http://www.fovc.org/widows-hope.html. I recently began partnering with FOVC. I'll give you a little background and then tell you how you can help. Bare with me, it's easy reading :)
I have a BS in Agriculture Education and plant science. I work in conservation. I've travelled internationally to teach sustainable ag practices. Marriage and 2 biological kids later, we adopted a 2 year old boy and brought him home from Ethiopia in May 2010. Our drive through the country side opened my eyes to the need for conservation education and the basic un-met needs of the people on the streets. While there, we were able to meet our son's birth mother. She's an amazing woman who lost her husband to pneumonia and then made the courageous decision to give up her youngest child for adoption because they were literally starving.
Since coming home, I continue to think about the poverty-stricken families in rural Southern Ethiopia. Most of the families live on less than $1 per day (which would buy two bunches of bananas as a comparison). When left as widows, the situation often becomes desperate. This is part of the reason there were 2,227 Ethiopian children adopted by U.S. families in 2009. My desire to get involved in teaching them sustainable practices came to fruitition when I connected with FOVC.
In Ethiopia, too many children are living in extreme poverty in one parent homes. Because of abandonment, death from HIV/AIDS, malaria or other preventable diseases, mothers are raising their children alone. They are trying to keep the family together but most do not have education or skills to provide properly for their family. Partnership with FOVC helps these women provide for their children and keep them from becoming orphans. In addition to FOVC's other areas of service, they have a specific program called Hope for Widows. I can't fathom the heart ache of relinquishing a child. Judah's birth mom had to do that and is missing out on his dimples, his energy and his good behavior. I don't want her, or women like her, to have to go through that painful decision of relinquishing another child. Because of my education, career, international experience, and interest, I have been asked by FOVC to head up their crops portion of the Hope for Widows Project. As of March 2011, this is the only part of the project they have not been able to get off the ground.
When normal agricultural cycles are disrupted and sources of crop seeds are gone, people struggle to survive at the most basic level. Sadly, this is all too often the case in rural southern Ethiopia. Thanks to some generous friends, by May 2011, we have raised enough funds to provide over 220 pounds of seeds— nourishing maize, teff, beans, potatoes and onions - growing food for FOVC's widows and all of their children for years to come. As with our other Widow's Hope programs, the women in the program will make small re-payments to the Crops for Widows fund, so more widows and their families can be helped in the future.
Now isn’t that a seed worth sowing?
In early June (2011), I will be in Ethiopia training 8 widows new to the FOVC program, along with 10 current farmers and 5 trainees who will go out and train in their villages within the Shanto area. Though I'm excited for all that this first trip will offer, there is much work to be done. I envision establishing this relationship and following up with the Crops for Widows program in late 2011.
Please, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, would like more information, etc. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time. That in itself is much appreciated as I work to plant seeds.
Eager and ready to serve,