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FAQ : Global Family Initiative


what is the crisis? why is GFI needed?

Here are some basic statistics about Ethiopia:

Current Population
median age
life expectancy
Male: 62
Female: 65
infant mortality
49 (per 1000)
youth literacy
Male: 63%
Female: 49%
% living below international poverty line of $1.25/day

Ethiopia has made remarkable progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. But an estimated 4.5 million children are orphaned, and with 31% of the population living below the international poverty line of only $1.25 per day, much work remains to be done.

In Lafto, where we work, a recent study has shown that:

  • 89%    Live in mud or tin homes
  • 24%    Use a public tap for water (there is none to their yard or house)
  • 43%    Use pit latrines or open pits (3.6% have no facilities at all)
  • 33%    Reported their children missed at least one meal in the last month
  • 25%    Reported their children missed a few meals
  • 25%    Of children do not sleep on a mattress
  • 26%    Do not have a blanket
  • 24%    Have only 1 set of clothes
  • 26%    Do not own a pair of shoes

how did Global Family Initiative's Betasab Project get started?

The Betasab Project is the first endeavor of the Global Family Initiative (GFI), an international non-profit which aims to address inequities and challenges faced by orphaned and vulnerable children and women through empowerment and access to education, health care, and families.
Betasab arose in response to the on-going orphan crisis in Ethiopia. Claudia Cooper, Executive Director with a background in Education, Literacy, and Child Development, first traveled to Ethiopia in November of 2003. Inequities were plainly visible, but also an immense potential for growth and change. Friend and humanitarian Dr. Rick Hodes suggested visiting The Sisters of Charity Mission where he volunteers, because “you have to see what happens if you do nothing.” It took some time, but in 2008, Betasab organized a strong, collaborative international team. Ephrem Gezahegn and Firewoyni Fransou, friends with a long-standing commitment to and experience with helping orphaned and vulnerable children in their country, joined Claudia in deciding to do more for the children. Nick Rogerson, who teaches Philosophy, and Eric Hoest, with deep economic and business expertise, joined the US Board of Directors.
The team shared a love for the profound beauty of the country and culture and realized immediately that even relatively small efforts can have an enormous impact in alleviating suffering and engendering growth. When you radically transform a life and fill it with opportunities, the ripple effect can be profound. After visiting the sites of small but impressive organizations already at work in Addis Ababa, the model for Betasab became clear. But Betasab only became a reality through the crucial and continuing help of our donors who have generously decided to become a part of the larger Betasab family, the Global Family Initiative and our skilled network of volunteers, who offer Betasab knowledge and precious time, which they give selflessly. The Betasab Project now supports 9 Ethiopian staff members, caring for almost 50 orphaned and/or vulnerable children and women in need of security, housing, education and love.
Can we reach more children and women? Yes, we’d love to! With your support, we can help even more bright children and women reach their potential.

what are GFI's mission, goals, and vision?

Our Mission
To provide Orphaned and Vulnerable Children with a safe and secure family-like life in a Group Home Setting and to empower Marginalized Women by improving the economic well-being of the community through a sustainable model of development.
Our Vision
To see every vulnerable child and marginalized woman in Ethiopia getting access to standards of living adequate to attaining the full potential of their physical, mental, moral and spiritual, and social development.
Our Goals
To improve the social and economic conditions of vulnerable children and women through intensive intervention, care and support in order to facilitate them becoming productive, self-reliant citizens.
Our Core Values
Every child deserves a family, a safe home, an education, freedom from abuse and want, and to receive the benefits of living in a thriving local community. Communities benefit from opportunities for individuals, families and groups to develop their ideas and talents to the maximum potential.

where does my money go and how is it spent?

