Friday, August 24, 2012

~ Journeys ~

The little girl I'll never, ever forget
One of my FAVORITE parts of the trip to Ethiopia was seeing the Yezelalem Minch feeding program in action. I absolutely believe in giving to charitable organizations. Even as a teen, I was searching for a great organization that was making a difference in the life of others, somewhere that I could donate money and know that it would be put to good use. There are SO many places, so many needs, so many organizations, but this one absolutely left me speechless.
My first glimpse of the Addis feeding program
It was like being in heaven for a few minutes. People putting others first, feeding those who had nothing, giving them free medical care, and this is just one of several feeding sites across the city.
The boys rescued off of the streets, with Nesibu of Yezelalem Minch
In addition to feeding the hungry, they created a safe place for these boys who were living on the streets. They are providing housing, a loving environment and a great education so they can have a bright future. They also provide financial assistance for child-headed households so that the siblings could stay together in their home, find sponsors for families that wouldn't be able to afford sending their children to school and create work for women (like the feeding program) so they have a way to support their families.
Birtukan and Nesibu talk about the way that Yezelalem Minch got started and their hope for the future of Yezelalem Minch here. Truly two of the most amazing people that I've ever met. Their hearts are SO big.

It was surreal. And amazing. And the faces will be forever impressed in my mind. Especially the sweet little girl in the center of the first photograph. As I was leaving, I worked my way down the line, shaking the hand of every child and mother lined up along the wall on one side of the property where the feeding program was held. She was the next to the last child and wouldn't let go of my hand. She just stared at me with that intense, challenging gaze and squeezed my hand and smiled the entire time.
Feeding the hungry of Addis Ababa
It touched my heart in a way that I was not expecting and made a forever memory for me. After a few moments, I had tears running down my face and I knew that this was one of the reasons that I was on this journey to Ethiopia with my sister. An amazing cause that I could support with my business, a small way to help make the world a better place.
Pure happiness.
You can find out more about Yezelalem Minch here, here and here