All the things! Selamta Family Dinners and then some...

It's official! Selamta Family Dinners are happening worldwide. 

September 15th (TODAY!) - October 15th! 

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Some of our supporters were so excited to get started they already hosted their dinner in Rhode Island. Check out Elizabeth and Ruth's experience hosting a Selamta Family Dinner in Providence. They included some Ethiopian dishes but that's not a requirement. Whether it's PB&J, pizza delivery or a 7 course spread, it's YOUR dinner for YOUR friends and family that supports OUR Forever Families. Register to host a dinner today and we'll get your Host Kit in the mail ASAP. If you can't host until after October 15th, contact us and we'll help! 


Florida Friends - The Selamta Family Dinner Event scheduled for September 23rd will be rescheduled due to recovery from Hurricane Irma. We'll keep you posted!

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Speaking of Hurricane Irma, our Florida Headquarters was hit hard on Sunday, September 10th. Located in Lake Placid, FL, our county, Highlands County, was one of the worst hit by the historic storm. As of this post, power is still out in 75% of the county and the clean up is extraordinary. School has been cancelled through most of next week already. We ask for your prayers and support as we work with our neighbors to put things back together.

Taking lessons from our Selamta Families who face power outages and overwhelming challenges on a regular basis, we are pulling together, sharing what we have and loving each other back to wholeness. 

Restoring wholeness and holistic care is the hallmark of Selamta Family Project.

We've had an incredible opportunity offered to Selamta Youth, Yezena. She was invited to participate in a summer program at Brewster Academy in Wolfboro, NH. She was welcomed and had an amazing experience. While spending the summer months in the US, Yezena was invited to represent girls around the world who now have access to education through our partner, She's the First at their Annual STF Summit in New York City. 

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After returning to Maine with her amazing Heart & Home Family Sponsors, Matt Donovan & Anne Merra, Yezena was offered a full scholarship to attend Brewster Academy in the fall. She was THRILLED with the offer and started the process to get her travel visa converted to a student visa. But as quickly as we celebrated this extraordinary gift, Yezena became ill. What we first thought was a stomach bug, quickly turned more serious and Yezena was taken to Boston Children's Hospital. They discovered that she had serious issues with her kidney and urinary system. We are thankful to report that Yezena has gone through 2 surgeries to repair her system and is currently recovering at Boston Children's. It's an absolute miracle that Yezena was in the US to receive this care right when she needed it. We ask for your prayers and support as Yezena continues to heal. We also ask for your prayers and support as we walk through the visa process so Yezena can fulfill the tremendous opportunity offered to receive an education at Brewster Academy. 


Throwback pic of Menelik House celebrating in 2008 (ET 2001). 

Throwback pic of Menelik House celebrating in 2008 (ET 2001). 

We want to wish all of our Selamta Families and Friends a very Happy New Year - Ethiopian New Year!

It's now 2010 in Ethiopia. Learn a little more about dates and time in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is such an extraordinary place! And we're privileged to serve some of the most extraordinary people on the planet! 

 

We don't take for granted the gifts and opportunities presented to Selamta and the families we serve. You make this work possible. You are changing lives and changing our world, one Forever Family at a time. 

Rhode Island Kicks Off Selamta Family Dinners

Guest post by Heart & Home Sponsor and Volunteer, Elizabeth Mitchell

Providence Rhode Island - Dinner co-hosts Elizabeth Mitchell and Ruth Kiros pictured middle

Providence Rhode Island - Dinner co-hosts Elizabeth Mitchell and Ruth Kiros pictured middle

I'd say that our Selamta fundraising dinner was a huge success!

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Huge returns for our effort, huge amounts of fun had by all, and huge servings of delicious Ethiopian food! I Overall, I'm impressed by how easy it was to set up. (Granted, I was not the person up until 2am preparing food the night before...ahem...Ruth.) I reached out to my coworker Ruth soon after receiving the original solicitation email -- we had recently discovered our shared connection to Selamta and I figured that it would be a lot easier to set up a fundraising dinner with a co-host than by myself. (Expert tip: it was.) Ruth/her mom graciously offered to make some home-cooked Ethiopian food, which really was all we needed to make it an "event." After that...it was just a matter of setting up the fundraising page (here - so easy!) and sending out a few emails. 

We set an ambitious fundraising goal of $1000 -- we only would have hit if if we had the maximum attendance (20 people) and they all donated on the high end of our suggested range ($25-$50). (We originally set the suggestion at $50, but we didn't want to set expectations for the dinner to be way fancier than our plans!) So we were thrilled to raise $800+!! We invited mostly coworkers. I added some local friends in Providence and Ruth invited the Ethiopian community in Boston. We were hoping for a few more people to come in person -- but a smaller crowd made it easier for everybody to learn how to use the injera and to share their favorite travel stories! It really helped break through some of the barriers we have as coworkers! 