Most of our budget goes straight to program and administrative costs in Ethiopia. Program costs include our Direct Project Expenses such as Education (school fees: 19.7%); Food (nutritious meals and snacks: 12.7%); Housing (rent on family houses: 10.5%); Learning Lions program (school fees, materials, uniforms, books and supplies: 11%); and other additional expenses such as cooking fuel, clothing, medical care, recreation for children, and children’s savings accounts, among others. Administrative Cost includes our Ethiopian office expenses and excellent Ethiopian office staff, but also (as per Ethiopian law) reflects our social worker expenses, and benefits to our mothers and aunties.
Our administrative costs are as low as they can be. The founders/members of the US Board of Directors receive no remuneration for their work. It’s a core belief that the hard earned money our supporters donate should go directly to the project. That being said, we also strongly agree with president Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he said, “no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.” And we might add, “or in any other country, for that matter.” No members of the Betasab family should ever have to scrape by in poverty, and this includes our devoted staff. In fact, paying our workers fair wages directly helps our children because it allows us to recruit the best people. In addition, we work with volunteers and interns when we can, maximizing the impact of donations and ensuring they go as far as possible toward helping vulnerable Ethiopian children and women.
graph for faq
Here’s a snapshot of GFI’s current expense model, in the form of a pie graph (note that GFI’s long term vision includes a full-time Executive Director, separate from the Board of Directors):
All donations to Betasab can be made through PayPal on our website, by credit card (by Square technology through one of our designated representatives), or by check sent directly to our mailing address. Funds are then transferred by wire to our Ethiopian Bank Account, minimizing bank fees, and maximizing our donation dollars.
This financial centralization allows Betasab Global Family Initiative full fiscal transparency and the assurance that we are meeting all regulations and laws of both the United States and The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Betasab is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 corporation # 26-3716963. All donations to Betasab are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. As a United States 501(c)3 corporation, our tax returns are public documents. We are currently seeking approval for Global Family Initiative as a 501(c)3 and anticipate that gifts to GFI will be fully tax deductible in the very near future.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of our annual report, please contact us.

how far will my money go?

*All figures are yearly amounts.

Total Education cost for all Origins Homes children
Food for all Origins Homes children
Clothing for all Origins Homes children
Total Education cost for 1 Origins Homes child
Breakfast for 1 Origins Homes child
Vegetables for 1 Origins Homes child
Teff (Grain) for 1 Origins Homes child
Clothing for 1 Learning Lions Child
Snacks for 1 child

Donating a full or partial Sponsorship goes a long way toward helping cover the cost of raising a child and supporting him or her mentally, physically, and emotionally. Please check out our sponsorship information page.

why should I become a sponsor?

Sponsorship is one of the great program features of Betasab! Betasab offers consistent support for the children, but Sponsorships let the children and women who’ve had to struggle so much already know that they are special and worthy, that someone outside the direct family cares about them and wants them to succeed and reach their potential!
Sponsorship in our Origins Homes Program
Solomon would like to be a scientist. Meheret would like to be a teacher. Fedeshe would like to open her own shop. Tesfa would like to be an architect. To do that, they need to be healthy, secure, and they need a good education. They need to be loved and encouraged. Our strong desire is that the children and their mothers feel the warmth of a broader, supportive community, and that our donors feel the impact of their generosity. While it costs about $2,000 dollars per year to fully support a child in the Origins Homes Program, we offer sponsorships at three different levels so that sponsors may choose a level that best suits them. All levels of commitment allow sponsors to connect personally with a child.
Click here to learn more about how you can sponsor a child, a woman, or even a whole house.

why is it helpful to be a sustaining member?

Global Family Initiative’s Betasab Project relies on grassroots fundraising. What does that mean? It means that much of our funding comes from small grants and our donors. It means that we count on the support of our greater GFI community month after month, to contribute and to spread the word about Betasab.
Sustaining members at all levels help us build organizational stability and sustainability, which is a primary goal for the GFI. Our donors also like the structure of recurring gifts because it allows them to spread gifts out over time.

how do I donate?

It’s easy! All donations to Betasab can be made through PayPal on our website, by credit card (by Square technology through one of our designated representatives), or by check (make checks payable to ‘BETASAB’) sent to:
Global Family Initiative
175 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
Funds are then transferred by wire to our Ethiopian Bank Account, minimizing bank fees, and maximizing our donation dollars.
We have 20 children in our Origins Homes and 25 in the Learning Lions Program. Can we reach more children and women? Yes, we’d love to! With your support, we can help even more deserving children and women reach their potential.
Click here to donate!

how else can I help gfi betasab grow?

There are so many ways:

  • Become a sustaining supporter with a recurring donation or child sponsorship.
  • Spread the word.
  • Hold a fundraiser (we’ll help you!).
  • Collect goods – shoes, clothing, books, art supplies and ship them to Ethiopia.
  • Volunteer your time – in the United States or travel to Ethiopia and work with our fantastic children.

We appreciate a variety of different skills and talents!