GRATITUDE FOR GOOD
A Blog by Gratitude Alliance
We are thrilled to announce the recent launch of the life skills and leadership class for high school students at Bright Horizon Children's Home (BHCH). With the healing skills learned through the Safe Embrace Trauma Healing (SETH) training program in January 2015, local teachers are now equipped with skills to address symptoms of trauma, empower students to develop self-confidence and emotional intelligence, and promote healing, leadership, and personal transformation.
We are incredibly grateful for BHCH teachers' efforts in spreading grassroots healing skills to communities in Nepal.
Our grassroots partners know firsthand that computer literacy can unlock unlimited possibilities - for learning, creating, sharing, exploring, and connecting individuals, communities, and economies to the digital world.
And when computer literacy classes are paired with a psychosocial activity like creative arts therapy, the result is a well-rounded psycho-educational program that develops a broad range of skills while also invoking emotional healing and creative expression.
It's a holistic approach that we often refer to as head, hands, and heart - or, education, skills-building, and healing. An approach that understands that complex problems are not solved via single-issue interventions but rather by comprehensive solutions... and that psychosocial support is foundational to sustainable transformation.
Our partner organization, Lola Children's Home, provides comprehensive support for nearly 30 orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. With your support, kids now have access to weekly computer literacy and music classes.
Lola's executive director, Abebe, recently updated us on the progress of this new curriculum which, so far, has been successful in teaching kids tangible skills. Under the tutelage of a mentor who teaches both computer skills and music, they kids now know how to:
A big thank you to our generous community for supporting this program! Your contributions are building confidence, technical and social skills, and healing opportunities that will have a lasting impact on these children and their community!
Remember the feeling of excitement after passing your driving test? Many of us have photos of ourselves clutching that hard-earned driver's license, with big goofy grins on our faces.
So it is for this youth in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, who recently passed his test as part of our local partner's commitment to skills training. Driver training classes are only one component of this youth's journey to becoming a tour guide in Ethiopia. Now that he has his license, he is one step closer to self-sufficiency, and we send him our heartfelt congratulations.
This driving course was one of many classes funded by eBay Foundation and our community of everyday activists to provide vocational, job, and life skills training to 30+ young adults, giving them tools to build self-esteem, make positive life choices, and pave a path towards self-sufficiency.
Recently, two other youth successfully found part-time employment as a result of this training program. We are excited to support our partner in launching the skills program again this summer.
What comes to mind when you think of Ethiopia?
Starving children too weak to swat away flies sticking to their tear-stained and snot-smeared faces as portrayed by Live Aid in the 1980's? People dying in squalor, leaving behind orphaned and HIV positive children due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1990's? Though a product of their time, such startling images have done much damage to our perceptions, leaving the impression of a country where locals have neither dignity or the power to influence their lives and communities.
Instead, we think of Ethiopia as a vast and varied landscape, having both a vibrant history and a growing, developing economy. A country able to assist its citizens by addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis via health education and ARV's and with a dynamic generation of young people who are developing responses, solutions and creating local technologies to help their fellow citizens.
It is this view of Ethiopia which informs our work with our partner organization in Addis Ababa. We are convinced that local, grassroots projects best serve local communities - our role is to simply empower them, rather than paternalistically exporting and enforcing western ideas of what works best. UNICEF advises the international support of community-based responses to the AIDS crisis, including "strengthening young people's life and survival skills" (2003). And as our partner and we are aware, children affected by HIV who were once coming for hospice care are now reaching young adulthood, and require the self-confidence and skills to become successfully self-sufficient .
The vocational program we fund has not been without its challenges, including attendance issues and a lack of full commitment from some of the youth (revealing perhaps deeper issues to be addressed). But its success stories include two of the eldest young adults who are making strides towards successfully leading independent lives:
Further, our partner is convinced that these courses are beneficial: 'We have 10 youth who will complete their high school education this school year. I hope all of them will make it to college /vocational training institutions. I think engaging these youth in additional vocational skill trainings will make a difference in their careers.'
Thank you to the eBay Foundation and to our generous donors who support this project, knowing that real transformation requires patience, time, and locally-led solutions.
Read why faces have been obscured and names changed in this post: Protecting Identities: why it's critical to our work
HIV+ youth in Ethiopia during their vocational training courses
including hairdressing, clothes making, and food preparation.
Faces masked to protect identities.
We love eBay. Not just because many of our co-founders first met each other as eBay employees. Not just because eBay provides a way to reuse and recycle while empowering social opportunity for small entrepreneurs to compete in the global marketplace. And, not just because its motto "People are generally good" is also a shared belief at the core of our work in the world.
We also love eBay because of its philanthropic values.
We are so proud to be selected by the eBay Bay Area GIVE Team as a recipient of an eBay Foundation grant for our project in Ethiopia which provides vocational training to young adults who are HIV positive. The youth have been taking classes this summer from hairdressing to computer maintenance, food preparation, and more, learning valuable skills about hard work, commitment, time management, and what it means to be a good employee.
More importantly, however, the program, gives them a chance to build self-esteem, gain the tools needed to make positive life choices, and eventually pave the road to self-dependence.
A big Ethiopian Ameseginalehu (Thank You in Amharic, the local language)!
Check out the press release below (or click here to download).