It is certainly the most wonderful time of the year for Delivering Hope Ethiopia. While Ethiopians don’t celebrate Christmas until January, we are ending the “forengi” year with much hope, joy, and expectation for what is to come.
This week our director, Ruth, will begin teaching a childbirth education class for mothers of children with disabilities. Most of these mothers have had very little education and do not fully understand their child’s disability and specific needs. So Ruth will have the opportunity to speak into their lives and tailor the class for this precious group of moms.
We will also be partnering in the New Year with an international school that runs an after school program for girls whose families live in extreme poverty. We will teach reproductive education and invite the young girls’ mothers along to tailor a childbirth education/family planning class for the girls and their moms.
Also on the horizon for 2016 is the formation of a sewing and croquet group for mothers in our program. A volunteer from the US – a home economics teacher- will be in Addis for several months and has graciously agreed to teach our moms how to sew quilts and diapers for their babies and croquet hats. Not only will our mothers benefit from gaining a useful and potentially income-generating skill but our hope for the group is that it will also provide a means of empowering women and an informal therapeutic space for these women whose lives are so hard. We hope the shared time will build a sense of community and solidarity amongst the women, and provide opportunities to live and share the gospel with them.
This month we are providing nutritious food for the mothers attending our childbirth education classes. The majority of the women in this cohort are pregnant and so poor that they may only eat one time per day. Many thanks to those who have generously offered to give the gift of a meal. As we celebrate the holidays around the table this month, it brings so much joy to see those extending their tables to Ethiopia.
Finally, in the past month we have had several meetings with other NGOS working in maternal health as well as with a private health institution. We have some great developments in the mix for partnerships, including the potential for our doulas to receive training at a private hospital in their maternity ward. Presently it is very difficult for support persons to be allowed into the delivery room here in Ethiopia, so this could be a huge breakthrough for both DHI and for Ethiopian maternal care in general. We are especially excited for our doulas to be given hands on training in labour and delivery within the context of the hospital delivery room.
As our year comes to a close, we celebrate the hope that Christmas brings. We remember the birth of the baby who came to save our world from all that is wrong in it. Advent brings the hope of the good news – that God did not look away from the messiness on earth but chose to sacrifice Himself for our benefit. As we witness the birth of precious babes during this month, we are called to remember that most special night when God made Himself flesh in the person of Christ and chose to love us as we are, to live amongst us, and to give His life to bring us hope and peace.