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Some suggestions I'd make to anybody planning an event: invite as many people as you can (we perhaps limited ourselves by focusing mostly on coworkers), call around to find St. George's beer well in advance (it was impossible to find day of), and double-knot your balloons -- otherwise you'll be sad that they fly away before the event starts!

And really my final advice is -- just do it! It seemed scary and overwhelming at first to host a fundraising dinner (so adult!) -- but once we just set up the fundraising page and set expectations that people would be eating off paper plates while sitting on a couch, it seemed so much more manageable. Just a group of friends hanging out -- and it gave our coworkers and friends a great opportunity to demonstrate just what awesome people they are with their willingness to donate to such a great cause! 

We look forward to hearing about the success of more events!!

It's Summer Camp Time!

We’ve completed week one of English Summer Camp at Selamta Family Project, and it has been AWESOME. A total of 49 youth have come out to Selamta’s Community Center for morning and afternoon sessions of camp, making the hub and heart of Selamta the best place to be.  

Every day our camp is led by 11 phenomenal volunteers, and our kids practice grammar, conversational English, learn about good habits and character, and have a great time with friends while expressing their creativity.   

A few thoughts from our volunteers:

“I liked how eager the kids were to learn. They really actually liked it, so that was cool.”

“It was rewarding, because they were so thankful to have us as teachers.”  

“It was great to watch students open up and speak more about their goals, what they value and their family life.”

If you’ve been to Selamta before, you know that evenings spent in family homes are the very best part of the day. This is where you really get to know our kids and families, and see what life is really like at Selamta. Dinner includes not only delicious food, but laughter, card games and Amharic lessons.

One group of volunteers were convinced to teach the family the macarena by Ermias, who said, “You can’t say no. My mother wants to learn, and you have to respect your elders.”

“I feel like I’m at home because the kids are welcoming, inviting and inclusive.”

 

Selamta Family News - May 2017

International Day of the Family 

Our new favorite holiday is Monday, May 15th. We're celebrating International Day of the Family by inviting our community of supporters to bring a meal to the table. A small gift of $25 will provide two meals for a family of 10. 

Give a gift that honors someone you love for Mother's Day or International Day of the Family. As you make a donation, simply click "Dedicate my donation in honor or in memory of someone" to select one of these ecards and write a personalized message to your honoree. 


Beautiful Transitions

Change is never easy but it can be beautiful. Last month, we welcomed Tamrat Kebede to lead Selamta Family Project in Ethiopia as our Ethiopian Country Director. He's been amazing! 

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But in order to welcome Tamrat, we had to wish Abel Solomon well as he moved into a new career. The beauty of Selamta is that family is more than a job title. Abel may not work at Selamta anymore but he will always be family. 


The crazy thing about family is that it can grow exponentially and that only makes it better. This spring, our family blossomed when a media missions team from The Archibald Project joined us to learn more about Selamta and document, in photos, written words, podcasts and videos, what Selamta is all about. 

We believe Selamta has the potential to serve many more children and families in the years to come. The team from TAP is using their gifts to share our story with the world. 

"Mariamawit is bright, talented, valuable and is irreplaceable in her family."

 Allie Chandler

"During the first weeks of becoming their mom, every night Wude would lay in a twin bed with the 4 and 8 year old sisters, hold them close as they fell asleep and helped heal their mourning hearts."

The Archibald Project

"Nati and Surafel are such typical brothers. They argued about who would be on which teams, and cheered for the other when they scored. They even invited one of their neighborhood friends to join in as well."

Allie Chandler

"In Ethiopia a seat doesn’t mean room for one more, it often means room for two or three more. This is similar to what I see in Selamta… always a way to bring more to the table. To feed more, to educate more, to care for the health needs of more, to serve more, to LOVE more."

Shannon Kirk


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Trips

Who wouldn't want to meet these kids and families in person, right? Well, you're in luck! If you're up for a little adventure, a whole lotta love and the best coffee on the planet, check out our Take a Trip options and see what could best fit your schedule. 

English Summer Camp

This is the 3rd summer our kids will have the chance to sharpen their conversational English skills with native English speakers. One of the most challenging things for our youth entering college is having the ability to communicate effectively in English. Their natural language, Amharic, is beautiful and complex. But to compete for the best jobs in Addis and the global marketplace, excellent English skills open many doors. 

