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November 2004 update: The good ladies of Essex have now reached their target and I am informed that the Orphanage is now under way. I would like to offer my personal thanks to everyone who contributed. I thank you. I hope to bring you some photos of the completed building in due course. I have left this page "as was" for posterity reasons. We have now undertaken a new project, a much more ambitious project, where we are trying to make a significant difference to over 700 people in Rustenberg, South Africa. The full story can be found here. Thanks, Allen
Please buy a brick for US$10 and
HELP to BUILD these kids an ORPHANAGE
(and receive a personal thank you and
two signed ready to frame prints of
...Big rough (and roughened) boys of 14 lift up tiny children and hug
them when they cry about terrors they've known on the streets.
Now they are safe....
(Please click on for clearer picture)
Apart from PayPal's 5%, all monies donated will go directly to a remarkable lady called Tsehaye Seyonm (who needs approximately $11,000 to build an orphanage):
Dilly Meyer and her friends have been holding poetry evenings, sponsored walks and all sorts of fundraising events to help this remarkable lady. They are almost there, they just need YOUR help to make the dream a reality.
(Jan LeFèvre, who is currently sweltering in the heat of Ethiopia on a 2-year VSO stint, tells us about her extraordinary new friend Tsehaye Seyonm and her sterling efforts in rescuing street children from their plight. Read on in Jan's own words):
Tsehaye Seyonm: Rescuer of Street Children
A woman Tsehaye Seyonm cares for 30 street children and the police bring her the abandoned babies. She is feisty and fun and a real angel in our town, not averse to hitting policemen if they beat a child sleeping in a doorway - for this she was arrested and, on hearing her tale at the Dickensian-style police station, the sergeant agreed she was right and suspended the said policeman without pay!
Her home is full of children at night-time - being difficult and fun in equal portion - all sleeping in a shed she's built in her tiny compound. Big rough (and roughened) boys of 14 lift up tiny children and hug them when they cry about terrors they've known on the streets. Now they are safe. And in the day-time Tsehaye marches to schools checking that they go to school. The teachers can't praise her enough.
All land is state-owned in Ethiopia and the region has given her a large plot on the hill away from the diseases of the river, where she lives now. But, as everywhere, the neighbours don't want low life street children near them. So when her large "family" started to build the normal wood and mud house, with corrugated iron roof, the neighbours complained. Now the region says she must build with breeze blocks which will cost her 90,000 birr [£6,000] (US$11,000).
She has been on Ethiopian TV and radio and gets some support, but food / clothes / exercise books eat up most monies. Her sons both give 75% of their earnings from photography and tour guiding for the children.
I have a book about women across Ethiopia doing their Mother Theresa best.... There's 600 million people here and the only difference between 'rich' and poor is the former wear shoes! The food is not sufficient ever (yes, I have lost 29 kilos in weight!) and most men have no work.
Tsehaye is my friend. I can't think of a better place to give any money you raise.
Pictured above is Jan LeFevre and Tsehaye with some of her street children in the background.
So far local efforts (good ladies of Essex, England) have raised £4,000 (US$7,200) towards the orphanage. In her most recent letter Jan sends her thanks to everyone who has raised funds and made generous donations so far. However, Tsehaye will not be given permission to start building until she has all the necessary funding to prove that this is not just another project which will be started and not finished! We can’t let this happen, so please help us raise the final £2,000 (US$3,600). Our aim is to get all the money to Jan by 30th October. I’m sure that if we go over target the odd bed, blanket or toy will come in useful. Also we will need a small annual fund to keep the project going, current thinking is approximately £500 (US$900) to be sent out every 6 months.
Now, please, please buy a brick (or two)....
Thank you, 100% of monies will
go directly to Tsehaye Seyonm.
(Money where mouth is)
Hello, my name is Tsehaye Seyonm,
it's ok if you can't pronounce my name,
although I would like to talk to you,
but I don't want to bother you, all the same.
You see, we live in different worlds,
you and I will probably never, ever meet,
but when our souls finally get to shake their hands,
then I'll remember your amazing feat.
Because, it's true, we do live worlds apart,
but we're together on this Planet Earth,
and you wont believe the difference you can make,
you'll be amazed at how much one dollar can be worth.
Because 1 dollar will buy one brick,
so it's plain to see that ten will buy even more,
to you, it's just ten dollars,
to these orphans, it's a roof, it's a floor.
But much more than the physical structure,
there's the love that lives inside,
it's a feeling of belonging to a family,
it's going to school with a sense of pride.
Now, these children have lost their parents,
AIDS and famine have done their grim reap,
and these kids are left with nothing,
and it's the open streets on which they sleep.
And the night is full of predators,
out of the gutters, crawls the slime,
and then these kids are truly helpless,
all they've got is you (and this rhyme).
So please dig deep my friend,
pocket change can change their reality,
so go on, please make a donation,
make their world a better place to be.
Copyright Allen Jesson :) 2004
Thank you, all monies will
go directly to Tsehaye Seyonm.
PS If you make a donation you will receive
a signed copy of this poem (and The Worldishman) in a ready to frame print. Postage and materials will be paid for from my own funds. Thanks again, Allen
Payments can also be sent via post, made payable to
J LeFevre or Dilly Meyer. Home address is:
76 High Street,
PS The support has been simply marvellous. I thank every one of you. This response from Susan is fairly typical....
Again, a sincere and heartfelt
Cards are boxed
online since 1998
Let these people
know that they
are not forgotten.
Please help us to
build a safe haven