April 26, 2017- This day will be a day I will never forget. August 2, 2016. It was a tough, grueling day, but one that was a defining moment for Addis Jemari.
One of our girls had tears running down her face from humiliation and anger. She could hardly speak. I looked her in the eyes and said, “It doesn’t matter what he says. It’s just his opinion. You are valued, you are loved, you can do this. You have two choices…you can let what he says define you, or you can rise above it and work hard and show him you are not just an orphan. You are a person; orphan is just a circumstance… it is not you!”
You see, I had just heard a school director explain to a room full of people that “those orphans” cause issues and are not good for the school.” Sadly, it was a common theme I had been hearing and fighting against for weeks. Getting the girls back in school was not as easy as we had hoped. We fought hard and God opened the doors that needed to open. We secured the paperwork we needed and our girls walked into classrooms in September 2016, after many years of being out of school. It was a tough transition for our girls, one filled with many challenges. However, they persevered and pushed forward.
In January 2017, tutoring began for our girls, and we saw an immediate difference. The girls were truly grateful for the opportunity to be tutored. Each girl gets three sessions of one-on-one tutoring each week. It is because of our wonderful education sponsors that we were able to make tutoring possible. We can’t say thank you enough for your partnership in this effort. You are tangibly making a difference in the lives of our amazing girls.
Suzanne and I had the privilege to be there in March 2017 when their first semester’s grades came in, and let me just say, we did a Happy Dance! We are proud to say that all our girls placed very well in their classes and we even had one girl place in the top five. Wow!
As I sat on the bed one morning in March, just chatting away with one of our girls, a conversation I will never forget ensued.
I said, “You know how proud we are of you. You have worked so hard in school and now your hard work is paying off. If you keep excelling in school and pushing forward, even when it gets hard, your future is wide open. You could go to University and get a degree that could help you fulfill your dream of becoming a photographer. You could even own your own photography business and get a degree that would help with that.”
She looked at me and with hope in her eyes, she began to see a future she had always believed was not available to her. She saw herself not as an orphan, but as a person, one who was loved and could do anything if given a little help to get there.
Founder and Executive Director