Dear friends and supporters,
For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere we are in the grip of winter. Of course here in Los Angeles the effects of cold and hardship are muted if not completely absent, but many of you are rising before light breaks over the horizon, leaving for work in darkness and getting home after the sun has gone to bed.
I can’t help but make a comparison to the lives of the children and families we seek to serve at the Fregenet School. In many ways their lives have played out in the deepest winter – a winter in which the arrival of spring is in doubt, and one in which the darkness of poverty and ignorance threatens to last a lifetime. With your help, spring will come. Families that have struggled to provide the very basics to their children, have a light in their lives. Parents who send their children to Fregenet can be assured that their school-age kids have an opportunity at a better life through education.
Here, let me share with you the story of one of our 4th graders Sintayehu Tolossa who is ten years old.
Sintayehu lives with her aunt W/ro Keneni Eresa in a Kebele rented house. Sintayehu’s mother passed away while giving birth to her. Her father was a soldier and never come back after he was sent to the war front. They still don’t know whether he is alive or not. The family doesn’t have a kitchen so they use the living room for cooking. They have one humble bed with a blanket, and they share a pit toilet with two other families. Her aunt prepares ìmesobeî (a plate made of woven grass) which she sells to neighbors for about 10 birr (USD 0.60) per day.
Sintayehu is a good example of the kinds of kids FKL serves. For the evening meal Sintayehu eats ëEnjera’ (Ethiopian bread) with ëShero wott’. Even this one simple meal strains the family budget. She rarely gets the chance to eat vegetables let alone meat even for holidays. W/ro Keneni says it would be difficult to pack a school lunch for Sentayehu with the meager income she gets.
Sintayehu eats breakfast and lunch at FKL School. W/ro Keneni says that she is very grateful for the Fregenet Kidan Lehitsanat School (FKL) for providing Sintayehu with education, uniform stationeries, breakfast and lunch all for free.
According to Sintayehu’s teacher she is healthy, active and working hard to keep up with the other students in the class. Since there is no one to assist her at home she is often unable to do her homework, but she and students like her get extra tutoring by FKL teachers to address their academic needs.
Sintayehu is responsible at home and thankful for her opportunities. She helps clean the simple house each morning before she goes to school but like all kids, she has dreams. She tells us she has promised her aunt to build her a home when she grows up.
Sintayehu’s opportunity at a better life is already a minor triumph for those of us who support and work with FKL. But I would be irresponsible if I didn’t remind you that these are times in which what we’ve worked so hard for
could be lost. We are all going to have to dig deeper and think harder and better than ever before to make sure we have the funding to continue this work that has been so vital in the lives of so many. It is essential that we find the means to purchase the property on which the school now stands.
During this time in which our thoughts turn naturally toward giving and hope for a prosperous and fulfilling new year, please think about whether you could be one of our key contributors and a source of light in the lives of some deserving and precious children like Sintayehu.
Please write your check payable to:
The Fregenet Foundation
901 South Flower Street, Unit 411
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Thank you very much.