I’ll never forget the first time I met them. They were smiling, giggling to one another about my accent, touching my clothes and hair. They wanted me to take their picture, to sing songs with them, to hold them. I can still feel their little hands inside of mine as we walked down the streets together, both of us beaming with pride to be seen with each other. These are the children of Kore, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian bow smiling at cameraWhile their smiles warm my heart to its core, the realities that many of these children face on a daily basis are incredibly hard. Many have lost one or both parents due to extreme levels of poverty and illness, including the AIDS epidemic. They are affected by malnutrition, have reduced access to education and healthcare, are forced into child labor, and are often homeless. But, there is hope.

I Pour Life is excited to announce the launch of our Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Care (OVC) in Kore, Ethiopia in January 2018. As a response to the growing orphaned and vulnerable children crisis in Ethiopia, we are implementing a new arm of our Kore Community Development to reduce the vulnerability of children in Kore by providing support and resources that will allow these children to thrive.

During the day, these amazing kids will come to the I Pour Life compound in Kore and receive educational and medical support, clothing, and, most of all, love and encouragement from our staff that will help them grow not just physically, but also emotionally and socially. If they’re of school age, we’ll help make sure they are prepared for school and have everything they need to succeed.

We are not starting another orphanage. In fact, the Ethiopian government has forbidden new orphanages. Instead, we are creating ways for children to stay with an extended relative or guardian who loves them but who may need help providing for them due to extreme levels of poverty. Our approach focuses on reducing the number of children given up for adoption or living on the streets by providing daily support to relatives of young children in Kore with the goal of helping keep families together. Children will go home to be with their families at night and grow up knowing they are loved and valued within their own families and community.

As well, we’re going to extend employment opportunities to the families of these children by opening up our Global Women’s Empowerment Program to women living in households caring for an orphaned or vulnerable child in the Kore Community where there is no income coming into the home. This creates sustainability and independence for families of OVC so they can lift themselves out of poverty, not relying on our long-term support to survive.

We will launch our OVC program in early 2018 and want you to be a part of this launch. Would you consider giving monthly to help sustain our Orphan Care program and ensure these children grow up with loving, supportive family? Whether it be $5, $15, or $50 per month, every contribution will go to ensure these children’s needs are met daily and that we have the best team surrounding them to help them grow and thrive.

I Pour Life member holding hands with two Ethiopian girlsAs well, we would love to have your support and prayers for this program. You can become a big part of these kids? lives just by using your voice to talk about them, raising awareness about this important cause. Share this post on social media today and start conversations with friends and family members about how you can come alongside us to support children in Kore, whether it be through financial giving or prayer.

We’ll be sharing more pictures and stories as we launch the OVC program, so please be sure you’re following us on social media and download the I Pour Life app to get all the latest news. Thank you for your support and love of our kids in Kore! We can’t wait for you to meet them all.

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