Our work in Ethiopia addresses three critical barriers: poor education, poor housing, and family instability. Wegene has a grass-root approach of supporting hardworking destitute families by providing assistance in their own homes and surroundings without uprooting them from their already existing network of community support. We use an innovative and integrated approach where designated local volunteer caretakers are assigned to each family.
Wegene caretakers are liaisons between the sponsored families and our American supporters and volunteers. The caretakers play a key role of making sure our mission is fully executed. The caretakers also follow-up on the families to ensure they have a positive living environment, and that all other basic needs of the families are met correctly. These caretakers not only understand the cultural and social context, but also live in the same communities as our sponsored families. The overall success of our foundation is primarily reflected in the long-term successes of the families and children that it supports. This is why our approach is holistic and longitudinal.
Here are a few of our ongoing projects that address poor education.
- Academic scholarships: WEF sponsors multiple scholarships per academic year. Candidates are identified by need, merit, and potential for success, with renewable yearly scholarships available. Funds raised will go towards local school partnerships, and our library & tutoring zone located in our Knowledge Center.
- Tutoring: Multiple tutors aid struggling students from elementary school to high school in their preparation of the national exam.
- Laptops: The benefit of laptop computers for education is immeasurable. Most of the schools our children attend have very few resources for modern education. Owning a laptop has become a critical tool for success for our high school and university level students. The math, science and language software programs that we provided along with the laptops have helped the students excel. Since these students are excelling academically, we are motivated more than ever to find individuals willing to sponsor the laptop for success initiative. We have a list of children who are on waiting list to receive a laptop – your donation will help expand their education.
- Knowledge Center: Our center was opened in April of 2016, and has desktop computers, books, school supplies, and more available for our sponsored students to succeed. It is used as a multipurpose space, hosting our tutor zone, library, career center, meeting area, and distribution center. It is a place where professional volunteers for both inside and outside of Ethiopia with different educational backgrounds provide sessions to our sponsored families and children (e.g.: medical professionals, life skill couches, counselors, artists, musicians, etc.). The Center provides college and job preparation services for university-bound students, unemployed and impoverished adults. In addition, we provide transportation from their homes to and from the Knowledge Center.
Here are a few of our ongoing projects that address poor housing.
- Relocation: Many of our sponsored families are housed in either mud or plastic homes. This fund will go towards either repairing these homes or a complete relocation for families.
- Basic necessities: Many of our sponsored families don’t have items such as food, water, dental hygiene products, soaps, deodorants, and more. Our local caretakers make sure to provide them with such things for their day-to-day needs.
- Clothing: We conduct annual clothing & gabi/blanket drives for individuals in the U.S. and Addis Ababa to donate their lightly used clothing for our sponsored families. In addition, we purchase any uniforms or special event clothing for them as well.
Here are a few of our ongoing projects that address family instability.
- Career development: We strive to create sustainable community growth and development by offering vocational and skill training opportunities to the sponsored family heads in hope of creating self-reliance in self-employment opportunities of the families and/or job placement.
- Small business grants: We provide family heads with seed money to get their small business ideas started. Some of these include basket weaving, dress making, gabi/blanket making, jewelry making, injera making, hair stylists, and more.
- Relocation: Some children and mothers are in socially toxic households, and we strive to place them in positive environments.
Look below to see the latest blog posts on our efforts!