February 11, 2014
From Ethiopia and the school that all of us hold near to our hearts comes a story of one of Fregenet Kidan Lehitsanat school’s dearest children. As you know, all of FKL’s students are chosen for the very reason that they come from families in hardship and would otherwise likely not even attend school at all. But what we want you to remember is that each child comes with his or her own particular story. We do not share their stories as sad statistics or piteous tales of failure and hopelessness, told in a mind-numbing way with the hopes that guilt will prompt you to support us.
These are families rich with love and devotion to each other, armed against poverty with the determination to struggle in any way they can to find a way to lift each other up with love and hope. Hanny George, the youngest child of four and one of our kindergarten children, comes from just such a family. Until recently Mom and Dad and the four children were living in the small village of Hageremariam, near the Kenyan border. Then tragedy came like a dark storm to Hanny’s family when her father died and Mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Forced to make the long, difficult journey to Addis for treatment, Mother and her children came to live with Grandma who was barely managing to support herself.
Hanny’s two older sisters have dropped out of school to take care of their mother. Her brother is in the ninth grade. And Hanny? She would probably not attend school at all except that she was selected to attend Fregenet School. As you might expect, she is emotionally fragile and her teachers report that she doesn’t have the attention for her lessons that they would like to see. But she is safe, she is well fed from the nutrition program at FKL, and she is learning.
More than just practicing her letters and her math facts, she is learning to hope, to know that there are adults outside of her family who care about her, and to believe in herself. It will come as no surprise given her mother’s situation that she would like to be a doctor someday. That’s a big dream! And her biggest wish in the whole world? She wants to see her mom recover.
Hanny is getting the start in her education that she deserves. Allow us to share with you our profound appreciation for having the vision and optimism to support kids like Hanny. We couldn’t do it without you.
The Fregenet Foundation