One of the main functions of Fresh and Green is to nourish the children. The children receive three meals a day everyday they are at the school, and for most of them, this is the only time they eat. Because of this fact, what started as a preschool and kindergarten school, now has classes through 5th grade!
New Preschool and Kindergarten Building
We needed to build a new structure per government regulations and the result is a new beautiful building and an upgrade of the original building. Fortunately, we were able to rent a plot of land next to the school. The new building has 6 rooms including a bathroom, teachers room, and nap room.
The three classrooms are for the preschool and kindergarten 1 and 2 classes. The main building now has a science lab and the 5th grade classroom.
Science Lab in the Original Building
The majority of funding for this project came from the money raised at “The Fourth Annual Poker/Casino Fundraiser”
Thank you for making this all possible and continuing to support Friends of Fresh and Green Academy.
Friends of Fresh and Green Academy hosted its fourth annual Casino Night on September 10, 2012, at Connolly’s in Midtown Manhattan. Over $10,000 was raised which will pay for the new addition of classrooms to enable us to add fifth grade. Many guests exclaimed that they had a great time and will be back next year!
Fresh and Green Academy, in Addis Ababa, has eight students entering fifth grade for which three additional classrooms are needed. These classrooms include a science lab, library, and general classroom. In Ethiopia, fifth through eighth grade is considered middle school. These newly constructed classrooms will be able to accommodate students for the next four years.
Thanks to money raised at this event and continued donor support, Fresh and Green Academy will also be able to admit ten new preschool children. These children now have hope for a future, which includes a well-rounded education and three nutritious meals daily.
The evening’s highlights included a poker & blackjack tournament, and new to this year, roulette tournament. Guests played for prizes while enjoying a full open bar and appetizers. Tickets to see Madonna in concert were among prizes in the roulette tournament. Along with the tournament, a raffle enticed guests to donate more money to the school with a chance to win prizes such as a Proenza-Schouler handbag, Stella & Dot jewelry and more.
Every guest who attended received a goodie bag that was filled with samples, including Scentsy and Lancome products, air plants from Lulindi, promotional coupons, and Friends of Fresh and Green playing cards.
Robert Essel from Robert Essel Photography was taking photos all night, which can be seen here.
Friends of Fresh and Green Academy would like to thank all attendees, volunteers, donors, and businesses that donated goods and services to make this year’s Casino Night a huge success for such a crucial cause.
Please watch for information on holiday fairs and other fundraising campaigns to ensure that Fresh and Green Academy and its 125 brilliant children continue to thrive!
Re posted from the Friends of Fresh and Green blog http://friendsoffreshandgreen.blogspot.com/
Since this was written we lost another very bright young student. Goday (pictured here) is the mother of one of our students, who recently went to Beirut to work. Her daughter, Kalkidan, has gone to the countryside to live with her Grandmother and is no longer attending school.
We work hard to help the mothers earn a livable income by selling their crafts but sometimes do fall short.
With your help we can prevent more children from having to leave the school and deter their mothers from falling prey to the allure of a better life that 8 times out of 10 turns out to be a life of slavery and abuse.
You can help by making a donation directly to the mothers cooperative today.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2011
Human Trafficking Hits Home
Being an international flight attendant brings me many opportunities. One being my calling in Ethiopia. Another perk of my job is the exposure I have to a multitude of hotel rooms around the world and in those rooms I often watch CNN International. Currently CNN is running a campaign on stopping human trafficking. I have to admit, I was not aware of the many means humans are trafficked. I was under the impression it was mainly women and children being kidnapped and forced into the sex trade. I have learned that it is so much more than that and that some of our mothers in the “Friends of Fresh and Green Mothers Cooperative” have fallen prey to trafficking.We work very hard to sell the Mother’s goods and we send the group, which consists of fifty women, 100% of the money
We work very hard to sell the Mother’s goods and we send the group, which consists of fifty women, 100% of the money made, but it is still not enough for them to feed their children who do not attend Fresh and Green and themselves and pay the $20-$25 a month rent. So a few of them have gone to work in Yemen and other Gulf countries to work as live-in domestic help. They feel this is the only way to provide a better life for their children, who are left behind in Ethiopia.Unfortunately, four such children have had to leave Fresh and Green to stay with family outside the area of the school. These children may not be attending school or eating regularly the way they were while with us.
Unfortunately, four such children have had to leave Fresh and Green to stay with family outside the area of the school. These children may not be attending school or eating regularly the way they were while with us.
The other major issue with these women leaving is the abuse many suffer.
While I was told stories of abuse I thought they were isolated situations, I did not understand how wide spread and severe the situation really is. Human trafficking is hitting very close to home!
If you would like to donate to the Mothers Cooperative visit our website. We will also be featuring some of the items the mothers create on our site very soon.
Below is an excerpt from a story by Marina de Regt of the Netherlands, that explains the situation well.
Ethiopian women increasingly trafficked to Yemen
by Marina de Regt
Few know about the large numbers of Ethiopian women who migrate to the Middle East to take up domestic work.
“May what happened to me not happen to you,” begins a letter sent to Gebetta, a magazine for Ethiopians in Yemen. Many women have written to Gebetta with testimony of how they were trafficked to Yemen to be employed as domestic workers.They speak of deception, isolation, maltreatment, heavy workloads, unpaid salaries, confiscated passports and physical and psychological abuse. Many regret ever deciding to leave and advise other women not to follow in their footsteps. But the flow of young Ethiopian women desperate to improve their lives and those of their families continues to grow.
