Friday, March 22, 2013

Four Years of Darkness

Can you imagine being in the dark for the fist four years of your life?

That is exactly how Yesuneh Aserat spent his first years.
Yesuneh may have been born with a learning disorder and his uneducated mother did not know how, or want to deal with it so she left him in their one room dwelling, which has no electricity, plumbing or windows. Being malnourished herself, she had little to offer in the way of nourishment to any of her children. She did not take him with her outside so he literally was left alone in the dark by himself until the age of four. That is when he came to Fresh and Green Academy.

Unfortunately, Yesuneh’s story is not that unique. There are millions of children in Ethiopia who are malnourished, abused, homeless and unloved by anyone other than God. This is why Muday has answered her calling turn her school into a haven for these children and I have found my calling to help her. Muday Mitiku started Fresh and Green Academy in 2000 as a private kindergarten but soon turned it into free school for some of Addis Ababa’s poorest children.

On a volunteer trip in 2008, I fell in love with the children, their families, Ethiopia, and Muday so I founded Friends of Fresh and Green Academy Inc. In those five years the school has grown to serve 140 children age 3 to fifth grade and provide three meals a day. We also help their mothers through the promotion and sales of their hand crafts made at the school.

But back to our story. Because of Muday’s generosity, people in the community are seeking her out for help and are constantly trying to enroll their students in the Academy. (If we took in every student who’s family asked, and was qualified, we would have thousands of students by now.) While we would love to admit every student that approached the school, we just don’t have the funding. (We are  a small grassroots organization that provides all the funding for the school.) Muday usually has her staff tell the destitute families who come by, that she is not in and there is no room. Her heart breaks every time she turns someone away, but the day Yesuneh’s aunt brought him in, and she heard the story from her office, she could not turn her back on him.

So now we have the added expense of a full time nurse/therapist, diapers and the extra food he needs to bring him back from what the neglect has done to him.
He does not see although he has been to doctors who say that physically, there is nothing wrong with his sight, it is a mental problem.
He is learning to walk but his muscles have atrophied, so this is not an easy task either.
We now have an added $300 month expense on top of the $4,000 we already must raise each month to feed the 140 children three meals a day and run the school.

The great thing is, he now receives love and attention that is priceless.