Vision

To create lasting solutions and foster transformation in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia, thus breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

Mission

Addis Jemari fights to end the orphan crisis in Ethiopia by encouraging, educating and empowering orphaned and vulnerable children and their families. Our five core values are: education, discipleship, financial literacy, life skills, and community involvement. These values will help transform the lives of children and families we serve. We strive to create sustainable solutions and share the love of God.

Values

We value unconditional love, compassion, authenticity, transparency, fighting against injustice, meeting the needs of the poor, and dignity for all. In order to meet the needs of the children and families we serve, we instill our five core values (education, discipleship, financial literacy, life skills and community involvement) in all of our programs and outreach.

Bible Verse

Addis Jemari’s guiding Bible verse is: “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Values
  • Bible Verse

Vision

To create lasting solutions and foster transformation in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia, thus breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

Mission

Addis Jemari fights to end the orphan crisis in Ethiopia by encouraging, educating and empowering orphaned and vulnerable children and their families. Our five core values are: education, discipleship, financial literacy, life skills, and community involvement. These values will help transform the lives of children and families we serve. We strive to create sustainable solutions and share the love of God.

Values

We value unconditional love, compassion, authenticity, transparency, fighting against injustice, meeting the needs of the poor, and dignity for all. In order to meet the needs of the children and families we serve, we instill our five core values (education, discipleship, financial literacy, life skills and community involvement) in all of our programs and outreach.

Bible Verse

Addis Jemari’s guiding Bible verse is: “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Addis Jemari History
Addis Jemari History

During multiple mission trips to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, co-founders Cindy Douglass and Suzanne Ward met some amazing teenage girls who were barely making it from day-to-day. These girls had no family unit to speak of and had spent much of their lives in orphanages.

Through a journey of discovery, Cindy and Suzanne learned that there are millions of children and families fighting every day to survive, constantly beaten down by life and its hardships.

According to UNICEF, there are 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia. The leading causes of orphaned children are HIV AIDS, untreated illnesses, famine, drought and war. In Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa alone, more than 30 percent of teenage girls are not living with a parent. These girls are vulnerable to exploitation or abuse, and typically have no legal or societal support.

Cindy and Suzanne began to dream. They cried out to God and said, “This can’t be okay. What can we do to give these girls, these people, these families, a new start in their lives?” They wanted to provide new beginnings for these girls and these families. That’s how Addis Jemari (Amharic for “New Beginnings”) came to be.

After much prayer, Addis Jemari, (a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization) was founded on May 11, 2016. Cindy and Suzanne developed a multi-faceted program to help these orphaned and vulnerable children. It is their belief that, by engaging local leaders and entities, and by creating an environment of love, support and discipleship, these children and their families can be educated, discipled, learn life skills, and be taught self-worth.

Addis Jemari Programs
Addis Jemari Programs

Addis Jemari Home

In August of 2016, the Addis Jemari (“AJ”) home opened its doors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The AJ home strives above all things to create a true family for once orphaned and vulnerable teenage girls. Through an amazing Ethiopian staff, AJ’s goal is to Encourage, Educate and Empower the girls living in our home. Our Ethiopian staff provides not only for the physical needs of our girls, but also seeks to provide for their spiritual and emotional needs. To meet these needs, we instill our five core values to move our AJ Girls from a place of merely surviving to thriving.

Addis Jemari Family Empowerment

We believe that economic problems are one of the major causes for family breakdown. Children and youth living in destitute families are the most affected in the process. As a result, this program aims to help alleviate this complex and multi-dimensional problem of family destitution, which leads to child vulnerability and abuse. Through our Family Empowerment Program, AJ will work directly with families living in impoverished conditions, who are struggling to fulfill daily needs. We will focus on supporting families economically, emotionally, and spiritually, with the goal of keeping the family unit together. We believe this is a real and tangible way to change generational poverty and will make a true difference in the lives of the families we serve. Our five core values will be shared with each family while we love and build relationships with them. We will offer nutritional support, monthly financial support, medical assistance, life skills training, financial literacy training, counseling services, discipleship opportunities, and educational support.By offering a program that encourages, educates and empowers families to stay together as a unit, it is our prayer that we will work towards preventing family disintegration.

  • Addis Jemari Home
  • Addis Jemari Family Empowerment
Addis Jemari Home

In August of 2016, the Addis Jemari (“AJ”) home opened its doors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The AJ home strives above all things to create a true family for once orphaned and vulnerable teenage girls. Through an amazing Ethiopian staff, AJ’s goal is to Encourage, Educate and Empower the girls living in our home. Our Ethiopian staff provides not only for the physical needs of our girls, but also seeks to provide for their spiritual and emotional needs. To meet these needs, we instill our five core values to move our AJ Girls from a place of merely surviving to thriving.

