September 2014


I just returned to the States from another visit to Ethiopia. I spent a wonderful week with the children and parents in our community. Over the years, I have gotten to know them, and I always love having this one-on-one time with them. Our community is like family to me.

While there, I had the great pleasure of seeing Lelt’s new Community Center for the first time. We moved here in June, and prior to that we were in a building down the road with cramped quarters and constant water problems. Lelt Foundation has been anxiously anticipating our move into this newly constructed Center for quite some time.

I couldn’t be more excited about this new facility. The building provides 2 classrooms, a large dining room, staff offices and a dedicated music room (this practice room is being used constantly... our piano students are motivated!). We now have 2 bathrooms and a shower stall for children that do not have running water at home. Our dining room has tables and benches, so there is no more eating in plastic chairs while children balance plates on their laps. This Community Center is just a 4-minute walk from the local public school, so it is easy and convenient for our children to come and eat every day during their lunch hour. We also have a library, and a private office for counseling appointments with our staff therapist. Counseling is offered to all parents and children in our programs.

I was overwhelmed by the calm, peace and happiness I felt in this compound. But this sensation was not attained because of our new building… this was accomplished from the hard work and determination of every person inside our compound walls. Lelt’s staff works tirelessly to help the people of Kara Kore, and the community we serve works tirelessly to pull themselves and their children out of the cycle of poverty.

The nature of our work, providing assistance to severely impoverished and disadvantaged families, can be profoundly difficult. There are so many people to help, and so many have experienced such great loss. So feeling this incredible sense of calm, love and optimism inside our front gate is very enriching for me. Through your continued support, we have been able to give our community the gift of hope.

I am extremely grateful for your compassion and support.



Zewditu was born in the small town of Holeta, Ethiopia. Life was difficult for her and her 5 siblings, and food was scarce. So her family sent Zewditu to live with her uncle in Kara Kore, about 40 miles east along dusty roads. Because she worked as a domestic servant in her uncle's house, she was never able to attend school, and when she was 15 years old she was sent back to Holeta to get married.

Zewditu had a son and daughter before her husband passed away and Zewditu fell ill herself. When she became too sick to work even as a day laborer, she could not provide basic necessities for her children. She was despondent and feared for her children's lives, and this became her pattern: chronic illness, extreme poverty, and hopelessness.

Last year, Zewditu's daughter, Yordanos, was matched with a sponsor through Lelt's Children Sponsorhip Program. Yordanos started receiving a daily nutritious meal, after school tutoring sessions, and her family received food rations and medical attention. Zewditu was soon healthy enough to enroll in Lelt's Adult Education classes, where she learned to read and write. She joined Lelt's Business Creation Program and received business management training to help her start her own small business. With a micro-loan from Lelt, she opened a vegetable and dairy kiosk at the Kara Kore market and now sells cabbage, butter, cheese and eggs in town and feeds the surplus to her family. In time, Zewditu will support her family without Lelt's assistance, and will end her cycle of poverty -- thanks to her sponsor's assistance.