!!!

Desalegn Daka

FOVC Ethiopia

Executive Director

Shanto, Ethiopia


Filed under FOVC Child Sponsorship Program