SRF’s Ken Helvey, in partnership with Adam’s Thermal Foundation recently traveled to Ethiopia to work with the children of the Hosanna and Ottoro Schools, located in central Ethiopia. These children lack basic access to food and water in their schools, preventing them from attending a full day education program. Many of the children in Ethiopia attend the non-profit-funded schools, such as the Ottoro School, as access to government education is often limited to the healthiest of the children.
Prior to his travel, Ken worked with the Foundation to raise money from friends/families in the United States to purchase a truck to provide children at the Ottoro School access to food and water, promoting full day education. It was essential to have a vehicle that could navigate the roads that in many areas were washed out and non-existent.
Once in Ethiopia, Ken and his peers started their mission in Hosanna, where they stocked up on supplies and traveled the rugged terrain to Ottoro. In addition to providing these children with nourishment, Ken and his group provided basic repairs to the classrooms, and spent time connecting and bonding with the children, many who live in extreme conditions.
Ken’s work stretched further into this struggling community by supporting Ottoro’s Self-Help Group. Self-Help Groups empower women in the community to learn a trade. Collectively, the group joins together and decides how to spend their money; whether it is investing in someone’s business or financially helping another member’s family. For this trip, Ken’s group raised money to provide looms and supplies to the group. The women in the community will weave scarves and other goods that can be sold at market. The looms and supplies allow them to produce and sell more good, thus growing their business and opportunities.
Although there is much to be done in these schools and communities, the people are wonderful and joyful. It has been a great opportunity to help and see the support provided by the Foundation in action in Ethiopia, making a difference in the daily lives of the poorest of the poor. The foundation is also raising money for a computer lab and a science lab for the school. The community in Ottoro is also working on developing a sustainable water source, so that water does not need to be transported manually by people or animals. For more information about the work that Adam’s Thermal Foundation does in Ethiopia, see their website at www.adamsthermalfoundation.org.