I’d love to share the latest updates from our Beautiful Together Orphan Prevention Care Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where we are working to keep impoverished families together by protecting children & empowering women through education, vocational training, and community support.

Four months into program kickoff: As their children are now being well cared for, the women in our program are attending this vocational training center three times a week and will be doing so for 11 months. At the end of this vocational program, they’ll receive certification, recognized by the government. This will help them to get a job at a restaurant, hotel, expat community, guest home, etc. Prior to this, these same women had few other options available to them other than begging on the streets, with their children, or doing (literally) backbreaking work, like carrying heavy bundles of sticks on their back for miles every day, which many do for years and years (a painfully common sight in Ethiopia – see more here: http://voicesofafrica.co.za/fuelwood-carriers-addis-ababa)

For the first few weeks, this program focuses on personal hygiene, helping these women to see the need to care for themselves and to present themselves well. Then they begin to learn about handling food and how the different kitchen items and tools are used. Next they begin the hands-on portion of learning how to prepare food. These images were taken the first time they learned to prepare a meal, starting with a fresh salad. Thank you to Rocio, Meserat and Matthew for shooting these for our program updates.

 

If you are not familiar with this program that we kicked off two months ago, you can read more about exactly what we are doing with this project: https://www.beautifultogether.org/project/orphan-care-center

Through our Beautiful Together Gallery Exhibit (graciously hosted by Adorama and supported by Nations Photo Lab), we raised enough to fund startup costs AND the first six months of this program. We will continue to raise more funds to keep going for the rest of the year, while we also work to enable this program to become self-sustainable over time.

Part of funds will come from the 10% of our Coco Bean Coffee Shop & Cafe proceeds, part will come from sales from my new book The Portrait Shoot Playbook, some from 50% of Lush Albums sales and more from my Kid and Family Posing Playbooks. The rest we hope to receive through donations: https://www.beautifultogether.org/project/orphan-care-center

Thank you to all of you who care about this work.