CCELA Director (Volunteer)
My first visit to Ethiopia 15 years ago sparked a driving need for me to provide care and support to the endless number of children and families living in conditions beyond desperate. I have been involved with the orphan cause ever since, in varying forms and roles, working across numerous private and Government run establishments. I also provide support, assistance and guidance to an ever-extending network of families with housing, employment opportunities, medication and education.
I first met our now daughter, Tigist, in an Bahir Dar orphanage in 2009, whilst on a short visit to Ethiopia providing aid and nursing assistance. At the time, we were content with our family consisting of 2 adult children and 2 teenage children. Forming an instant bond, we initially provided sponsorship to Tigist to ensure she received extra care and medicine. Ongoing contact over my next few visits quickly grew to love and as a family we decided to complete the adoption process to officially make her, as well as another abandoned baby, Sebla, I had met and nursed back to health, part of our family. During this process I lived in Ethiopia for 2 years between 2012-2104, working at Edget Orphanage and the Government orphanage Kibebe Teshay.
Both girls have now been settled back with our family in Australia for several years, thriving both physically and socially and gaining an invaluable education. They regularly visit with me, as well as our elder children from time to time, to keep a strong tie to their birth country.
Having been supporting CCELA since June 2016, I was approached to take over as Director in January 2017 when the privately funded orphanage faced closure. My involvement is a way for me to continue to maintain a connection with our daughters’ birth country and culture, and provide a safe, nurturing and loving home-like environment and education opportunities for the many children in our care who would otherwise be in a very different situation.
I personally visit the CCELA home every 2 to 3 months to ensure the systems and processes we have implemented are being maintained, taking much needed aid and assisting with ongoing training and education for our staff.
I am also humbled to be assisting other families to share their love, fill their hearts and grow their families through adoption, providing safe, loving homes and opportunities to the children that they welcome as their own.