CCFC’s CEO shares highlights from visiting a community supported by major donors
By Mark Lukowski
There is so much to say about the generosity of an unassuming Canadian couple from Lindsay Ont. who are helping transform an Ethiopian community. Last week I visited Horakadho, Ethiopia, the community Brian and Bernice O’Neill’s donation is transforming.
Bees were on display at our first stop. The beekeeper can potentially realize a 10-percent increase in average annual income from selling the honey. He was one of 10 people in the community provided with training, beehives and accessories. Unfortunately, with the current water shortage, the honey crop has been below expectations — healthy flowers are needed for the bees to pollinate — but there is hope for future gains.
Women on a mission
Support groups take on new meaning in Horakadho. We met two groups of mothers who meet bi-weekly to discuss child-rearing and support each other with life’s challenges. But, there’s more: they deposit 5 birr ($0.33) at each meeting into a group savings account; the money is then loaned to members with interest. One woman confided her dream to borrow 100 birr ($6.60) to buy a goat one day.
Motorcycles make an impact
Back home at our Canadian head office, we’ve been excited about the delivery of motorcycle ambulances (pictured above) to rural communities, among others. So, it was special to witness the keys being transferred from the O’Neills to a community, serving 5,000 people. Every minute counts in an emergency, and this motorcycle transport will save so much time. What a gift.
Excitement about education
The sound of students singing with the enthusiasm only children can muster, greeted us on a visit to a new early childhood development centre. An estimated 150 to 200 children and parents gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony where we were blessed by local elders. The O’Neills were presented with traditional clothes, symbolizing their acceptance as members of the community. It was a humbling moment, and seeing two classrooms full of young children eager to learn was icing on the cake.
There was so much to process while visiting the Horakahdo community. I can’t cover it all at this time; but it was great to observe the transforming impact support from Canadian donors has had on the lives of a community in Ethiopia. I’m grateful to the O’Neills for their support, and I am looking forward to hearing how we will continue to steward their donation to maximize the effect on the community. Together, we’re making real progress!
To find out more about how to give a major gift to CCFC, visit ccfcanada.ca.
Photo by Philip Maher