Our Mission

We empower orphans, vulnerable children, and their families to end generational poverty.

About Us

Over several years and multiple short-term mission trips to Ethiopia, our co-founders Cindy Douglass and Suzanne Ward worked in orphanages in the capital city of Addis Ababa. As their hearts grew for the people of Ethiopia, they learned that there are over 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia. 70 percent of these children have been orphaned as a result of poverty.

Through relationships with local leaders and learning more about sustainable solutions to extreme poverty, a vision for multi-faceted programs was born, with a desire to come alongside orphaned and vulnerable children and families to see them move from a place of merely surviving to a place of thriving. Keeping families together became the heartbeat of Addis Jemari.

In May of 2016, Addis Jemari was officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Raleigh, NC, with the mission to empower orphans, vulnerable children, and their families to end generational poverty.

Addis Jemari means “New Beginnings” in Amharic — the official language of Ethiopia. We now work every day to empower the most vulnerable people in the communities we serve to have a fresh start at a new life of hope and self-reliance. Every aspect of our work finds its roots in our belief that every family in Ethiopia has the right to thrive spiritually, socially, educationally, and economically.

Our primary focus is on education, economic empowerment, discipleship, and social support. At AJ Home, we strive to create a true family for once orphaned and vulnerable teenage girls. Through our Family Empowerment Program, we work to keep families together through sustainable solutions, including life skills training and income generation opportunities. Currently, we are serving more than 200 children, mothers, and fathers through our holistic approach.

“We love because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

Core Values


We serve each other with awareness, kindness, support, and shared humanity.


We see each other’s common humanity, believing that every human being has inherent worth and value.


We are in this work together, and we seek to create a sense of belonging for everyone we serve.


We believe personal growth is a lifelong process and is fundamental to human flourishing.


Our work is rooted and grounded in God’s love for us, which motivates us to love and serve others.


We are committed to serving wholeheartedly and boldly, regardless of the circumstances.

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