Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Remember these beautiful children from a few posts ago?

Allow me to introduce them to you. These are students at Kechene.

I have been following and communicating with a guy named Todd Bondy, who is currently in Ethiopia, volunteer teaching at Kechene. I found Todd after searching for information on the guest house I'll be staying at when I'm in Ethiopia next week. He lives there now and is leaving the day before I arrive.

Todd sent this note out today:

Dear Friends and Family,

I’ve been in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for seven weeks now, and with only a few days left, I’m setting out to accomplish one more goal before heading home. I want each of the 84 students of the school at which I’ve been teaching, Kechene, to effectively double the size of their wardrobe by receiving a new school uniform: a pair of shoes, shirt, and pair of trousers or skirt for Easter. I’ve written in detail about the conditions of the school, the available resources, and the lives of the students on my blog, http://toddbondy.wordpress.com, which I encourage you to visit. The school is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Addis Ababa, most of the children are orphaned, and the two meager meals provided by the school typically make up all the daily food the kids receive.

Improving the education and lives of the students is my purpose for coming to Africa, and I have been working on several projects to enhance the school’s ability to serve its students. In addition to teaching English, Math, Science, and Ethics, I have developed new curriculums for all three grades in each of the subjects, improving the quality of the education the kids receive. To address health issues, a new health curriculum that promotes hygiene and wound care is being implemented, I am training the teachers in basic first-aid, and have tripled the amount of medical supplies in the school clinic with the help of my parents.

This final project of providing each of the students with a new set of clothes will both improve the health of the students and boost their self-confidence. Many of the students’ wounds and infections are located on their feet. The kids walk long distances to school in a filthy neighborhood wearing inadequate sandals, crumbling rubberboots, or tattered foam shoes. At recess, they run, play soccer and often fall on the rough rocks that are considered a playground. A new pair of shoes would enable the kids to walk and play freely and comfortably while performing life’s daily tasks.

Furthermore, they can take pride in wearing clothes without huge holes and rips in them. The students wear their uniforms, as seen in the attached picture, every day. Most families can’t afford more than 2 outfits per family member, resulting in clothing suffering much wear and tear. Thus, even the addition of a new t-shirt is a huge deal to these kids. Providing them with a new, clean, and hole-free uniform will be an enormous event for the kids, making them look and feel like proud students and citizens.

Now that you understand the needs of the children, I want to share with you how we can help. My goal is to raise $1700 to purchase new school uniforms for each of the 84 children: $8 per pair of shoes, $6 per sweater, and $6 per pair of trousers/skirts, per student. For $20, a student can replace his year-old uniform with a brand new, nicer one. It’s amazing how far US dollars can be stretched here, as it would be nearly impossible to provide the same services for such a small sum back home. I understand that the economic situation is far from rosy, but these people have so much less than any of us and would benefit tremendously from any help you can provide.

If you can help by making a donation (tax deductible: Tax ID27-0132571) please make a check payable to:

Cherokee Gives Back In the memo section indicate: Kechene Uniforms
Mailing Address:Cherokee Gives BackAttention:

Kim Shaw111
East Hargett Street, Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27601

As mentioned above, it would be an amazing opportunity to provide the new clothes as an Easter present, giving 2 weeks to reach the $1700fundraising goal (Ethiopia celebrates Easter a week later than the US). To get things started, I am contributing $250, leaving $1450 to go. Please let me know via email if you are able to help or have any questions. My experience working in Ethiopia has been educational, emotional, and life-changing. With your help, the students at Kechene can receive these same benefits.

Todd Bondy

Wendy and I will be in Ethiopia for their Easter (luck us, we get to celebrate 2 Easters this year!). I would love to be able to take pictures of these kids in their new uniforms! Wow - that would really be awesome! Can you help?

1 comment:

MaineMom said...

Todd is the best! He's a hero in my book (and my book is VERY hard to get into).

This is such a great goal by him, and one that is achievable. If anything, these kids need good shoes. Any sort of infection on their feet is not a good thing, especially since medical supplies are virtually non-existent.

I'd love to get shoes for all 84 kids!!