For almost two years our family has been donating monthly to an organization called Strong Families. A friend recommended this organization and it’s run through Christ Church in Mequon, Wis. She knew it to be a very reputable organization and the money donated actually goes to the women in the center.
Strong Families Care Center is a mission of Christ Church in Mequon, Wis. and operates under Strong Hearts Ethiopia. The center provides a safe, nurturing place for children during the day so their mothers can work to support their family. Opened September 14, 2013, Strong Families was almost immediately at full-capacity, with 40 young children in care from infant to age three. They are receiving proper nutrition, early childhood education, and basic healthcare and hygiene education. Social support, counseling, education, vocational training, parenting and life skills training are also being provided to their mothers. The center’s holistic approach to caring for children and their mothers will enable them to obtain the skills and opportunities necessary for a successful future and save them from a life on the streets.
The mothers in this program may not otherwise be able to provide for their children and run the risk of having to abandon them or release them to an orphanage. By providing care, mothers are able to generate income in order to provide for their children. The children are welcome at the center five days a week.
The mother we support is Serkalem. In March she was hit by a car and her knee was badly injured. She was not able to work for awhile and had no way of paying her monthly rent. But God was watching! Some other Strong Families mothers in Ethopia collected money for her and helped her pay for rent! These are families that can barely pay their own rent, but together, they collectively helped their fellow mother and sister in Christ!
Serkalem is doing the best she can and is doing a great job at providing and never giving up. The ground of their home is free of debris, covered in plastic. The walls are also made of plastic and there is a leak in the roof when it rains. Before rainy season begins, the center will provide a plastic tarp to hopefully help keep them dry. The Center helps with a piece of plastic for various reasons. One reason being that when the families move, they can take this with them. The other main reason is that if an “improvement” (in this case, fixing the roof) is done, then it would raise the value of the rented home, therefore the landlord would raise the rent. It is the most unjust system they are caught in, but this is how we can responsibly help our families out, until there are no longer people out there to take advantage of the poor. The space they have in their home is not enough for 7 people to live, but it is what they can afford now. She is keeping their home clean and cooking items clean, which is so important in the accommodations they have. She has dreams that someday Rediet (daughter) can be a nurse, to help others.
Rediet is doing well at the center! She is such a happy little girl! The nurse reports that she has been healthy, with no treated illnesses in the past months and is growing at a steady pace. She has accomplished most of the 2-year-old milestone checklists that we use to measure each child’s progress. When asked, what is her favorite thing to do during the day, the caregivers responded that she likes “playing with the group of kids” the best. A little social butterfly in the making. She is a great addition to her class and she brings much joy to everybody.
What can you give?
If you have been thinking of supporting a family in Africa and don’t know what organization to start with, I encourage you to look into Strong Families. We get a few updates a year and I know that the money we give is truly helping a woman and her children. I also think it’s really important to set a good Christian example to MY kids and show them that you give everything you are able to to help those less fortunate than yourself. You can read up on my Entitled Kids post here. I read to them the updates on our family and make sure my kids understand the drastic difference in living environment they have. I know my kids still don’t fully see the whole picture but it’s a start. A start at raising them to be kind and compassionate humans.