They speak of deception, isolation, maltreatment, heavy workloads, unpaid salaries, confiscated passports and physical and psychological abuse. Many regret ever deciding to leave and advise other women not to follow in their footsteps. But the flow of young Ethiopian women desperate to improve their lives and those of their families continues to grow.
Until the early 1990s few Ethiopians – except those of Muslim/Arab origin – were interested in going to the Middle East. After the overthrow of the authoritarian regime of Mengistu Haile Meriam in 1991, Ethiopians were given the right to free movement. Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have subsequently become major destinations for Ethiopian women in search of a better future.
Even a relatively poor country such as Yemen attracts many female Ethiopian migrants who take up paid domestic work. Changing family structures, the increased educational levels of Yemeni women, the growing number of employed women and changing attitudes towards domestic work explain the increased demand for domestic labour in Yemen.
Socio-cultural constraints prevent Yemeni women from working as domestics – so migrant women meet the demand. Wealthier Yemenis prefer to employ Asian women but middle-class families predominantly employ Ethiopians because they are available and seen as good domestic workers. Somali refugee women also work as domestics but, unlike Ethiopians, do not generally ‘live in’.
Many Ethiopian women come to Yemen on tourist visas and find work via relatives and friends. Those illegally recruited by agents and employed on a contract basis are particularly vulnerable. All of the many recruitment agencies that arrange Ethiopian women’s employment as domestic workers to the Middle East are non-registered, they can be considered traffickers.
Women are approached by the traffickers themselves or are introduced to traffickers through friends, neighbours and relatives. Trafficked women themselves are sometimes even involved in recruiting other migrants. Traffickers are often either of mixed descent – having a Yemeni father and an Ethiopian mother – or areYemenis born or brought up in Ethiopia. The Yemeni authorities lack the capacity to control the activities of illegal recruitment agents and it is often the case that traffickers are able to use influence with people in power to ensure that any legal actions against them are halted.
Women who have borrowed money from the agent or broker may end up in debt bondage, required to work long periods before they are able to pay off their debts. Many women have great difficulty leaving their employers and agents and physical abuse is common. Employers and agents often confiscate the women’s passports and forbid them to leave their place of employment unaccompanied.
This makes it impossible for women to look for better jobs, to escape or to have contact with other Ethiopians. Trafficked women may, however, become aware of their rights and decide to run away and find better jobs. Some families therefore prefer to employ young rural Ethiopian women as they are thought to be more malleable and less likely to leave. As a result, traffickers in Ethiopia are purposely recruiting young uneducated women from poor families in rural areas, convincing them with stories about high salaries and educational opportunities.
Please spread the word, tweet and post to your Face Book page. We can not ignore what happens to our fellow humans, we are more connected than we realize.
Friends of Fresh and Green Academy board members Trish Hack-Rubinstein, Gregg Rubinstein, Lyuba Halkyn, and International Foodie and Writer, Elyse Pasquale spent the week of April 24, 2011 with the amazing children at Fresh and Green Academy. The group arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the evening before Easter, an important holiday for the Ethiopian Orthodox population. Orthodox ceremonies and festivities took place throughout the night and into the day of Easter.
At the start of the school week the board consulted with Ms. Muday Mitiku, director of Fresh and Green Academy, about the immediate needs of the school and its students. Construction of a new bathroom facility, which includes a separate boys and girls restroom, was a top priority and approved. The former bathroom facility was substandard and dilapidated. New facility construction began immediately after board approval. A team of eight to ten donkeys brought supplies to the school mounted on their backs lead by their herder. “It was such an unusual sight for us, as Westerners, to see how a construction project is actually implemented in a developing nation in a local community of a capital city,” stated Lyuba Halkyn. The new bathroom facility was complete by the end of the week.
Throughout the week, Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, Chiropractor, spent time with the children, their mothers, Fresh and Green Academy staff, and other locals who heard of his expertise. He performed Chiropractic Adjustments in addition to explaining aspects of overall health and wellness.
The children at Fresh and Green Academy continue to develop and demonstrate that they love to learn and flourish in their school environment. They enjoy playing games with the volunteers and are always eager to show off their written assignments and their verbal knowledge of educational and creative material. The visiting group joined in and participated in Ethiopian children’s games and taught the children some common games played in the U.S. By the end of the week the children of Fresh and Green Academy requested Western games, such as the Hokey Pokey and Follow the Leader, during times of free play.
The second and third graders attend a music class several times a week, in which a very talented music instructor teaches them how to play keyboards in addition to a more technical aspect of music theory. The music teacher assists the children to demonstrate their knowledge of the material presented, and inspires their musical creativity.
The visiting volunteers took pictures of each child with a Polaroid sticker camera and made cards for each of them to take home. The children were excited to be able to have a photo of themselves, as school photos and cameras are a luxury.
At the end of the week, when it was time to return to New York, the group regretted saying goodbye to the children. “It is always difficult for us, as volunteers, to explain to the kids that we have been here all week and now must return to our own realities. On the flip side, knowing that I will return and visit the kids sometime later this year, makes parting a little bit easier. The children’s growth and development, thanks to an excellent educational facility and three nutritious meals provided daily by the school, aids in their overall well being,” shares Lyuba Halkyn of her experiences at Fresh and Green Academy.