Strong Families Care Center
What is Strong Families?
It is an orphan prevention program. We want to keep families together. We are serving the poorest of the poor families that are in a critical stage in their lives. Every story will be different. But often women come to this area of Addis with the hopes of a better life. Maybe they are sick and they are seeking medical treatment. Maybe they think moving to Addis will give them better prospects for employment. But often women come from the countryside to Addis in hopes of something better. Maybe they will come with their husband, or perhaps they have already lost or been abandoned by their husband. The point is, they are here, with a child, or several children, often time with little education or skills to support their families. So this is where we would are able to step in and help.
The families coming into our program receive that safety guard that is so desperately needed. You see, if you are a woman with a baby here and something goes wrong, like they have a bad day of begging on the streets, the mother gets sick, the child gets sick, rent goes up…there is no “emergency fund” to pull from. There are no food pantries, shelters, etc readily available or even in existence, that the western world is accustom. They are put in that position of making choices that no mother should have to make. Do I take my child somewhere else (like an orphanage) or do I let him/her go without medical care, or food, or shelter? These are choices that no one should have to make.
We are building relationships with these families. It takes time to earn their trust, to show them with our love for them, that God truly loves and cares for them. They drop their child(ren) off at our center in the morning and pick them back up in the late afternoon. Similar to a daycare center anywhere. This frees the mother to go out and get a job, without having a baby on her back, or finding a safe place for their child to be while working. Most are able to find work on their own, since they are now available to work during the day. There are some that we will help develop skills, resources or opportunities for employment.
The children get breakfast, lunch and morning and afternoon snacks. The children are assessed for proper growth deelopment and likely malnutrition issues common with the severe poverty they are being raised. The parents of the children are learning about nutrition, childcare and healthy choices for themselves and their children. Some food supplements will be given to each family on a monthly basis, as well as clothing and shoes to the child. Medical care is also provided as needed, for the child and/or the parent. While each child will be going home each night with their family, the way it should be, these families will know that they have somebody fighting in their corner. Even though we will be providing care during the day for babies up to 4 years old, we will also other older children in the family that may need help with school related fees. We have mostly single/widowed mothers, but also some grandmas, married couples and one father, raising children, as well. Again, every unique story will unfold, and we will be able to play a small, but vital part in their lives. It is so very important that they have choices. They know that somebody love and cares for them. We hope that you will be a part of this opportunity to make a difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it $140 per family, per month?
The amount of $140 per family (broken into 4 slots of $35 for people to donate) is the amount of the day to day running costs of the center. Our yearly budget divided by the number of families is how we come up with this figure. This covers the cost of the staff salaries, rent, utilities, food, medical and various supportive services that we provide to each family, based on their specific needs.
How much of my donation is used for administrative versus actual costs?
100% of your donation is used for the running costs of the center. The administrative costs are absorbed by Christ Church.
What does Christ Church have to do with Strong Families Care Center?
Christ Church in Mequon, WI has generously raised the start-up funds for the center to begin operations in 2013. This is also the sending church for the Sullivan family missionaries that are on the ground in Ethiopia, helping to set up the center’s operations. Christ Church supports the family’s living expenses in Ethiopia, separate from your donations towards the center. Your sponsorship, or one-time dollars go directly to the project in Ethiopia.
Your donation is made to Christ Church in the USA and then the funds are transferred every quarter to the local NGO, Strong Hearts Development, that the center operates under.
Why and who are Strong Hearts?
Please read about Strong Hearts here. We are privileged to be one of several programs under this local NGO. The year before we opened our doors, the Strong Hearts board had a vision that a center, like the one we now have, was in their future. We then partnered with one another to begin this care center. It is important for operations of an Ethiopian ministry serving Ethiopian people, needs to stay local. They know best what their community needs are, and we (foreigners) are here to support those efforts at a time of critical need. We also believe that united in Christ, this is a team effort and each person has ideas to help the bigger goal of changing hearts from the inside out.
Will I get updates on the family I sponsor?
Yes! Upon your sponsorship commitment, you will receive confirmation of this, along with a recent picture of your child. You will also receive updates about your family at least 2x a year. In this update, you will hear what progress they are making, struggles, or anything we are doing in getting to know the family better and learning what we can do to best support them in their circumstances.
Can I send a little gift to my family?
We encourage you to send letters, cards or share a family picture with your sponsored family. We will translate the letter for the families. We are not able to pass along gifts since this has the strong possibility of creating unhealthy competition between families. We always appreciate the generosity of clothes, toys, etc. and know that this will directly impact the families we serve.
Will I be able to visit the family if I come to Ethiopia?
We would love to have you meet your family in person. The family’s schedules may be difficult to navigate but as long as you are flexible, we will do our best to have you visit! Of course we ask that you be mindful that they are families that we are helping keep intact, just like your family in your home country. We do not emphasize our sponsors as being “heroes” to them, but thankful for this special person(s) in their lives that are here to support them.
Can I visit the center if I am in Ethiopia with others?
We encourage for anybody to come (on their own or with a team) visit and tour our center. We would love for you to see what we are doing! Please email Bridget at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0912659128 locally to schedule a time and date. We are always looking to expand our supporters and believe the best way to do this is having you see and talk with us in person.
Can I contact somebody to ask questions about the center or the family I sponsor?
Absolutely! Please feel free to email Bridget at: email@example.com or through our contact button here. She is happy to share anything and everything about your sponsored family and/or the center in general. She will answer your questions to the best of her ability and find out answers if she doesn’t have them immediately. She loves to share anything she knows with you!