Looking Back at 2019 and the Family Empowerment Program…

Feb 14, 2020

First quarter is always a wonderful time to reflect back on the past year and see God’s hand on Addis Jemari, the programs we run in Ethiopia, and the beneficiaries we are so blessed to serve. We are so grateful for each and every one of you that came alongside us in 2019 and partnered with us to make a true difference in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children and their families in Ethiopia!

2019 was an important year where we experienced a ton of growth! Let’s take a look back at our newest program, Family Empowerment Program, that is just over a year old now. Here is what was accomplished in this new program!

  • Opened a Family Empowerment Center in Addis Ababa. Thanks to our generous donors and partners, we were able to purchase some of the furniture and materials necessary for the center to start operating.
  • Conducted initial assessment of 67 potential families for our Family Empowerment Program (FEP) and enrolled 50 beneficiary families that qualified for the program. The 50 families have on average two children each.
  • Gathered baseline data on the selected 50 families. The baseline data is important to tailor our services according to the needs of our FEP families.
  • Conducted FEP launching meetings with government stakeholders, which played a significant role in running our program in collaboration with the government.
  • In 2019, AJ provided a monthly stipend for 50 families to help them cover basic expenses of food and shelter until we work together with the families to create for them income-generating opportunities.
  • AJ encouraged and supported the 50 head of households in our program to open a savings account. Each family saved 20 percent of the monthly stipend they received in 2019.
  • Hired a FEP coordinator and a social worker for the program, a guard for the security of the FEP center, and four women, who are also mothers in our Family Empowerment Program, to clean and cook at the Center. Beginning in August 2019, these mothers began earning monthly income from Addis Jemari to further support their families.
  • Prepared gardening plant beds in the FEP center and planted 50 plants outside of the compound. These activities were accomplished by the FEP families, volunteers from the US, and the AJ staff. The plants are symbolic to the 50 families that AJ is currently serving.
  • Volunteers from the US with a health background conducted health assessments on the FEP children. Out of the 50 families, 45 mothers brought their children for assessments and children who needed immediate intervention were identified and mothers advised on the next step.
  • The same mission team from the US gave topical training to FEP mothers on self-care and prevention of child-choking.
  • AJ supported the FEP mothers to establish self-help groups during and beyond the program period. There are now eight self-help groups of 50 mothers. These groups have become more than just training groups…these women have friendships with one another and support one another…they do life together!
  • The 50 mothers have been provided with two modules of our financial literacy training and are already in the third module in 2020.
  • We provided counseling services twice a month for the beneficiary families on any social, economic or health issues they encountered.
  • We arranged once-a-week training for FEP families on topics such as nutrition, health, parenting, and trauma and abuse that are significant in improving their everyday lives.
  • AJ opened a library at the FEP center where our children can come and study after school. It’s called Charlie’s Library and Tutoring Center, with funds to make the library and tutoring rooms a possibility given generously through Charlie’s Heart Foundation (CHF) (charliesheartfoundation.org.)
  • With the help of CHF, we equipped Charlie’s Library with shelves and books donated from the US. It has been such a joy to the children and adults at the Family Empowerment Center!
  • AJ hired a tutor and began providing a tutoring session for FEP children. Currently, tutoring is available for three days a week.
  • At the FEP center, AJ started a once a week English language tutoring for the children. An increasing number of children are attending the sessions.
  • At the beginning of the school year, FEP children were provided with shoes, socks, and bookbags filled with necessary school materials. The provisions ensured all FEP children can attend school.
  • AJ received a certificate of recognition from the Women and Children Affairs Office of Akaki Kality (the sub-city where our FEP center is located) for the work we are doing to encourage, educate and empower the women and children in our program. It was an honor to be awarded this certificate in the first year of our program!

We could go on and on about all the goodness that occurred in 2019 through our new Family Empowerment Program. This program is truly changing lives and it has been a joy to witness it. We can’t wait to see what God does in 2020!