Answering Some Questions

One of the things that we enjoy is having teams come through and tour the Day Care Centers.  It is wonderful to have them see first hand the impact that EHE has been able to make as well as to have their awareness raised to not only the complexities of poverty but also the opportunity to act on behalf of vulnerable families and to back interventions that prevent orphans and preserve families.

When these teams come and visit us firsthand, they always have great questions.  From time to time here I’ll field some of those questions in case you are wondering, too.

1.  How is EHE Funded?   All of our work in Ethiopia is funded through individuals and churches who give to EHE.  The Shannons (and the Derloshons as they join them and any other missionaries to follow are all responsible for raising their own support to be on the ground through other avenues).  This means that every dollar that comes in for Family Sponsorships and Ethiopian Intervention can make it to the ground to be part of serving the poorest of the poor moms and their children.

Family Sponsorships make up a large part of this funding.  We rely on donors willing to partner with a family to help us provide a multi-faceted, holistic response to families that find themselves in extreme poverty, living in the slum, living on the edge and living in danger of needing to give their child up unless someone intervenes.

Here are the families that we are still in need of sponsors for: (Family Sponsorships start at $34 per month. You can click on the photo for more info.)

2.  $136 per month seems like a lot to have a child in the program.  Why is it so expensive when compared to other sponsorship programs that are doing similar work for $36 per month?  Three words.  Intensity, Setting and Depth.

First, Intensity.  To serve the poorest of the poor who have very young children and live at the end of the line requires an intensity of services.  This is true from a staffing perspective as well as from a services perspective.  We are providing Day Care for children as young as 3 months old, 12 hours per day for 5 days per week.  We are providing free health care and on site nursing to see these children become well.  To help moms make a break from poverty, we have to intensively be involved in their lives and address poverty issues for them as well as their children.  This means literacy and education and clothing and food and microgrants and micro-savings and intensive social work and feeding programs and low staff to child ratios.   When you consider what it costs to simply deliver day care in a western context and then add on top of it the other interventions EHE does, $136 is a bargain, that we are only able to provide because of amazingly efficient staff here in Ethiopia.  At the same time we believe that a core need is for us to be providing not only for our beneficiaries, but also providing jobs for locals.  That $136 per month per child allows us to provide jobs for 40 Ethiopian employees, allowing them to provide for their families.  It actually stretches a long way.

Second, Setting.  To do an intervention in the slum is expensive.  To have our Day Care Centers on the edge of the slum means that we have to pay rent comparable to what we would pay in a small city in the United States.  It is much more expensive to serve inside the city rather than in the rural areas.   This is also true for our beneficiaries in that it takes a deeper intervention to help them afford their rent that is skyrocketing.

Third, Depth.  We believe the key to breaking the back of poverty is heart and mind transformation.  We do not believe in giving hand outs, and rather quite the opposite believe in seeing dignity restored and watching moms do much of the work as we partner alongside of them.  This does mean that we have to tailor our intervention to address individual personal needs dependent on the various needs of the family.  These needs might include severe malnutrition or disabilities or mental health issues or HIV or TB.   We also believe that we must have a depth of relationship with the moms of the project.  They have ownership in the project and they are known. This means that we have to go deep and intervene on a very personal level with moms.

A way that we counteract this expense is to break each family into 4 sponsorship slots of $34 per slot.  We know that its a stretch for many families to consider $136 per month, but $34 per month seems much more doable.  Together with others partnering, too, we see families sponsored.

3. How can our church get involved?  We strongly encourage church involvement.  We believe that prayer is a huge need in seeing moms break out of the poverty cycle and in seeing them come to know Christ.  We need Jesus followers all over the world who can pray for and encourage moms as they are making this break and coming to know Jesus’ love.  We need the church.  There are a few ways for churches to get involved.

1.  Promoting Family Sponsorships.  Keeping family sponsorships in front of church members and asking them to jump in at least $34 per month to partner with a family.

2.  Church Partnerships.  As a church committing to see 3 families fully sponsored.  This could come from a missions budget or simply by agreeing to see families in the church stepping up to sponsor at least 3 families fully (which amounts to $408 per month).

3.  Collecting Physical Donations.  We go through a lot of clothing and shoes, etc. on the ground.  Churches can help us by doing clothing or book drives.  Contact us at  for more information.

4.  Praying.  We need your prayers.  Our staff relies on them.  Our moms and children critically need them, too.

5.  Visiting Us.  If you are coming to Ethiopia on a mission trip, we’d love to have you stop in for a morning.  Contact us at to arrange a visit.  We do need at least 24 hours notice and can only accommodate visitors between 8:30 am and 12 noon, Monday through Friday.


Next week we’ll address some of the questions about EHE moms that we get asked frequently.

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