Surgical Success Story - #193 & #194

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Gelanesh has suffered from third degree prolapse for three years and was very anxious and very grateful to have her surgery. She is married with six children. Thank you for helping this beautiful lady!

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Zenebech is a forty-year-old mom who lives with her husband and several of her children. She has had eight but only five are still living. She has had prolapse for a little over a year and now that issue has been repaired by Dr. Mark and Dr. Nate at Soddo Christian Hospital.

Surgical Success Stories - #189 to #192

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This is Galtore.  She is probably around 70 and had five children but only one has survived. She’s still married but, like a lot of women, her husband has another wife and does not live with her. She does see him once a week or so for coffee. She’s had prolapse for “at least 7 years” (Dr. Nate guesses that it’s been more than 10). She is still very spunky and brings a smile to everyone’s face that she talks to. She was so happy to have her surgery performed!

Aberash is 45 and was blessed with six children, all of whom are still alive. She’s actually still breastfeeding her youngest and lives with her husband and children. She’s had prolapse for about one year but it quickly became very severe. She is so grateful to be celebrating Ethiopian Christmas next week free of prolapse.

 

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This is Hana and she is 50 years old. She had seven children and six are still alive. She lives in the Gadalla area with her husband and has had prolapse for 1 year. Thank you to our donors for helping her!

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This is Zenbech who is 60 and had seven children, all of whom are alive. She lives with her husband as well as some of her children. She’s had prolapse for over a year and was so pleased to have surgery.

Surgical Success Stories - #185 to #188

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This is Balushe, a 57-year-old widow who is a mother of four. She has noticed her prolapse for one year and she was so happy to receive help from MWAHFE.

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This is Bugalech who think that she is 80 years old! She has had prolapse for three years. She has five children and LOTS of grandchildren!  She was healthy enough to have surgery and is so grateful.  

A note from Dr. Nate: “Bugalech was SO appreciative for her surgery!  After I would finish seeing her on rounds she would grab my hand and just start kissing it, showing her gratitude for what was done for her.  I tried to explain that this was not just me, but a team of people as well as a good God who had stepped out to help this sweet lady.  So thank you everyone!”

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Latome is 50 years old. She has had seven children but only three survived. She has suffered from her prolapse for six years and was so pleased to be able to be helped through your kind generosity. 

This is Marta Dache, a 36-year-old who has had prolapse for one year.  She delivered seven children and five are still alive.  She lives with her husband who is a farmer who grows corn and wheat. She was so pleased to be helped today and is grateful for everyone’s kindness and generosity.

Surgical Success Stories - #183 & #184

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This is Nehina. She is around 49 and she has suffered from her prolapse for seven years. She had nine children but only two are still alive. She is widowed. She was so grateful to have her surgery.

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This is Abebech. She is around 50 and has had her prolapse for 10 years. She is also widowed and has two living children after giving birth to three children. She is so happy to have her problem addressed. Thank you to all of our donors! 

 

Surgical Success Stories - #180, #181, #182

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Martane Narebo is a 52-year-old widow who has delivered nine children, seven of them are still living. She has had prolapse for four year and has now received her life-changing surgery because of your generosity.

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Ayetech Chemo is a 50-year-old mom who has delivered nine children, five of whom are still alive. She has had prolapse for three years and was very excited to have her surgery sponsored by MWAHFE.

 

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This is Belaynesh Worku, a 52-year-old widow and mother of eight. She has suffered from prolapse for seven years and is now has a new lease on life! Thank you!

After the running: A lasting investment with Girls Gotta Run

When Biruk Abraham goes back to school this year, she won’t be swinging her running shoes. After three years on an athletic scholarship, she's graduated from Girls Gotta Run.

So what comes next?

And can our investment make a lasting difference? 

When we chatted with Biruk and Yordanos Esayas, another student who is graduating from the program, they talked not only about how much the program enriched their lives, but also about the fear of losing that support.

