Tales From the Field by Trish Hack-Rubinstein

Tales From the Field by Trish Hack-Rubinstein

Couldn't be happier!

Couldn’t be happier!

November 21, 2014

I arrived in Addis Ababa, very early on Thursday morning and after checking in to a very beautiful and cozy guest house, headed to the school. The children are thriving! The care and love they receive at school is overwhelming and is what keeps me coming back to the school time and time again. Because of the work Muday is doing with this one school in Ethiopia the world is already a better place.

We have 10 new students this year which brings the number of children being kept off the streets to 170. Some of the students have returned after having attended kindergarten but not being able to continue their education because they were students at Fresh and Green before we started increasing grade levels. It is wonderful to see children, that had the cards stacked against them after kindergarten, with an increased sense of enthusiasm and a renewed spirit.


Education is a Right not a Privilege

Unfortunately, in many developing nations education is not available to all children. While compulsory and free in Ethiopia, schools are not attended by all children. Books and uniforms must be purchased and meals are not provided. Many children work at an early age by shining shoes, selling trinkets, or begging to help feed their families. In the rural areas of Ethiopia many children work as sheep herders but dream of attending school and going to the city for a better life.

Thanks to many generous donors, the children at Fresh and Green are getting a chance at that better life. And with the gift of education anything is possible. These children can truly make a difference in this world and have already made a difference in my life!


We are Making Progress but Still Need Your Help!

We are Making Progress but Still Need Your Help!

Now, thanks to your generous donations, the security wall is back up keeping the school safe and giving the children a place to play.

Thanks to your donations, the new security wall is complete.

Thanks to your donations, the new security wall is complete.

We still need your help to rebuild the block of classrooms that was partially destroyed. The building needs to be completely torn down, moved and rebuilt in brick. This project will cost close to $10,000.

To make things even more challenging….. The land that the school sits on is going up for sale in a few months. Fortunately, we have been given the opportunity of first refusal and a discounted price in order to keep Fresh and Green Academy operating, but we can’t do it without you.

The immediate financial needs are as follows in USD:

$106,000. for the purchase of the 732 sq meters of land including the main school building, which houses the principal and director’s offices, library, science lab, and classrooms for 5th through 8th grade. The kitchen, Mothers Coop area, showers and bathrooms, and director’s home are also included in the price.

$10,000. for the relocation and the rebuilding of the first through fourth grade classrooms. Government regulation requires the building to be reconstructed in brick which raises the construction price significantly.

$2,500. to purchase new desks.

To see the school and it’s needs check out our video.

To donate specifically to theses projects you can use the button below. As always, your donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for making a difference.


Upgrades at Fresh and Green Academy!

Upgrades at Fresh and Green Academy!

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/Kindergarten Building

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

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.

A Generation of Fatherless Children

A Generation of Fatherless Children

In 2005, Ethiopia had 4,414,000 orphans, the second-highest number in Africa. You could easily double if not triple that number to determine the number of Ethiopian children being raised without a father or a significant male member of their household.Among our 90 students, the number with an adult male living permanently in the household could be counted on one hand. For both the boys and the girls, it is a tragedy born of the AIDS epidemic and a patriarchal society. I say this without judgment, only stating the facts that I have witnessed and researched.

This picture was taken by Francesco, who along with Todd, comprised the two male volunteers on the April trip to the Academy. Both of them are young single men in their 20s, but they seem to me to be “old souls,” natural-born fathers, the kind who will be “hands-on” dads. Watching them interact with the kids was a delight for me, but for the children themselves, their presence must have been something altogether different.

Only time will tell how this generation of Ethiopian children will fare without fathers or father-figures. My hope is that, for the kids at the Academy at least, they will benefit from the example set by Anteneh, Muday’s husband, and their friend Hilu. Both are teachers at the local high school, and both of them spend a lot of time with the kids. Certainly the men who volunteer with Friends of Fresh and Green (including Trish’s husband, Gregg) provide wonderful examples of how a man can be both strong and nurturing at the same time.

Muday speaks highly of a local man, a pilot for Ethiopian Airlines, who regularly stops by and takes some of the boys home to play with his own children. There are trekkers who stop by the Academy often (it is a Geo-Cache site http://www.geocaching.com). All in all, Fresh and Green Academy students have more exposure to positive, male role models than many of their peers.

On this Father’s Day eve, I want to recognize all the men who are working and have worked so hard to make a difference in the lives of the children. There are many of you, including my own dad (and Trish’s dad) who taught us the value of “giving back.” And I want to acknowledge all the male sponsors, who are providing support “behind the scenes” as it were. Although the children may not know you by name, you are making a difference in their lives nonetheless.

Kathleen Murphy Vilicich, Vice President

Fresh and Green Academy: An Oasis for Our Students

The students who attend Fresh and Green Academy live in poverty that is unimaginable for most of our visitors. Even those who have been to impoverished areas and who have familiarity with life in the Third World are sobered by the reality of the challenging situation they find when they visit a student’s home.

     Bogale Kumela is a first-grader at Fresh and Green, along with his brother, Wakigra. He lives with his eight siblings and two parents in a six-by-six foot “apartment.” In this tiny space, eleven people live, eat, sleep, and cook. There is no electricity or plumbing. The floor is rocky dirt, and the tin roof does not keep the rain out.
     Approaching Bogale’s home, the driver has to stop on the main road. It’s too bumpy to continue. On the left side of the road are what looks like rows and rows of henhouses, corrugated tin shacks about 12 feet wide by sixty feet long. Each building is divided into ten “apartments,” each housing a large family like Bogale’s. The path between each set of buildings is about four feet wide and serves as both sewer and entry way.
     In order to reach the buildings one must cross over a rushing culvert on a rickety bridge with no railings. The bridge is not made out of boards, it is rounded tree branches wedged in together with maybe one or two screws to hold it together. In the rainy season, the slick bark of the branches makes the crossing seem perilous, and yet it is the only way for the residents to access their home.
     Bogale’s mother, Arakash, does not participate in the Mother’s Cooperative. She spends her days combing Addis Ababa’s meager trash piles in order to find food and items to sell. And Bogale has an older brother, Fakahdu, who has cerebral palsy. Whenever possible, Arakash takes him along, but sometimes she must lock him in their apartment because he cannot navigate the rocky roads she must travel to scavenge. Bogale’s other siblings beg for food. Sadly, Bogale’s father does not contribute much to the family’s income. He drinks with whatever money he brings in by begging.
     Bogale and Wakigra walk an hour-and-a-half each way to attend school at Fresh and Green, where they are fed three nutritious meals a day and an outstanding education that will help them stop the vicious cycle of poverty into which they were born.
     Fresh and Green Academy is truly an oasis, a life-enriching and beautiful place for our students to come every day. Your donations make this possible. Thank you for visiting the site, and if you are so inclined, make a donation so that together, we may continue to make a difference in a world so very, very different from our own.