Youth Release, Ethiopia
“Working with orphaned and Vulnerable Children in Ethiopia”
“Firstly I would like to thank you [Fr David Keating] and the WIT Meitheal committee again for your very generous donation to Youth release. Therese O'Neill got in touch on my behalf. She is a wonderful woman, who I am very fond of, and I have no doubt that the library in WIT benefits enormously from her presence.
Youth release was set up by two sisters (Niamh and Laura Power) from Kilmeaden, whilst they were studying in college up in Dublin. Niamh came with us on our volunteer trip last July. She really is an amazing young woman, and her will to help the disadvantaged is inspiring!
The centre in Dire Dawa was a very special place. There is little or nothing in the Gende Tesfa community, but the centre gives the local children what the rest of us might take for granted. Education, basic healthcare and most importantly the chance to have fun. Most of these children have lost one or both parents, are lucky to eat one meal a day, and are living in what we might describe as a hen house. Yet despite all of this, they were always smiling and always friendly.
The volunteers split into classrooms to teach the children basic English, drama and art. It was chaotic at the best of times, especially when handing out art supplies and such, but overall we all had a great time.
Volunteering in Africa exposes you to many different feelings. It would be easy to focus on confusion, anger and sadness given the circumstances that the people find themselves in, but I felt that the general positivity and the little smiling faces outweighed all the rest. The most important thing I took from our trip was the need for us all to reconnect with our inner child. To smile no matter how doleful the circumstance we may find ourselves in. To colour the sky green and the grass blue!”