GFI’s Betasab Project—a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit in the USA and a locally registered charity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—is a collaborative, international NGO (non-governmental organization). The Betasab Project provides marginalized and vulnerable Ethiopian women and children with the means to a secure future through a holistic community building approach, halting the cycle of poverty and lack of education by empowering women and children with infrastructure, resources, and educational opportunities. The Betasab Project serves the Nifas Silk Lafto sub-city and has an overall annual operating budget of roughly $108,000. In our work to address the needs of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) and marginalized women, there are three central components of the Betasab Project:
- The Origins Homes Program
- Learning Lions Scholars Program
- SHEBA Women’s Empowerment Program
The Origins Homes Program is the core of the Betasab Project. We provide permanent family homes for 20 orphaned and abandoned children, with the child care coming from 2 full time staff positions, a mother and an auntie, for each house. A structured family gives children love and support, and often serves as the nucleus of a society. The Origins Homes Program provides these former orphans with the support they need for success. Mothers and Aunties serve as role models, while fellow children foster an environment of shared excitement for learning and group accomplishments. Through the family model, GFI seeks to provide stability and love for children who would otherwise miss out on knowing what being part of a supportive family means.
Families aren’t too large nor are they spread too far apart, and there’s a weekly Betasab family meeting where both families, along with our wonderful social worker, Selam get together. This engenders the feeling of connection and community. Volunteers join in the meetings when they’re in Ethiopia, furthering the sense of a larger, global family that cares for these children. Betasab children have access to high-quality education and health care, as well as a small personal savings account, into which we deposit regularly each year so that they will have a small nest egg when they leave home. During their time in our Origins Homes, these children will learn the value of money management and budgeting. Then, when they leave the Origins Homes to begin college or a first job, they’ll have a small cushion on top of which they can build. Even after they leave home, we see them as Betasab kids, part of a family that watches out for them. We do this because children without support networks tend to fall through the cracks of the system.
What We've Achieved In our origins homes
- 5 straight years (since our inception) of 100% grade promotion for our Origins Homes children.
- One of our children, Solomon, has won first or second place, not only in his class, but in the entire school, for 2 years running.
- Each year, at least 30% of our children maintain an A average; 5 of them have maintained an A average for 4 years running. And 3 received awards for being in the top 3 students in their class.
- Betasab children receive consistently positive reports from our social worker regarding their adjustment and mental health.
- Kaleab, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the spine, completed the course of medicine to eradicate the tuberculosis, and had life changing--and life saving--spinal surgery in January 2017. He’s recovering beautifully.
- The organization gets high marks in annual evaluations by the Ethiopian government.