Addis Jemari Family Empowerment

We believe that economic problems are one of the major causes for family breakdown. Children and youth living in destitute families are the most affected in the process. As a result, this program aims to help alleviate this complex and multi-dimensional problem of family destitution, which leads to child vulnerability and abuse. Through our Family Empowerment Program, AJ will work directly with families living in impoverished conditions, who are struggling to fulfill daily needs. We will focus on supporting families economically, emotionally, and spiritually, with the goal of keeping the family unit together. We believe this is a real and tangible way to change generational poverty and will make a true difference in the lives of the families we serve. Our five core values will be shared with each family while we love and build relationships with them. We will offer nutritional support, monthly financial support, medical assistance, life skills training, financial literacy training, counseling services, discipleship opportunities, and educational support.By offering a program that encourages, educates and empowers families to stay together as a unit, it is our prayer that we will work towards preventing family disintegration.

Addis Jemari 5 Core Values
Addis Jemari

5 Core Values

We believe in the value of education. Statistics show, if you educate a girl, she will change the world! According to the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, educated girls prevent child marriage, narrow pay gap between men and women, and help women support their families. We fight to get the children in our programs, some who have been out of the classroom for years, back in school. We give them the tools they need, such as weekly tutoring sessions and resources to attend school, such as uniforms, school supplies, and textbooks, to encourage their academic success and get them the education they deserve.

Teaching life skills will help our beneficiaries succeed in all aspects of their life. We teach our AJ Girls how to cook traditional Ethiopian food and prepare coffee in a cultural way. They also learn about their health, hygiene, time management, and other important life skills that will help them be self-sufficient when they graduate from our program. Our FEP families will also learn life skills to help them improve their home and family life. A major focus on life skills with our FEP beneficiaries is on learning about and training for income generation opportunities that will make our FEP families self-sustainable in the future.

Discipleship is vital at AJ. We believe that in order to empower the children and families we serve, it starts here. We understand the value in allowing each of our beneficiaries to understand that they are important, that they were created with purpose and in God’s image, and that they have much to offer their community and the world.

Our AJ girls and AJ staff participate in a weekly Bible Study. They study regularly from a book in the Bible, which is taught by our discipleship leader. Our FEP beneficiaries will be offered many discipleship opportunities and our AJ staff and AJ mission teams will build relationships with the families, sharing with them the love of Jesus in a real, intentional and relational way.

Scriptures says that no matter one’s religion, studying God’s word will never come back void. (Isaiah 55:11.) We point the children and the families we serve to the One who loves them more than anyone, to the One who will never leave them or forsake them, Jesus Christ Our Lord, as He gives eternal life in Heaven.

Financial literacy curriculum, based on Biblical principles and specifically created for Addis Jemari, is taught both in the AJ Home and to the FEP families. The AJ Girls receive monthly allowances, a percentage of which they are required to save in a personal savings account. We teach our girls to budget for “wants versus needs.” We instill the importance of saving more than spending, so our girls will be self-sufficient in the future. The same will be done to our FEP families. They receive a monthly stipend, as well as extensive training on budget, finances and most importantly values and goal setting as it pertains to striving for a sustainable future.

From volunteering in a local feeding center, to delivering supplies to widowed and women with HIV, we feel it is imperative for our AJ girls to serve others. While serving those in need, our girls not only impact the lives of others, but develop as leaders in their community. As our Family Empowerment Families graduate from our program, we will plug them in to their local community, engaging them with other FEP families as a way to serve and to impart the knowledge they learned through their life skills and financial literacy training.

Addis Jemari Founders
Addis Jemari Founders

Cindy Douglass, Founder and Executive Director

Suzanne Shoaf Ward, Founder and Chief Operating Officer

Addis Jemari Staff
Addis Jemari Staff

Semere Fekadu, Program Director, Addis Ababa

Sophia Chanyalew Kassa, Program Specialist, Raleigh, NC

Ashley Henderson, Community Outreach and Retail Coordinator

Laura Kilcrease, Social Media Coordinator, Raleigh, NC

Leila Shikur, Family Empowerment Program Coordinator, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Temesgen Zemene (Ababa), Guard, Addis Ababa

Elsabet Tulu (Elsa), Housemother, Addis Ababa

Kuribachew Esayas (Kuri), Housemother, Addis Ababa

Meseret Tamene (Messi), House Cook, Addis Ababa

Addis Jemari Board of Directors
Addis Jemari

Board of Directors

Tara Owens Shuler, Board President

Emil LaCivita, Board Secretary

Clark Rinehart, Board Member

Karen Latta, Board Member

Michael Resar (Mikey), Board Member

Karen Timmeny, Board Member & Finance Chair

AJ Ethiopia Board of Directors
AJ Ethiopia

Board of Directors

Jilalo Chebsa, Chairperson

Fekadu Fereje, Vice Chair

Aboneh W/Mariam, Board Secretary

Worku Gebre, Board Member

Yisahak Desalegn, Board Member

Addis Jemari Partners
Addis Jemari Partners