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.
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.
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.