If you're looking for something to do in August, JOIN US! 


Showing Up - Family Sponsors, Aidan and Midori

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Aidan and Midori, from New Hampshire, have been Heart & Home Family Sponsors of Hosanna House since 2009. They are also parents to several grown biological children and their adopted son from Ethiopia, Behaylu. Every time they visit Ethiopia they spend time with Hosanna House and continue to build relationships. They stay connected through emails, photos and social media when they're back in the US. Because they consider Hosanna House a part of their family, they are eager to share Selamta with the people around them. We are thankful for our many sponsors who are a part of the larger Selamta Family.

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It's with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Biruk Alemu Nedi. Biruk is a beloved son and brother of Axum House. His passing leaves us with so many emotions.  We ask for your thoughts and prayers as our Selamta families remember Biruk and the privilege of knowing and loving him.

 

Love and loss

It's with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Biruk Alemu Nedi.

Biruk is a beloved son and brother of Axum House. His passing leaves us with so many emotions.

In Biruk's short 17 years, he faced many challenges including the loss of his parents and shining shoes on the streets of Addis to get by. But in Spring of 2014, Biruk joined our Selamta family and was given the chance to be a kid again. He was an amazing soccer player and brought joy to those around him. 

The community of Selamta and the surrounding neighborhood has gathered to remember Biruk and support his family. We ask for your thoughts and prayers as our Selamta families remember Biruk and the privilege of knowing and loving him. 

Loss and grief are complicated, but most importantly, we remember that Biruk lived and is loved. He will always be an important member of our family. 

2014, the year Biruk arrived at Selamta

2014, the year Biruk arrived at Selamta

2016 soccer champions

2016 soccer champions

August, 2016

August, 2016

2017 soccer game

2017 soccer game

January 2017, Biruk hiking the Selamta mountain alongside friends and brothers

January 2017, Biruk hiking the Selamta mountain alongside friends and brothers

Biruk's Axum family: Amanuel, Selam, Tefared, Auntie Genet, Biruk, Mahlet, Mama Bichawork, Tigist Not pictured: Fetlework, Yoseph

Biruk's Axum family: Amanuel, Selam, Tefared, Auntie Genet, Biruk, Mahlet, Mama Bichawork, Tigist

Not pictured: Fetlework, Yoseph

BIG News at Selamta!

It is with a full heart and extraordinary gratitude that we thank Abel Solomon for 9 years of executive leadership as our Ethiopian Director at Selamta. Abel has decided to move on from his role at Selamta but he and his family will always be an important part of our Selamta Family! 

Pictured above, Abel and his family are surrounded by our Selamta Families. Our kids planned and organized a surprise party for Abel complete with skits, songs, dancing and delicious food. It was a beautiful tribute and we will always be grateful to Abel for his dedication to Selamta!


It's our honor to introduce you to Tamrat Kebede!

Tamrat has joined Selamta Family Project to lead our team as our Ethiopian Director. Tamrat brings tremendous experience to this position and has a heart for, and personal understanding of, what it's like to be considered an orphaned child. 

Tamrat is a family man, married with 3 sons and a baby girl on the way. When asked why he wanted to do this job he said,

"It's a calling. It demands your heart. When I asked why the previous country director left I was surprised he had been there for 10 years. This passion drives me to want to be a part of Selamta. God is giving me this opportunity."

My Selamta Story

by Melissa Joy Bush

"Whew! God gave me Africa at just the right time in my life!  I was headed down a one-way me street and God turned me around (or East) and sent me to Africa!

I had an opportunity to travel to the home of Selamta in Ethiopia.  From the moment we walked onto the property, the families opened their hearts, homes and hands.  I was there to teach English summer camp to several students who were eager to speak conversational English.  These students were on summer break, but chose to be a part of something special.  They came to camp each day to learn skills/strategies that would propel them towards their goals in life.  They were eager learners!  I was the most eager of all of them.  I realized quickly that I was the student - not the teacher.  These children taught me more about the love of Christ by how they welcome others despite social, physical and economic backgrounds.  They love unconditionally and refer to each and everyone as their brothers and sisters.  Isn't that what we are?  Brothers and sisters in Christ.  They're living this message out in Africa.

Joy and Surafel

Joy and Surafel

If given the chance, I would have loaded each one of those sweet babies up and brought them back on a plane with me to the US.  Is that God's best though?  Why would I want to take these treasures away from such loving mama's who care, love and nurture them everyday?  I couldn't do that to them.  So... I did the next best thing.  I chose to sponsor one.  I did.  One very cute boy named Surafel.  I always wanted a boy. God answers prayers in the neatest ways!  

