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The GFI Model : Global Family Initiative

The GFI Model

In order to combat a particularly complicated set of problems, we incorporate professional development and on-the-job training for all staff members in order to achieve our goal of organizational sustainability, and we provide a holistic response that incorporates two basic elements: the Origins Program and Community Development Programs.

Origins Program

Addressing the issues germane to both vulnerable children and women, our Origins Program serves as our foundation. We create permanent family units of 7-8 children and two women and provide them with housing, clothing, food, education, healthcare, and opportunities for recreation.


Girls and motherA structured family gives children love and support, and often serves as the nucleus of a community. The Origins Program provides orphans with the support they need for success. Mothers and Aunties serve as role models, while fellow children foster an environment of shared excitement for learning and group accomplishments. Through the family model, The GFI seeks to provide normalcy in an environment traditionally lacking it.

The GFI seeks to revitalize health care for the target children, making health records common and providing an on-call doctor for the orphanage. Our goal is for all Origins Program children to have adequate medical attention available to them at all times.


HomeworkThe GFI aims to accurately reflect family-style living arrangements. A modest homes and appropriate family size encourage group time and furthers development. A compound featuring security and adult supervision assists in both learning and safety.

We limit each Origins House to seven or eight children, with one Mother and one or two Aunties.

All of our houses are within walking distance of each other, allowing for structured interaction between our Origins families on weekends.


Education is our primary focus. We provide our Origins Children with top-quality education and knowledgeable tutors who can keep them on the cutting edge of math, science, reading, and other subjects.

Girls at schoolWe have partnered with community libraries and computer labs so that our children can learn both inside and outside the classroom, which gives them the opportunity to be students on their own time as well. Our approach addresses a fundamental snare in education: the fact that all students learn differently.

Children without support networks tend to fall through the cracks of the education system. By using pre-existing educational platforms, and pioneering the development and cultivation of new ones, The GFI seeks to further the learning opportunities of its children. This step in education is only possible through cooperation and the further development of the core infrastructure of the institution itself.

Outside experts are invaluable to this goal. Renowned academic institutions, such as Columbia University, Middlebury College, and Boston University will provide a steady stream of skilled, committed volunteers who are willing to work through a number of different platforms.

Community support

Auntie cookingThe GFI aims to create a broad culture of learning and support – not just in our Origins Houses, but in the greater community. We meet regularly with local residents and businesses to discover better ways to work together. When possible, we extend our programs to all community members. Building relationships in the community will spur on the growth of our fundamental core values, the tenets of our philosophy.

Our professional development program has the ultimate goal of sustainability. Current Mothers and Aunties will train future generations of Mothers and Aunties to provide the infrastructure for a long-term sustainable project. Volunteers will train other volunteers. The Origins Children of today will eventually become the doctors and teachers who work with Origins Children of tomorrow.

Our wildest dreams would be fulfilled if through this continual reproduction and regeneration, there were eventually no need for an Origins program.

Means to a secure future

Mekdes Future
Each Origins Child has a savings account, into which we deposit $30 each year. During their time in our Origins Homes, these children will learn the value of money management and budgeting. We expect that they will use this capital for necessities like a first home or apartment upon reaching adulthood and leaving the Home.

Budgeting and spending wisely are a part of the education process; this money provides a financial safety net. And children like Mekdelawit, pictured, have time to grow without worrying about the future. Sponsorship is integral to this aspect of the children’s lives.

Community Development Programs

We also operate programs aimed at a broader audience in the areas around our Origins Houses. Learning Lions is a supplemental education program for underprivileged children who already have home environments; the Women’s Empowerment Initiative gives skilled females an opportunity to take charge of their own futures.

Learning Lions

Girls and motherThough our Origins children enjoy a great education, we want to extend that basic right to as many people as possible. Our Learning Lions program has this goal in mind. It’s comprised of local children who have families but may lack the resources to excel in school, receive material, financial, emotional, and educational support from GFI in an effort to achieve progress toward one of our core beliefs: every child deserves an education as a matter of principle.

We think that strong communities come from a commitment to education in the broadest possible sense. And there’s no better way to invest in the future.

Women's Empowerment

Betasab Girls WashingAt the GFI, we want our children to grow up in a world in which young women, like Fedeshe, Meheret, and Yordanos, pictured, have the same opportunities as their brothers. This is why our Women’s Empowerment Program exists.

GFI enables local women to take financial control of their futures through entrepreneurial trainings, workshops, and a variety of other forms of assistance. Women are the backbone of GFI’s families, and communities at large, and we think security and empowerment for women is essential to lasting growth and societal progress.