As you may have heard, a group of the M.O.R.E. Board members just returned from a visit to Sister Senkenesh and the Medhen Social Center. Since we know many of us will not get a chance to visit the center in person, we wanted to give you a sense of what the visit entailed.
The Board Members first met with Sister and attended church with her. Afterwards, the group headed to lunch at the Center and began a fruitful discussion about issues, questions, and future needs.
During the afternoon, the group spent about 3 hours with 200 children at the Center, ranging from about age 5 to 16. The children entertained the Board Members with a wonderful program of song, dance, and even a fashion show! It was a great opportunity to spend unstructured time with the children and get to know them a bit better. The Board said they had a great time and some of them even joined in the dancing with the children!
The following morning, the group spent time with the ECDC classes at the new compound. They had a chance to observe the tutor training and learned a bit more about the objectives of that program and how well it’s been working thus far.
The Board was able to visit four classrooms and observe activities going on in each. In one of the classrooms, M.O.R.E. Board Secretary (and owner of her own preschool in New Jersey), Diane read a story to the children about the gingerbread man. Then the whole group had a blast doing a craft project related to the book.
Afterwards, the group then had a chance to see the new playground and enjoyed some playtime with the children there!
Back at the center for lunch, the Board was able to continue discussions with Sister and her program manager, Barouk, who explained the various projects he’s been working to establish for the adults in the community, including the orphan and foster parents supported by M.O.R.E. Following the meeting, Sister and Barouk took the Board on 3 home visits where they were able to visit and speak with various families involved in the Center.
On the third day in Addis, the group was able to spend the entire time chatting with Sister about the needs for her programs and the Center overall. It was amazing to have a dedicated time to speak with her directly about goals, objectives, and even finances.
In the morning, the Board focused on the IGA program. They received a full explanation of the expanded program concept (EDTC) and the current population enrolled in the program. They discussed the new building and were able to better understand the intended use and timing. Sister also explained that a group of students from the Addis Extension University are competing to be part of a select group that will actually design the EDTC building and complete all of the required drawings.
The Board also had an opportunity to visit one of the current IGA facilities and met with one of the catering co-ops that operate a restaurant at that site. Next, the Board visit a farming co-op to see how it was progressing, as it’s currently the most successful within the program.
On their way back to the Center, the board also happened to see the outside of a government primary school in the area. Then, during a late lunch, the entire Medhen staff, 6 children, and the Associate Bishop of the ECC joined the Board and presented them with certificates of appreciation and entertained them with music.
It was a great trip but the four days flew by! The Board learned a lot from their visit and we hope to share more updates about the Center, how it’s progressing and how we plan to continue and expand our support for Medhen moving forward!