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L3R 8G6

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A little paint and training provides hope for the future

Our Ethiopia sponsorship manager takes us to a children’s art exhibit

By Helina Mengistu, sponsorship manager, Ethiopia

I just had a fun Saturday morning with the kids in one of our program areas in Ethiopia.

There was excitement and buzz in the air at the office of the Alem Children Support Organization — one of our local partners — where children and our staff had gathered. Children were hanging paintings and putting final touches to artwork on the walls.

The group of 14 children — between the ages of 12 and 16 — each with an interest and aptitude for drawing, were given painting lessons, thanks to Christian Children’s Fund of Canada supporters.

After 11 weekends of classes, it was finally time to showcase their work. And, the exhibition radiated with bright canvas paintings. What was brighter though, were the faces of these hopeful young artists.

It was wonderful to see talented children explore their potential and evolve technically. It was even more wonderful to see the pride in their eyes when they showcased their first canvas paintings.

These children come from families who struggle daily for basic necessities. They barely have the materials or time to sit down and have fun painting. However, the past 11 weeks gave them the space, freedom and resources to explore their talents. It gave them a chance to discover if art is something they want to explore as a potential career.

The exhibition was so much fun; everyone involved was immersed in the blissful world portrayed by the aspiring artists who depicted landscapes, Ethiopians in traditional clothes, rural Ethiopian lifestyle, nature and more. For a while, it made me forget the poverty I face every day in the communities we work.

The paintings radiate hope and belief in a brighter future — it was contagious enough that I felt it, too.

I left feeling joy, love and hope, which reminded me why I do what I do. I’m hoping to see this project continue next year, feeding the souls of more children with a love for creative arts.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For nearly 60 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, supporters and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.