Buuuuuut, not yet. :)
First, I want to bring your attention to a wonderful organization that was started by a friend of a friend, Marcie (who I have met, so maybe she could be my friend, too!). When she was a teenager she visited Ethiopia and fell in love with the people and knew she had to help in some way.
And in some way she did! :)
If I have gotten the story correct, Marcie left her home of Naples, FL and moved to Ethiopia and began her new life caring for children, which quickly led to what is known today as Grace Center for Children and Families in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
Through a holistic approach, Grace Center works hard to "love and nurture impoverished and vulnerable children and women while striving to keep families together. Provide a safe and loving haven to children that have been abandoned and orphaned. Show the love of Christ to all who meet us."
Guh! How amazing, right??? First... Marcie and her story is so inspiring and incredible and I just want to stop what I am doing with everything and go there to help. Right now.
Grace Center seriously does SO MUCH for the people of Bahir Dar. In addition to the 24 children (ages 2 weeks to 13 years) that live at the home, here are some of the other amazing things going on:
- G.C. has reunited over 90 children to their birth families!
- Over 100 families have graduated from the programs and are now self sufficient!
- Through their Feeding Program, over 2,000 people are fed daily. A DAY!
- To help parents work, G.C. provides day care, after school care and tutoring.
- There is a special needs program for those children with disabilities.
- Medical care is provided to the community through Hope Memorial Medical Clinic.
One of the coolest things Grace Center is doing is reaching out to the children that are living in prison. Yes... you read that correctly.
|A mom and her child in the Bahir Dar prison.|
In Ethiopia, children often have to grow up in prison when their parent is sentenced. Grace Center is the first and only organization reaching out to the children growing up in prison in Bahir Dar. Grace provided a playground as well as sponsorship so that these children have uniforms and can attend school. Grace Center visits these children and takes them out to play at the playground every week.
What?? Can you imagine living your entire childhood in prison?? Never leaving the walls. Thinking your life wasn't worth anything. Gosh. It's so heartbreaking. Thank God for Grace Center. Thank God they are giving these children (and their moms) hope! Helping them to realize that there IS in fact more to life than just prison.
Each child that lives in the home, part of the after school program or gets food through the feeding program all have their own, unique story. Like this little boy:
|Living on the street|
|First day at Grace.|
I won't keep going on and on. You can find out more by checking on the website and on Facebook. You can also watch the many videos that gives a wonderful view into the lives of the Bahir Dar people and the life of Grace Center. I will share one with you here:
Thank you for taking the time to read about this amazing organization. All I ask is that you please pray and please spread of the word about Grace Center! Please pray for the children and families: for their health and safety. For Marcie and all of the people that work their tails off providing for the Bahir Dar community! And for those considering donating their time/money, they will choose Grace Center!
Hey, who knows... maybe one day I will be able to share of my experience in Bahir Dar, too! :) God willing.
All photos and stories are shared with permission from Grace Center Foundation.
To sponsor a child, click here.
To donate, click here.
For any questions, comments or inquiries about volunteering please visit the website or message Grace Center on Facebook.