Help a child in Ethiopia go to school

Our friend, pastor Mekbib Desta in Ethiopia is looking for help to send 12 children from the neediest families in his community to the elementary school. Would you consider sponsoring a child so they can go to school?

Pastor Mekebib Desta, Brian Carroll and Rahel Tamirat.

Pastor Mekebib Desta, Brian Carroll and Rahel Tamirat.

Many of these children will go to Rich In Knowledge Academy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (a wonderful school) started by our friend Rahel Tamirat. We’re hoping they don’t have to tell some of these kids they can’t start school this September!


Watch this short 2-minute video

Sponsors commit for up to one year. Sponsorship costs $1.40 per day ($42 a month) and includes school tuition, food, medical needs, uniform and school supplies.


Thank you to the Come Unity team for organizing this!

Get more information on how to sponsor a child here

Bono: Entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid

It’s been 10 months since Abby and I were in Ethiopia. We’re still maintaining many of the friendships we started and providing support. Since then our family has undergone some big changes which I’ll share more in future posts.

Through all this God’s sustained us and we’ve come through this process trusting there’s a greater plan. I feel grateful.

For new readers, the purpose of our project is help orphans and sustain families (prevent more orphans due to poverty) in Ethiopia. Long term, we want to see more orphans be domestically adopted and stay in their birth country. This requires a holistic strategy, resources and committed people to developing solutions. 

I’ve thought a lot about how to approach this huge issue and asking myself this question? What’s the best way to help people get out of the cycle of poverty? Is it sustainable work (work skills, education?) or is it business development and entrepreneurship? I think it’s both.

To underscore why, I like this blog post,  “Capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid” which features Bono (yes, the rock star) who is putting a huge investment into raising support and develop businesses in Africa. In the following video he explains why. 


In the video, Bono states,  “Aid is just a stopgap… Commerce [and] entrepreneurial capitalism take more people out of poverty than aid. We need Africa to become an economic powerhouse.”

This aligns with part of our vision to help business development (think small businesses growth) in Ethiopia by empowering young entrepreneurs who will ultimately have a positive impact on families (who need jobs to prevent more orphans) and orphans (funding local adoptive families) in the community.

I’m looking to connect with like-minded  entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to make difference in the life of a new entrepreneur in Ethiopia (not necessarily with your checkbook) with your business talents, wisdom and life experience. If this describes you, contact me here or connect with me on LinkedIn.


The Beacon: The Blog of The Independent Institute.

Hope for orphans in Ethiopia

While Abby and I were in Ethiopia we met orphans and street children who have nobody to love to care for them. We also met children who are living in an orphanage because of extreme poverty. Many of these children have family members who are willing take care of of them but they are so poor and that they can barely feed themselves.


Poverty should not be the reason to take a child away from their family but this happening in poor countries around the world like Ethiopia. These are desperately poor families, who with the tiniest bit of help, could be able to raise their kids and keep the family together.

That’s the reason we started the Forever Families Project. We want care for and prevent more orphans and abandoned children by preserving families Ethiopia. Long term, we want to see more orphans be domestically adopted and stay in their homeland. This requires a holistic strategy, resources and committed people to developing solutions.


Thanks for Jerry and Christy Shannon at Embracing Hope Ethiopia for pointing me to this blog Alama ya Kitumaini “Sign of Hope I read this post, “a story (his, mine, and how the love was left out)” by Holly Mulford and it blew me away. Holly shares her inspiring story of how she saw there was a better answer to helping orphans.

Also, check out these great people we know who are helping orphans and family preservation in Ethiopia.

Bring Love In
Embracing Hope Ethiopia

Be blessed.

Meeting the kids at Resurrection Orphanage Center of Nekemte, Ethiopia

We visited Resurrection Orphanage & Center of Nekemte (ROCN). They care for orphaned and abandoned children to meet their basic needs and offer a loving Christian home environment.

ROCN is a new orphanage started by Tensaie Umeta (who was from Nekemte). I met Tensaie though North Heights Lutheran Church (my home church in MN). Nekemte is a city of 103,000 people but ROCN is the first orphanage in the area. So the need is great.

We loved spending time with these kids and they touched our hearts. We were able to bring new clothing that was donated by sponsors in MN. They also needed shoes and it was a blessing for us to take them shopping to buy new shoes.

Children with new clothes!

Children with new clothes!

Until coming to ROCN, these children had never been to school. They are bright kids but needed help to be ready to attend school. The director of the local private school has given free tuition to the children. He himself has taken in 6 orphans into his home and he provides for all their needs. The two house mothers at ROCN are amazing care for the children like their own 24/7.

Abby pictured with children in their school uniforms.

Abby Carroll and Birhane Umeta pictured with ROCN children in their school uniforms.

The first ROCN home provides for 4 orphans, but can hold 6 more. A donor has pledged monthly support for the other children, however they still need $2,500 to buy beds, mattresses, linens, desks, tables, chairs, clothing and shoes to make this happen. Would you consider helping?

View pictures of ROCN kids and staff here

Visit the Resurrection Orphanage & Center of Nekemte (ROCN) website

Traveling to Nekemte on what locals call worst road in Ethiopia

Abby and I went to Nekemte, Ethiopia to visit the Resurrection Orphanage Center of Nekemte (ROCN). The road Addis Ababa to Nekemte is rough. It’s unlike any road we’ve ever been on and locals say it’s the worst road in Ethiopia.

