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Aerie Africa, Inc.

1249 Hazelwood Drive
Fort Washington
PA 19034
USA
Make checks payable to Aerie Africa, Inc

Email: bridgedr8@gmail.com

 
 

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

- Mahatma Gandhi

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who do I contact about becoming a sponsor or if I have questions about Aerie Africa?
    Please e-mail Aerie Africa @: aerieafrica@comcast.net
  • How can I help if I am not a sponsor?
    Our annual sponsorship donations cover about 60% of our budget. We welcome all contributions, small and large, to help meet the needs of the children at the home.  You can donate by clicking the donate button at the top of the page or you can write a check and mail it to the address on the Contact Us page.  If you're interested in more information about specific projects or needs, please email Aerie Africa at aerieafrica@comcast.net.
  • How much does it cost to become a sponsor?
    The annual sponsor donation is $900.  This amount can be paid in one lump sum annually, or other arrangements can be made. Sponsors are additionally encouraged to send 1 small package per year.  The cost of shipping a package can be $25-35, not including the cost of what is inside.
  • Can more than one family sponsor the same child?
    We do have a few children who are sponsored by two families. Some of them know each other and work together on their packages and letters and some do not.
  • Why should sponsors send an annual package?
    Packages serve two purposes. First, the small items, (ie. toothbrushes, clothing, etc) provide essential materials for the children. Second, the personal letters and photos that are sent become treasures for the children as the items are uniquely theirs.  The children have personal photo albums and they love putting new pictures in those albums.
  • How often should I send a package?
    A sponsor can send a package as often as they like, however, we encourage that sponsors send at least one package per year in September.  September is a big holiday month in Ethiopia (Sep. 11 is Ethiopian New Year and the last weekend of September is a big holiday called Meskal).  Students also start school during this month.  It's a great time for kids to receive a new t-shirt or some small school supplies.  The kids love to receive letters and photos all year long.
  • What should I include in a package?
    Because September is the month of starting school, kids love to receive a few small school supply items, like special pencils, erasers, sharpener, etc.  The kids can always benefit from some simple clothing items like a t-shirt, socks, etc. or a new toothbrush.  You can also check out a more detailed suggestion list here.
  • What about sending photos and letters?
    Each child has their own photo album to hold the pictures (4X6) and notes that you send. English reading and writing skills vary widely among the children and staff. If your child is still developing these skills, older children will translate and help them write letters back to you.  The kids love receiving mail and a short note and a photo of your family is quite simple and cheap.
  • How do I know if my package was received?
    It can take 3-6 weeks for packages to arrive in Soddo, Ethiopia. Mail is quite efficient getting to Addis Ababa, but the efficiency sometimes breaks down on the trip from Addis Ababa to Soddo.  The children are encouraged to write letters back to you after they receive a package, so you could expect these letters between 6-10 weeks after you've mailed your package.  If you don't receive a letter from your sponsored child, or you're just curious about the arrival of your package, feel free to email us at aerieafrica@comcast.net and we'll gladly follow up.  You can also contact Nathan Haines directly at nfhaines@gmail.com
  • How do I stay informed with the progress of my child and the orphanage in general?
    Please check this web site for updates, our blog at aerieafrica.wordpress.com,  and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AerieAfrica.  If you have more specific inquiries, feel free to email aerieafrica@comcast.net.  You can also email Nathan Haines.  Nathan lives and works in Ethiopia and serves in a liaison role between Aerie Africa and CCC, the implementing partner.  He can be reached at nfhaines@gmail.com.
  • What is meant by the term "OVC"?
    "OVC" stands for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.  It is the term used in alternative child-care circles for a child in need of care becausehsi/her traditional parental care structure has broken down.  The UNICEF definition of an orphan is a child who has lost one or both parents.  This is the population that Aerie Africa serves at the CCC Children's Home.  The term OVC, however, recognizes that it's not just orphans who sometimes need the support of government agencies and non-government organizations.  Children can be in extremely vulnerable situations because of homelessness or poverty, just to name a couple of examples. 
  • Under what circumstances do children come to the CCC Children's Home?
    The CCC Children's Home, supported by Aerie Africa, is an orphanage.  The home is designed to provide a long-term, loving home for children who have been orphaned.  While first priority goes to children who are "double orphaned," meaning they've lost both parents, in many cases the children are "single orphaned" (loss of one parent), but for one reason or another, the living parent in unable to provide care for the child.  This can be for a variety of reasons, ranging from physical or mental illness, incarceration, or economics.  Aerie Africa recognize that instituional care should be a last-resort option.  Aerie Africa and CCC work with government departments and other non-government organizations in the region to explore other options first.  Can the child stay with a living parent if that parent is provided with some support?  Can the child remain in the family with an extended family member?  Can the child remain in the community with a neighbor or other trusted community member?  It is only after other options are exhausted, and after the approval of the regional Bureau of Women's Affairs, that a child would come to the CCC Children's Home.
  • Is Aerie Africa involved in international adoption?
    Aerie Africa is not an adoption agency and the children at the CCC Children's Home are not being considered for adoption.  This is for a variety of reasons.  Most recently, this is because international adoption programs have all but closed down in southern Ethiopia.  This has happened partly because of some high-profile cases of corner-cutting, abuse and corruption in the adoption system.  However, even when international adoption agencies were operating in southern Ethiopia, Aerie Africa was not involved.  Most of the children at the CCC Children's Home are not viable candidates for adoption.  This is often about age.  The CCC Children's Home does not accept infants.  Most often, the home only takes in children older than 4 years of age, though some exceptions have been made for 3 or 4 year olds.  The children most likely to be adopted internationally are infants, meaning that older children often languish for many years in orphanges designed only as temporary homes for infants.  Aerie Africa made the decision in its early years to focus on providing a long-term, loving home option in Soddo for children without international adoption options.  Having said that, Aerie Africa is not anti-adoption.  Aerie Africa has worked in coordination with local government and other area organizations to help pursue the best-interest of particular children.  In the past, if a child had a good chance for international adoption, and this seems the best option for that particular child, Aerie Africa advised that the child be placed in the care of an organization involved in adoption.  Aerie Africa simply recognizes that international adoption has not been a silver bullet solution for all orphaned children in Ethiopia in need of care.  Aerie Africa seeks to fill a void, by providing quality long term care for orphaned children who don't otherwise have a quality care option.
  • What care options are available for orphaned children in Ethiopia?
    The situation is different in different cities and regions throughout the country.  Aerie Africa, in partnership with CCC, works in the Wolaita Zone of the Southern Region (SNNPR).  During the past decade, international adoption has been popular in southern Ethiopia, and a number of international adoption agencies have operated in the region and supported local orphanages in the region.  In the past couple of years, the government has all but closed international adoption in southern Ethiopia. Most adoption agencies have stopped operating in the region, and many orphanages formerly supported by adoption agencies have been forced to close.  One of the downsides of international adoption is that it created a climate where other care options -- probably more affordable and sustainable care options -- were neglected, leaving a large gap in the orphan care structures in the region (and much of the country as a whole).  There are some organizations working on a small scale with options such as promoting domestic adoptions, providing support for extended-family or community-based care, or promoting local foster care networks.  These efforts are currently very underdeveloped in Wolaita; too underdeveloped to support the need for orphan care.  Aerie Africa believes that many of these ideas are worth promoting and supporting.  In the meantime, however, and likely well into the future, Aerie Africa is committed to provide loving, long term care at the CCC Children's Home for those without other care options.
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