During the Spring Break of my Senior Year in high school (2012), I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I worked with two schools, Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory, that had been built and currently are run by the organization Children's Hope Chest. The kids living in the communities we visited were (and still are) surrounded by desolate circumstances: parents who are either dead, dying, or working constantly to help their families survive, low opportunity for occupation, lack of sanitation, disease run rampant, tough political and economic situations, etc... Experiencing this all first hand was shocking to say the least. My heart ached for the people I encountered, people who seemed so helpless and starved of life. Leaving the kids on that last day of the trip was one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life because I felt as though I was leaving them in the dust, destined to graduate from adolescence into the poverty that surrounded them. But my attitude changed drastically when I came back a second time. This past Spring Break (2013), I revisited the two schools. Immediately my heart lept when I recognized the children from the previous year--they looked like completely new kids! Their bodies contained more muscle mass, their hair was growing in thicker, their eyes weren't yellow, their skin wasn't ashen, and their smiles were bigger than ever! They were speaking better English and they knew various stories from the Bible that we acted out for them! Needless to say, I left that second trip with a completely different attitude than I had my first year. I left knowing that the schools that these children were attending were making a difference; it gave me hope and inexplainable joy to know that they do have a "hope and a future" that God promises in Jeremiah 29:11. These schools do wonders for the children who attend. The workers/teachers there (who are all Ethiopian!) give the kids food, medical attention, an education, hope, and most importantly, the love of Jesus Christ. These schools mean more to these children than I will probably ever be able to comprehend.
Which brings me to my main point: Nearly two years ago, school uniforms were provided by sponsor families for the kids at Kind Hearts and they have been wearing them with pride every day since. For many of the kids, those uniforms have seen better days. They have become ragged and stained with use and time, and many of the children have grown out of their uniforms and have since passed them on to a younger child. With the recent addition of 60+ new students, it would be a blessing to provide a new school uniform to each and every child.
In Ethiopia, a school uniform is a requirement at most schools. For children who cannot afford a uniform, it can mean the difference between attending school ... or not. For the kids at Kind Hearts, a school uniform not only provides a much-needed change of clothes, it also signifies that they belong at Kind Hearts and are getting a highly valued education that they can be proud of!
I can personally attest to the priceless value of these uniforms. These kids are starving for education and find an immense amount of joy and pride in attending their school. Belonging to the family at Kind Hearts creates unity among the kids while symbolizing the unity of the Body of Christ, and uniforms are a huge part of that unity!
Kind Hearts School currently has an enrollment of 195 kids. Each uniform consists of dark blue pants or skirt, with a white shirt and a light blue sweater and costs $20. 195 kids x $20 per uniform equals a total of $3900. WE CAN DO THAT! If you would like to donate to help these kids receive a uniform you can visit the link below and make your secure donation. This is REAL, I have been to these two schools and experienced the transformation in the kids attending! Thank you for reading. Regardless of whether you give money or not, please pray for the children and staff of these schools!