To the friends and supporters of ECF,
I am delighted to update you on the progress of the ECF Children’s Fund (The Ethiopian Children's Fund) and the ECF Village in Aleltu during 2012, its thirteenth year of operation. During this past year, our third group of students graduated from high school and we enrolled 80 more destitute children into the program, increasing their numbers to 610.
Two years ago we celebrated the first graduating class of 2010. Today those students are in Universities around Ethiopia, majoring in Medicine, Law, Engineering and Journalism. The high school leaving results continue to be in the honors and these results have shown us that any child, given the right education and care can achieve so much, ECF continues to provide all students in universities with full care and guidance.
We have just completed the construction of the Gelila Assefa Puck Vocational Center (GAP Center) in partnership with Gelila Assefa Puck, an active member of the ECF Board and longtime supporter. We are very excited to launch in the coming weeks, the first phase of the vocational training programs: IT, Sewing and Design and Culinary Arts. These new programs will enable graduates of ECF and the community to learn valuable skills.
We are most thankful to Energy Assistance for funding the construction of the small irrigation project, which is now operational. The Belgian based energy company, had the objective of improving the production of traditional farming through the introduction of an irrigation scheme, which will enable ECF to irrigate an area of up to 5 Hectares of land twice a year and ultimately doubling its production.
ECF Village's Education and Development Program (ECF-EDP) in Aleltu continues to inspire us. The children's resilience in the face of grinding poverty and distress, including HIV/AIDS related problems, is truly remarkable. Their spirit of hope and optimism re-enforces our determination to reach out to more children on the brink and in great need. Our goal was to reach 500 children by the end 2010 and we have exceeded that. By September 2013 we expect to reach 700 children, as we enroll more children and continue helping thousands in our community outreach programs to the surrounding communities.
We owe much of our progress to the fruitful partnerships with dedicated individuals, businesses, development organizations and indeed the communities themselves. Our international structure remains 100% pro-bono. But as much progress as we have made, however, ECF Village does not have a secure future without an Endowment Fund and child sponsors for all the children. I appeal to all friends and supporters, individuals, organizations and businesses to come on board and help sustain ECF Village. The ECF team looks forward to continuing this joint journey of giving back and rediscovering our common good in this inter-dependant and fragile world. For those who are only now learning about ECF, we invite you to visit us on the ground or virtually. For those who are already making a difference, the board and staff of ECF are deeply appreciative and grateful for having chosen to reach out and help make a difference the ECF way.