Yordanos (left) and Biruk (right), two young women who graduated after three years in the Girls Gotta Run program.

Yordanos (left) and Biruk (right), two young women who graduated after three years in the Girls Gotta Run program.

Both girls want to continue with their education, and study social sciences in preparatory school (something similar to grade 11 and 12), but worry the costs will be prohibitive. They're sad to leave the safety net of Girls Gotta Run behind. And understandably, they're nervous about lining up the practical resources to follow their dreams.

"We are concerned it is the end of the program," Yordanos, who is 16, told us. She wants to be a politician and an artist and an actress when she is finished school (talk about a triple threat!), but remembers what a struggle it was for her family to afford school tuition before she was accepted into the Girls Gotta Run scholarship program. 

"They used to call out your name, because of not being able to pay (tuition). It was so shameful."

The Girls Gotta Run program uses running as a platform to teach self-confidence, life skills, and to help bridge young women through a vulnerable period in their lives, when many of their peers - just young teens - are dropping out of school to work or be married off. 

The athletic scholars receive school tuition and uniforms, running shoes and clothes, healthy meals and snacks, and the incredible camaraderie and bonding that comes with being part of a team.

There are so many wonderful ripple effects in this program. The girls teach their friends and younger siblings the lessons they learn, and their mothers are invited to participate in an entrepreneurial group where they begin a group savings plan and learn about financial literacy.

Yordanos told us that her favourite "life skills" lesson - those classes tackle everything from healthy relationships to hygiene - was the one that "penetrated her soul."

"I learned that women can do it, they can do anything - sometimes even go higher than the boys!"

What a testament to the power of the program.

Biruk was one of the first five girls that we sponsored in this program (now we fund 26 athletic scholarships through Girls Gotta Run!), and it's been incredible to see her progress. She wants to be a journalist when she's older. 

And after hearing from Biruk, Yordanos, and their parents about the struggle to put all their great skills and dreams into action once the athletic scholarship ends, our board has made a decision to extend our support.

We will now be financially supporting a handful of girls as they move on from Girls Gotta Run, by helping with some of the costs to attend prep school. Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia recognizes the value of education, and we want the incredible lessons and opportunities awakened by Girls Gotta Run to be the start of something great. We're hoping this additional support will allow girls with great potential and the desire to learn to continue on to higher levels of education.

These young women are the future of Ethiopia. We want to do all that we can to invest our donors' dollars in a way that tranforms lives. The goal is to create change agents who are motivated and inspired to make a difference for future generations just like them.

Thank you so much to all of our donors who make this sort of investment possible. 

We can't wait to see where Biruk and Yordanos end up in another three years!

 

The people behind the projects: Our coaches in Harar

We do the easy part.

That’s a lesson driven home every time we go to Ethiopia and see the hard work of our partners on the ground. We provide the funds. And that is an incredible opportunity – usually the key to making the work possible. But after the cheques are cashed and the transfers are done, there’s a whole team of people working to put those dollars into action.

We were awed by the dedication, compassion and humility of the four incredible soccer coaches that are leading our sponsored teams in Harar. We learned so much from Jemal, Gelaye, Kaza and Sarah.

Coaches Jemal, Gelaye, Kaza and Sarah (from left to right).

Coaches Jemal, Gelaye, Kaza and Sarah (from left to right).

And each coach had their own compelling story about the power of soccer. 

When Kaza was a kid, his father drove a taxi to support the family. But Kaza remembers his dad pulling to the side of the road when he caught sight of little ones playing soccer. He'd encourage those aspiring players, do a little impromptu coaching, and then get back on the road.

"I grew up in that family so I try to continue that support," Kaza told us. He does small jobs to support his family, but mostly he depends on the modest stipend Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia pays the four coaches. 

And that's why it was all the more meaningful when we heard what Kaza and others planned to do with that small salary.

"This will support us to stay in the field. We will spend that money to help kids attend training," Jemal said. He works as a teacher and sees the difference soccer has had on these young ladies. 

