In Ethiopia we celebrate Christmas on January 7th. This year we were very lucky to have a generous donation from two longstanding Canadian sponsors to lay on some festivities for our kids. However we thought we could make the donation stretch to help the children even less fortunate than those in our shelters; there are still over 1500 children living on the street in Gondar.
Our plan was to have a big Christmas lunch with traditional food and entertainment in one of the local halls and invite the street kids along for a big party.
We handed out tickets to the kids we know to be those most in need and made preparations for the big day with ‘Shakespeare’ a local volunteer theatre group, who work with children to encourage creativity and teach them important lessons about HIV/AIDS through drama.
We’d initially planned for 150 kids to come but on the day, the door was jammed with kids of all ages all keen for a good meal and party. The kids with tickets came in first and enjoyed the music put on by Shakespeare. There was a really good mood all around, especially when we dished up food and a free t-shirt for them all. Rarely can so many kids have been so well behaved!
Visitors from Social Affairs also came down to visit and were charmed by all the good things going on. A big plus as we want as much support as we can from them to build our Home for Tomorrow, to find a home for these kids.
One of the most touching moments came when we let in more kids when we still had plenty of food left over. Inevitably they wanted t-shirts too but there were none left to go around. The kids from our shelters took their new t-shirts off their backs to give to the youngest of them. A moment that made us all very proud.
The afternoon was rounded off with music, singing and a talent contest, that included a Ms. Yenege Tesfa contest (with Leilt and Selamoit vying for the title), one of the deaf boys dancing and getting the crowd to sway, and a hilarious rendition of 50 Cent from one of the street boys – with everyone cheering and playing along.
It was a wonderful day, something we hope to do again next year. It was so nice to be able to give the kids a special day, at a time of year when family is so important. A massive thank you to our Canadian friends for making all this possible with their donation, and all our volunteers on the day for making it such a great success.