Addis Hope Newsletter
Dear Friends of Addis Hope,
I am hoping that your holidays have been blessed. I regret that I must begin this letter on a rather unhappy note. Effective January 1, 2009 donations to Addis Hope will not be tax deductible.
In order to be so, Addis Hope would have to belong to the Lwanga District, (i.e., Province,) who would then take responsibility for the program’s administration, finance and personnel. As a program that began with the blessing of the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice seven years ago, it is the Ministry to which Addis Hope is primarily accountable and must remain so. Therefore, because Addis Hope is not a District project, donations to it are not eligible for tax deductions in the U.S.
On a positive note, the Addis Hope program continues to be recognized by the Christian Brothers as providing a valued service to very needy children of Addis Ababa and their families. The program is also recognized by the Ethiopian Catholic Church for helping to carry out one of the main objectives of the Church, helping to alleviate poverty among the poorest of the poor.
It is our hope that our loyal sponsors will continue to support the program. As many have said, they support the program simply because it is typical of the kind of program they feel worthy of assistance – teaching the poor gratuitously which is also the fifth vow of the Christian Brothers. I am grateful to my cousins in Massachusetts who will continue to provide administrative and website support at their own expense for the program. Please see the end of this letter for new information on how to make your donations.
On a personal note, over the last 18 months, I have experienced some unpleasant surprises and many grace-filled moments. I returned to the States in September of 2007 for my usual Addis Hope fund-raising activities and for medical check-ups. Lab tests revealed that I have non-Hodgkin lymphoma. So, instead of a planned return to Ethiopia in November, I underwent six cycles of chemotherapy at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. The grace-filled moments were witnessing the heroism of the cancer-ridden patients I met and the loving care with which we were all treated by the hospital medical personnel. The long and short of it is that I went through the chemo and was given a clean bill of health. I returned to Ethiopia this September with the stipulation that I return to the states every six months for two years as follow-up. Special thanks to the Flynn/Maher clan and the CBA Lincroft community who provided me extended hospitality and kept me in their prayers.
I arrived back in Addis Ababa on the evening of September 9th 2008 to a very warm reception by the other member of my community, Brother Kassu Fantaye, and my Addis Hope Lasallian Associate, Ruth Girmay. The first inkling of a return to the Fourth World was being approached in the airport parking lot on this late cold and rainy evening by a bedraggled young mother and her two children looking for a few coins for food. No one should have to live like that.
It is for such families that the Addis Hope program for kindergarten-age children of street families was officially begun seven years ago. Ruth has seen to it that after two successful years in the program, those children who have graduated go on to gain entrance into government schools. It has been the generosity of family, friends, colleagues and benefactors that have enabled these children to have a new lease on life through education.
It comes as no surprise that the world financial crisis has impacted severely on countries like Ethiopia, which on the United Nations Human Development Index ranks 169 out of 177. In our case, the cost of the grain teff which makes up the daily hot meal we serve the Addis Hope children has risen from 100 Ethiopian dollars for 100 pounds to 1,200 dollars for the same amount. We also had to close one of our three centers due to the substantial increase in rent. This necessitated laying off two teachers, a cook and a guard and reducing the salaries of the staff. The 80 children who normally would be attending classes in that center will have to do without. To save rent cost, we also moved our Selihome Teacher Training program into one of the two remaining centers. This certificate program trains teachers to work with children with special needs. Fifteen graduated this past July, among them several deaf mutes preparing to become teachers in programs for the deaf. We plan on this program moving up from Certificate to Diploma. Much depends on increasing tuition paying students.
It is with the realization that many of the generous Friends of Addis Hope have also been affected by the financial crisis in one way or another, that I still ask for your continued support, if you have not recently done so. Without your assistance the Addis Hope program will either have to close or be drastically cut back.
With every best wish, I remain,
Brother Gregory Flynn (Jack)
[JR: Hopefully, a few moths will escape and allow Jasper Flynn to do the Lord's work. Darn gooferment rules. Hope there's a special "reward" for these thieves.]
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