It’s easy to get overwhelmed and depressed here. Everyday we are surrounded by poverty and despair. As we walk the streets the sick and crippled are everywhere. We see street kids washing themselves and their clothes in stagnant puddles where men have urinated during the night. These things aren’t confined to only a few places. You don’t have to seek them out. They are literally everywhere. It can be difficult to keep a positive outlook and to keep our spirits up. One of the things that helps the most is when we can see a real positive difference in the lives of one of the kids that we are working with. Edalawit is one of those kids that has lifted our spirits.
When Jon was here in January Edalawit was a complete “Rabash” (troublemaker). She seemed to have the worst behavior of any of the kids. Her behavior problems were a constant disruption during the weekly programs at the office. She was out of control and didn’t seem to have respect for anyone. It was her way or no way and she was ready to assert her will by force if necessary. She didn’t interact with the other kids well. If there was a toy, she wanted it and would fight to get it. Jon thought that she was a hopeless case.
Upon our return we found a very different Edalawit. Mike described her as an “angel” and Jon thought that he was joking. He wasn’t joking. The change in Edalawit is remarkable to say the least. She has gone from being one of the worst behaved kids to being on of the best. She visits us everyday at the Drop-in Center during her lunch break and then again after school. She acts shy now. She slinks up to us for hugs and kisses and whispers softly that she is doing fine when we ask. When she flashes that big, bright smile it will truly light up your heart. When she doesn’t get her way she no longer lashes out in aggression. She now seeks the intervention an adult, usually with the help of a few tears. This seems more like the normal behavior of a six or seven year old. She is quiet and respectful. She faithfully attends school everyday and seems to enjoy learning. We think that Mike was right. She really does seem to be our little angel.
There is a large brown mailing envelope that resides in the CHE office at the Drop-in Center. We’ve seen it’s contents countless times now. Often when Edalawit visits us after school she opens the envelope and excitedly shows us the pictures and letter that her sponsor family sent to her. She plays with the sheet of Scooby Doo stickers – sticking them all over herself and us. Then she carefully puts each sticker back in it’s place and returns the contents to the envelope. It seems like such a simple thing to us, but to Edalawit it means so much. To know that there is a family out there that is willing to send their love to her seems to be such an encouragement to her. Recently her sponsor sent a box which contained socks and toys specifically for Edalawit and additional toys for the rest of the children. Edalawit was so excited and eager to show and share her toys. She looked as though she was walking on air when she was allowed to take her colorful box full of socks and a Polly Pocket home with her.
To what do we owe this remarkable success story. Certainly many things have played a role. However, we believe that one of the biggest contributors to this change in Edalawit has been the faithful support, prayers, and encouragement that she has received from her sponsor family. The Forsaken Children Fund recently started a sponsorship program for the beneficiaries of CHE. Edalawit is one of the first and only children have a sponsor. The monthly support that her sponsor sends provides for her school fees, food, clothes, etc. Even though they are a world away Edalawit and this family have formed a bond that has changed her life. She now has the opportunity to break the dreadful cycle that she was once trapped in.
Many of the CHE kids still need sponsors. If you would like to start sponsoring one of these kids check out The Forsaken Children’s Fund’s new and improved website at www.theforsakenchildren.org or email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org