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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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Last time you were here, you were looking to help vulnerable children and families. Your support can save and change lives.

A newly form youth group in Killarney Heights with passion for helping others set themselves a big task of making a difference to the lives of many children and youth in different countries.

The group of six members, Amy, Darcy, Emma, Elizabeth, Marnie and Rhiannon, from Baha’i Junior Youth Group put their heads together to come up with a different way to raise money. They decided a garage sale would be the way to go as everyone could get involved by collecting unloved items and also helping to man the garage sale.

In preparation for the sale on Sunday 8 August, the youth gathered books, clothing and household items from friends, family and neighbours so there was plenty for shoppers to buy. They also created posters so shoppers knew that every cent would be donated to ChildFund Australia to help support children who suffer from poverty.

The team set out to purchase a Buffalo, to improve farming techniques so Indonesian families can produce more food for their children. The target of $560 was thought to be quite ambitious but the group was hopeful they could achieve what they set out to do.
When sale day came around there was plenty on offer and as a result many shoppers dropping in to dig through the treasures that were on offer.

As the youth informed shoppers about their ambitious aim, they noticed shoppers leaving their change as a further donation towards the buffalo. This was a great surprise to the youth as the target was suddenly within reach!

At the end of the day the garage sale managed to raise $943 so the group decided to purchase a water buffalo, four goats, twelve fruit trees and ten baby chickens.

“Of course everyone was very excited and it took a while to choose our preferred items for donating. This was certainly a very rewarding and fun service.” Commented Roya, the youth group coordinator.

In our eye’s this fundraiser was a great success and the youth were able to get creative, without spending a cent. Together they managed to raise an incredible amount that will not only help children and their families but it will help entire community on their path to self-sufficiency and escaping poverty.

Having sponsored Bedlu for over 14 years, Jeremy and his brother Michael travelled from Australia to meet him in person. This is Jeremy’s story.

Myself and my brother Michael recently went to Ethiopia to visit my sponsored child Bedlu. We arrived at Debri Berhan at around 10am, where we were met by Terefe. Debri Berhan is 130kms north of Addis Ababa and is where Bedlu boards and attends school during the week (going home on weekends).

Our first stop was Debri Berhan Adventist School. The grounds of the school were quite bare, but all the students had a wave and a welcoming smile for us. At first I could not see Bedlu amongst the other students and only recognised him when he walked over to us with his Principal. He was initially quite shy and let his principal do most of the talking. New classrooms are currently being constructed with the assistance ChildFund, so I could see the impact my sponsorship was making to the community straight away.

We were invited to meet some of the students, and after some prompting from their teacher, the questions began to flow. Most wanted to know about life in Australia, the country itself and about the animals, especially kangaroos. After leaving the school, we headed to the North Shoa coordination office. Here we were met by Endale the project coordinator. Endale took us through the project’s history and outlined the many plans for the future. This was a surprisingly rewarding part of the day, to see my contributions being put to such good use and to see with my own eyes the passion and dedication the staff have for their work.

We then drove on to Bedlu’s village in Keyit, some 15kms from his school. I was overcome with how welcoming his family were, given their humble life. Bedlu’s grandmother welcomed us with hugs and blessings, as did the other family members. We immediately felt like part of the family. Spending around an hour with the family was very special, each learning a bit more about each other and enjoying a few laughs.

Unfortunately, our day had to come to an end around 3pm, and after driving back to Debri Berhan we said farewell to Bedlu. After 14 years of sponsoring Bedlu this was a hard moment to shake hands and say goodbye after just a few hours. I felt, however, that both of us know each other so much better because of this day and look forward to our next letters. To know that my sponsorship has assisted that cute little two-year-old with a Mohawk haircut and a tear on his cheek to grow into a polite and handsome young man facing a brighter and prosperous future was incredibly rewarding.

The following day we went to the National office in Addis Ababa to meet the staff. Genet and Alem showed us around and I saw what happens to the correspondence letters and other procedures within the office. We had the opportunity to meet the national director and other staff whom were all very welcoming. I commend them all on their great work. Going to Ethiopia and meeting Bedlu and his family has been one of the highlights of my life and something I would highly recommend to other sponsors.