We decided to do what the mama's of Selamta do everyday.  We opened our heart, home and hands to Surafel.  We accept him as one of ours and display pictures of him in our home.  We opened our hands financially to help supply food, shelter and education for him.  God took me to Africa, but Africa came home to us.  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  God's love stretches across mountains, oceans and valleys.

Join with me in an effort to create a lending library and provide funds for English language & literacy resources for these emerging English readers and speakers of Selamta.  Please open your heart, home and hands today!"

 

Inspired?

Together we can fund Selamta's Community Center and make sure our Selamta families have ALL the enrichment they need for Bright Futures.  

Selamta Family News - February 2017

2017 is already an exciting year for our Selamta Families!

In December Yezena, age 15, was brought to the US by our partner, She's the First, to take part in Glamour's Women of the Year Awards. Yezena shared her hopes for the future while representing girls around the world who now have access to education and bright futures. She was also able to tour US high schools and universities on the east coast while visiting many friends and Selamta supporters.  

 

Selamta Ambassadors - Emily and Lily served our families and staff in December and January by helping with college applications and written English language skills. Both made a lasting impact on our kids and staff and their projects live on as we wait for the first acceptance letter from US universities. Bilal, Haile Selassie House, is our first Selamta youth to apply to study abroad. Bilal took the SAT in the spring and has always been a strong student. He hopes to study world economics.  

 

Let Your Light Shine Bags - This Christmas, celebrated on January 7th in Ethiopia, all of our Selamta youth in Forever Families and our Outreach Program, received gift bags from our extended family at First Baptist Church in Lake Placid, FL. Each bag was stuffed with something special for that child along with notes of encouragement and prayer to remind them that friends halfway around the world are thinking of them and praying for them everyday.

 

Computer Lab - Through the extraordinary generosity of Steve and Claudia Franklin and Red Cross Ethiopia, our Selamta Community Center is now equipped with a fully-functioning computer lab including 9 work stations and internet access. This computer lab is a gateway to bright futures focusing on English language development, keyboarding, Critical Thinking online courses through Mawi Learning and expanded educational opportunities with our partner, She's the First.

Sami and Meski, 1st year university students

University Student Laptops - We are thankful to our incredible supporters who made it possible for our university students to have laptops. To the Barry Family who put the challenge on the table, for each person that sponsored a laptop at the Donovan's dinner party, and the volunteers it took to purchase, prepare and hand carry them to Ethiopia, we want to say a massive thank you! Twelve students now have academic resources at their fingertips to help them reach success. 

 

 "This laptop will be of great importance for me. I will be able to copy and read materials from other sources. Also, instead of printing materials, I will be able read using this laptop. That will save money and time. It will be easier for me to take notes. With this laptop I will improve my results. Thank you so much!" - Sami

 

Honor and Celebrate

Selamta has always been blessed with the most extraordinary people to serve our families. Even when a team member moves on, they stay connected to our families because the relationships they build are real and lasting. We want to honor the contributions of former team members, Dureti  and Yonas. They are treasured family members and all of us at Selamta would not be where are without their leadership and expertise.

We are thrilled to welcome our newest team members to the Selamta Family:

       Habtie  Muluye - Ethiopia Assistant Director

       Habtie  Muluye - Ethiopia Assistant Director

Please join us in congratulating Habtie Muluye, promoted to Assistant Director. Habtie has been an incredible part of our team as Outreach Social Worker. Habtie's dedication to our families, leadership among his peers and strong communication skills are the perfect combination for success in this position. 

 

 

What's Next? 

The Archibald Project - Their media team is taking a trip to Selamta. Look for great stories, images and videos coming out in March - follow Selamta and TAP on Instagram

English Summer Camp - Don't miss this opportunity to serve in Ethiopia! Not only will you get to hang out with the coolest kids on the planet and eat all the amazing food, your gift to our families is your language. Conversational English skills are the secret sauce to bright futures for our youth. Join us for 2, 4 or 6 weeks to be a small group counselor for English Summer Camp. Space is limited and we're accepting applications through May.

Semester Break Shenanigans - Our Forever Families showcased their smarts at our Question & Answer Competition during semester break in February. Each house nominated 2 youth to compete.  Surafel, of Tewodros House, took home the honors! 

Amazon Smile - Did you know that you can support Selamta while you shop on Amazon? Log into Amazon Smile, select Selamta Family Project and start shopping! Amazon will donate a portion of your shopping cart to Selamta. Doing good has never been so easy.