The land cruiser we rented, and yes it's on the road. Our driver Tamasgen was great!

The land cruiser we rented, and yes it’s on the road. Our driver Tamasgen was great!

It’s not advisable to drive unless you have a four wheel drive vehicle. Fortunately, our driver Tamesgen was great. Thank you to Berhanie Umeta (my friend Tensaie Umeta’s sister) for accompanying us on our trip. No one knows when the road will be complete but once it’s finished there will be a significant economic impact for all of the communities this road passes through.

In the end, when we saw the kids at ROCN, the road trip was worth it. We give thanks to God that we were able travel safely.

Women wear scarves to keep dust out of her hair. Abby got to wear one on our trip to Nekemte.

Women wear scarves to keep dust out of her hair. Abby got to wear one on our trip to Nekemte.

View more pictures from our road trip to Nekemte

Caring for vulnerable children and orphans in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

542188_187915464688414_110928318_nThe first person to greet us when we got off the plane in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was Pastor Mekebib Desta and his wife, Tigist Tesfaye. Thank you to Alex Shootman for connecting us!

Mekebib leads Emmanuel Light & Life Church and they have a ministry to help children who live on the streets of Addis Ababa. They minister out of their own poverty to help orphans and vulnerable children get their basic needs met and know the love of Jesus.

It’s estimated that over 100,000+ children live on the streets left to take care of themselves. The need here is overwhelming but there are people like Mekebib and his church that are making a difference in the lives of 54+ children every week. They also have church members like Rahel Tamirat and others who are helping orphans and poor children.

Abby and I are looking at practical ways we can support Mekebib and his team’s work here. We loved spending time with kids and seeing the difference this ministry is making. It’s great to the body of Christ at work and I’m grateful that we get to partner together.


Visit to Embracing Hope Ethiopia serving poor, children and orphans

Abby and I visited Embracing Hope Ethiopia that was founded by Jerry and Christy Shannon. Their focus is the poor, children, and orphans who live in a section of Addis Ababa known as Korah. This area of the city is very poor and is known as a forsaken place. It began as a leper colony and then the site of the city trash dump. It has a higher prevalence of poverty, crime, prostitution, and disease then many other areas of the city.

The children loved playing with Abby.

The children loved playing with Abby.

We love that this ministry works to serve young children and mothers in holistic ways. Abby and I truly enjoyed meeting the Shannon’s and their amazing Ethiopian staff at their their daycare center serving a 110+ children and 65+ moms.


Embracing Hope Ethiopia helps vulnerable moms and very young children. They provide a place where the children can be cared for and the moms are freed to work and provide for their families. The result is that more families are able to be kept together (i.e. preventing more orphans) and they are touched by Jesus’ love, hope and transformation.

During our visit we were able to hear story after story of a child who’s life was saved because they were able to get medical care and nutrition. Some of these children were within days of death when they first arrived. All of these children have loving moms who might be living with HIV, illness or through circumstances outside their control, they just don’t have the means to provide for their children.

As we met the children, it was clear they are being touched with the love of Christ and they are doing better at life because of the wonderful work of Embracing Hope Ethiopia. Abby and I are looking at ways we can come along side the work that’s happening here.

View photos of our visit to Embracing Hope Ethiopia

Visit the Embracing Hope Ethiopia website and pray about sponsoring a child.


Rich In Knowledge Academy children singing in Addis Ababa Ethiopia

Pastor Mekebib Desta, Brian Carroll and Rahel Tamirat.

Pastor Mekebib Desta, Brian Carroll and Rahel Tamirat.

Abby and I visited Rich in Knowledge Academy in Addis Ababa. It’s an excellent school where 40 students from ages 3 to 8 (k – 2nd grade) attend. We were blessed to learn that the school Director, Rahel Tamirat, provides free education for half the children who are orphans or are living in poverty. To do this, she takes no salary so she can pay the staff and school expenses. Why? She loves children and makes this sacrifice gladly to give them a future and experience the love of Christ.


Kindergarten class at Rich In Knowledge Academy

The children gave us special treat of singing for us in English. It was so beautiful to see the joy in the kids and their smiles. When they sang, it reminded me of my 3-year old daughter Lydia who sang me same song.

This school needs help. Abby and I are talking about how we can come along side this school. It costs about $22 per month per student. Some of the children don’t have food at home so they can’t bring lunch and there’s no school lunch program here. These children are learning (while hungry) eating just one meal a day.

If you want to help a child get an education and have a school lunch, let us know. We’ll work to get funds directed to Rahel. Here’s a link to Rahel Tamirat’s facebook page.

View more photos of our visit Rich In Knowledge Academy

Showing love to poor and orphans in Addis Ababa with food

tumblr_m1mnxzA1tR1r754u5o1_500_thumbAbby and I felt led to buy food and give it to the poor and orphans in the neighborhood where we’re staying in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We hoped something simple as fresh baked bread, apples and bottled water would bring some relief from morning hunger.

We had no plan beyond walking up the street and giving food out to those we felt needed it or asked us. We simply wanted to show love.

We came to a street corner where there were many poor people. As we gave out food, we were quickly surrounded and there were more hands than we had food to give. We ran out quickly.

But when we said we didn’t have any more instead of being upset those who received none still thanked us and were smiling. They seemed grateful and joyful. I can’t describe it.

Abby and I watched people who got food then share and divide it with others who got none. As they broke bread and shared water it reminded me of church communion. It was beautiful. Even in poverty the poor are generous.