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2014 Summer News! : Global Family Initiative

2014 Summer News!


Greetings GFI Friends and Family! Summer might be winding down but we’re still in full force! For many, summer is a time of warmth, spent with friends and family, and our kids would want us to mention that summer is also a time for freedom.
You’d likely get a different answer from each of our kids if you inquired about the best part of summer break, though I have a feeling Mikiyas (pictured left, our resident football fan) has an answer that relates to a certain internationally popular game played without hands. But most importantly for us, it’s a time to reflect on the brilliant achievements of our Betasab kids. So if you’ll permit the indulgence, we’d like to brag for a moment about their accomplishments.
Our kids have made enormous strides this past school year. To give you a sense, here’s some data from the report cards of our Origins children:

  • Two ranked #1 in their classes.
  • Nine ranked in the top five of their classes.
  • Five received straight A’s.
And more important than numbers is the culture of enthusiasm surrounding education that our staff and supporters have worked so hard to engender. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Solomon, one of our older boys.

Solomon the Wise

King Solomon was known for wisdom, but if King Solomon were still around, we’d tell him to watch his back – because there’s a new King in town.

Solomon has had a particularly outstanding year. After receiving high A’s across the board, he was named “King Student of the Year” for having the school’s highest average. The entire Betasab family shares in Solomon’s success, which inspires his brothers and sisters, classmates, and teachers alike. We hope you’re impressed by his hard work as well; we’re blown away by this young man.

Young Philanthropists at Work — 2nd Annual Bake Sale Raises $400

8th graders Nora Draper, Ada Anderson, Emily Laframboise, Grace Widelitz, and their helping hands, Lorraine Tobias, Theresa Anderson, Katie Isham, and Tracy Isham, put together a terrifically successful bake sale offering their hand-made cupcakes, cookies, and sweet and savory pastries at the 2014 Peasant Market in Middlebury, VT.

These friends of the program (pictured above, giving the proceeds to GFI’s co-founder, Claudia) took to the market on July 12 to help Betasab raise money for the second consecutive year, and at day’s end they’d raised almost $400 for GFI. This roughly doubled their earnings from last year. We’d like to thank them for their effort and enthusiasm!

Letter From Lafto

Here is a report from three friends who have now joined our ever-growing Betasab family. After visiting Addis Ababa for two weeks and volunteering their time and energy doing science projects and social work projects with Betasab, they had some reflections that we’d like to share with you. This is their letter:

Jean Baptiste Massieu once said, “gratitude is the memory of the heart.” After two weeks volunteering with Betasab, our hearts overflow in memories, in gratitude, in thanksgiving. We are overwhelmed by our time with this wonderful organization and know that while we attempt to put it into words, the true experience lives in our heart memories.We are Sara Woldt, Mark Siegel, and Kelsey Siegel, long time friends all hailing originally from Wisconsin. We have shared the common desire to volunteer abroad and heard about Betasab as it was developing. Sara went to high school with Eric Hoest, one of the original founders of Betasab. We became interested in volunteering with Betasab with our various backgrounds of education, family therapy, and engineering after hearing about the focus on community and creating family homes for children. From our first day volunteering and everyday after, we were welcomed with open arms and kisses by the children, mothers and aunties, and staff. We were treated to coffee ceremonies and delicious meals. We prepared hands on, science learning activities to share with the children. They seemed to love exploring and learning and are eager, bright children. We also created some therapy activities which focused on relaxation, guided imagery, and feeling identification as strategies to cope with trauma. We saw first hand the resilience the children have, and how everyone supports and loves each other. We are so impressed by the organization, from the respect the children showed, to the hospitality of the mothers and aunties, to the passion the staff have for their work. We truly feel lucky to have had the time to understand the organization on such a personal level. We are excited and committed to continuing to advocate for Betasab and the Global Family Initiative, with a gracious heart full of memories.-Sara Woldt, Mark Siegel, and Kelsey Siegel
(Photo Credits: Kelsey Siegel)

Betasab Focuses on Monitoring and Evaluation

One essential component of a successful program is understanding what works and what needs to be improved. To that end we’re benefiting from new data provided by our intern Adam Porter, a recent MPH graduate from Boston University. He spent the spring semester with us conducting extensive health, education, and development research in the community, updating earlier survey data and developing a robust monitoring and evaluation plan for our Learning Lions program.

The best news of all comes in the form of a confirmation: our kids are safe, eating well, and learning in school. And this fuels our commitment to build upon our model and expand our impact. Pictured on the left, one of our Learning Lions with her mother.

Thank you Adam!

One final note of thanks: to our wonderful intern, Priscilla Odinmah, thank you for all your hard work this summer. We wish you the best of luck in your final year at Middlebury College and hope you’ll remain a member of the extended GFI family!

Of course the end of the summer brings the start of the next school year. Imagine BACK-TO-SCHOOL times 45! Our kids need supplies, clothes, and tuition fees. Please consider helping us secure bright futures all around by providing our kids with an excellent education. If you’re able to give—and any amount helps—you can contribute to Betasab’s education fund by clicking on the button below.

We also have a number of children still in need of sponsorship—for more information on the Origins Sponsorship Program, click here, or to become a sponsor, click on the button below. We can’t express the depth of our thanks for your generosity; you sustain us.

Warm regards,

Nick RogersonCo-founder and Director
Claudia CooperCo-founder and Director


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