By Marisa Stam, Executive Director
You are our inspiration for our 2016 vision.
Your dedication to our organization and the Selamta families we serve fills us with hope, love and drive to do more—to expand our impact—every day.
We shared some incredible successes with you in our 2015 year-end newsletter. Determined to build on those, we see tremendous potential in 2016.
Expanding our Outreach
While we seek to enhance the opportunities for our Forever Families, we are also growing and developing our Outreach Program. Selamta has always offered both restorative and preventative care to families at risk of breaking apart through our Outreach Program.
In 2016, we plan to dedicate a full-time social worker to our Outreach Families, who will visit them regularly and offer access to many of the workshops and opportunities provided to Forever Family Homes. To do this effectively, we need to add a van, driver, social worker and development materials to our overall program. In 2015, we served 33 children across 16 families in Addis Ababa through our Outreach Program. At the start of 2016, we welcomed an additional five families, including nine children to our Outreach Program, totaling 21 families and 42 children.
It's our desire to see these families move from their point of crisis, into education and employment and, eventually, on to self-sufficiency.
Emphasis on English
Educationally, our kids are thriving. With seven students at university, two of whom will graduate this spring, we're learning more about how to prepare our youth in primary and secondary school for this next phase of life.
Ethiopian students must take National Exams to continue their education in grades 8, 10 and 12. English language is an important part of their education as many of their grade school classes are taught in English. The National Exams are in English and all university courses are also taught in English. Having access to reading material and native English speakers is very important.
Kindling A Passion for Reading
In mid-February, our kids were blessed with an extraordinary gift! Dale Copps, founder of bookaworld, donated 101 fully loaded Kindle e-readers to Selamta students. Each Kindle contains 1000 books in both Amharic and English. This gift is like providing a full library to each of our kids! Prior to receiving the Kindles, Selamta began a reading program in our Forever Family Homes. Each child is challenged to read 20 minutes per day. Studies show that reading 20 minutes per day increases vocabulary, improves standardized test scores and increases income potential substantially. Between the new Kindles and our Community Center library, Selamta kids now have more access to reading material and bright futures than ever before.
SAT Prep for Success
We recently discovered that international universities consider Ethiopia an English academic country even though the recognized language in Addis Ababa is Amharic. Because there are over 80 languages across Ethiopia, English has become the common denominator. Any students who wish to apply for university outside of Ethiopia, must take the SAT. We are now offering SAT prep for high-achieving students. Our current Selamta Ambassador, Jonas, is meeting with students 3 times a week to build vocabulary and prepare for their first SAT test.
We’ve Moved…Down the Street
We have a new Community Center! We're still located in the Bethel Neighborhood of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but we relocated a block down the street in mid-December.
Our new facility has gathering space on the first floor including a living room, large dining table, library, future computer lab, clinic and kitchen. The first floor is the hub of Selamta life and where many celebrations, workshops and activities take place. The second floor is office space for our outstanding, dedicated staff and the third floor hosts our volunteers and ambassadors who travel to Ethiopia to serve our families.
Do You Love Teenagers?
Last summer, we started our first English Summer Camp over the school break for primary and secondary school students. Do you love teenagers, speak English and want to experience something life-changing? This year, we will continue with English Summer Camp and we invite you to join us in Ethiopia. There will be three teams assembled in two-week sessions to facilitate our six-week English Summer Camp:
- July 8 - July 22
- July 22 - August 5
- August 5 - August 19
Visit the Trips Page of our website for more information and to complete the online application.
Selamta Family Project would not be possible without your generous support and encouragement. We are grateful for your willingness to come alongside our families, sponsor our children and send your love halfway around the world. We hope you will share the work of Selamta with family and friends so our team can serve even more of the 4 million orphaned and abandoned children still in need of stable, loving family homes.
Forever Families. Bright Futures. Together.