Charity Spotlight: This post was provided by Heather Woodward, Program Development Coordinator of Canadian Humanitarian, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.
Canadian Humanitarian’s purpose is to uplift children to reach their full potential through innovative, sustainable community development models that empower local initiatives. Our enriching after-school support programs for vulnerable and high-risk children in Africa serve to equip each child with the tools they need to succeed in life.
The most important thing for people to understand is that these are real children with palpable hardships. Their well-being is the centre of our concerns and efforts. We personally get to know the students, their struggles and what they have overcome. We visit their homes while we are there and meet with their guardians. Our local staff works with the children daily, whilst our Canadian staff travels regularly to visit the programs multiple times a year. Our education center and support program serve to help them uncover knowledge and independence, which strengthens the youth from vulnerability.
Our support program provides the students with clothes, shoes and a hot meal each day. They are given access to medical and dental care. Furthermore, they receive tuition, uniforms, tutoring and access to books in both English and Amharic. They are also able to engage in extracurricular clubs. As a result of all of this, we are seeing students succeed. Children who had been living on the street and not enrolled in school are now attending university and doing well in their studies.
Without our programs these children and their families would not have access to these resources. Poor youth typically have to work to support their families. Our programs give them a shot at breaking the cycle of poverty. We could not do this without support, child sponsors or fundraising chapters throughout North America. Every volunteer counts and makes a difference.
A Volunteer’s Experience
Yvonne Brittner, May Expedition Volunteer, Spent 6 weeks in Ethiopia
Without a doubt, the rightful sentiment that succinctly describes my experience in Ethiopia is that it was heart wrenching. It was heart wrenching to witness the level of poverty and homelessness that heavily affected children and families. It was a sight that I could never have imagined and their suffering is truly unbeknownst to us in North America. It was unfortunate to see that they had so few resources, which did not help them stand against the hardships that they face day today. There were no systems of support, such as food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens etc.
I have immense appreciation and admiration for the Canadian Humanitarian staff in Ethiopia, who work tirelessly every day for the benefit of the children and families. They are passionate, resourceful and determined, even when the children’s situations are complex and challenging. The staff at the Education Centers has become extended family for the children. They provide much needed guidance and protection for the youth during their development stage.
I feel overwhelming love and adoration for the children and their families, who are suffering, yet remain to be grateful, loving, caring, hopeful, and giving. They can light up a room and our hearts with their beautiful smiles if we let them.
My expedition experience enlightened me with valuable knowledge, which challenged me even after my return home. Luckily, through Canadian Humanitarian, I can continue to work at home to empower and support the children and families of Ethiopia. I want to acknowledge the founders and staff at Canadian Humanitarian who have proved that a long-term investment in the lives of vulnerable children amounts to huge rewards.
When people ask me if I plan to go back, I say, “How can I not?”
Learn more about Canadian Humanitarian on their Charity Profile Page>>>