Jemal huddles with his team.

Jemal huddles with his team.

"Kids are like a blank sheet of paper. You put something on it and it absorbs. I saw them put into practice what I had told them," he said after the big tournament (our two sponsored teams faced off) when we visited Ethiopia in June.

The coaches don't hesitate to invest hours of their time into practices, games and drills, or even to sink their salaries into food and equipment for the players. They want to see these young women succeed – no matter what sacrifice it takes from their mentors.

We visited several families in very precarious situations. Two sisters that play on one of our teams live with their parents in a makeshift shelter under a truck. The coaches told us that they try to feed the kids in need, sometimes even inviting players' families over to their own homes for a meal. 

"Most of the kids on my team are from the poorest communities. Six players live on the street," Gelaye said. For many of the players, the chance to play soccer – and dream of making a club team or even playing on the national level – is also about the opportunity to make it out of poverty. 

Remember, these are girls who couldn't even dribble a ball when they started on our teams!

"They are focused at training, because they have goals. They have a dream, that they'll be able to survive this challenge and become good soccer players. These girls have a dream and a target," Sarah said. 

We love having Sarah and Gelaye – one female coach per team – helping to guide and inspire these girls, proving to them that women can be soccer experts, too. Sarah didn't have any brothers growing up, so her mom pushed her to play the sport. She became an impromptu coach in neighbourhood games, when younger kids would call her over saying 'help us.' 

She connected with coaching more than playing, and turned to that full-time after a few years.

Gelaye instructs her players from the sidelines.

Gelaye instructs her players from the sidelines.

The love between these coaches and their players was palpable, even when terse words were exchanged on the field. 

Sarah and Gelaye helped us purchase groceries to share with the families we visited for interviews. They were sensitive and compassionate and treated the families with such kindness. The trust in those relationships was so clear. 

And it was glaringly obvious to us that the coaches had been doing the same kind of work we hoped to do long before we showed up.

We asked what they're hoping to teach their players.

"We are the mothers of these kids, we are fathers of these kids," Sarah said. "When you come together all the time, you feel that unity and togetherness. Soccer in itself is love."

Meet Yabsera!

Do you remember Yabsera, the youngest member of our group home in Addis Ababa? You can learn a little bit more about the story behind our group home here, and see pictures of a young Yabsera.

But now Yabsera – the boys in the group home call him Yabi – is quite grown up! He's 12 and going into Grade 5. On our recent trip to Ethiopia, we sat down for a one-on-one interview to learn about his daily life and his favourite things to do.

And get this – the entire interview was in English! Yabi’s grasp on the language has improved so much since the last time we were in Ethiopia. In school, all subjects except Amharic (the national language) are taught in English.

Yabsera

Read on to find out a little more about Yabsera and what life is like for this 12-year-old boy in the capital city of Ethiopia.

Q: What do you study at school? What’s your favourite subject?

A: My favourite subject is math. I like adding. We also learn Amharic, science, English and math.

Q: Walk us through a day in your life.

A: First, I get up and I wash my face and I eat my food. I go to school by bus. I go to school and I play first. Next, we learn many subjects. In one day, we learn seven subjects.

Q: What do you like to do after school?

A: I study and play football.

Q: What are your favourite foods? What do you eat in an ordinary day?

A: I eat many foods. My favourite food is shiro (a traditional Ethiopian stew made with chickpea flour). [Editor’s note: We also heard from Yabi’s mom that he loves to eat homemade French fries, which in Ethiopia are called chips!] In the morning, I eat bread and honey, and I drink tea.

Q: What about buna (Ethiopian coffee)?

A: I don’t like buna.

Q: What do you like about life in the group home?

A: I am able to learn, and eat my food.

Q: What would you want to say to your Canadian sponsor or the donors back in Canada?

A: To my sponsor, I say thank you, because you are doing for me many things. Canada people, I love you very much.