Events and Articles

Hanna’s Orphanage Christmas Cards

The Hanna’s Orphanage Christmas cards are back! The fantastic range of designs were created by some of the children at Hanna Orphans Home, as well as children from a local primary school connected with Cass Business School.

The perfect way to send your festive greetings and support Hanna’s Orphanage at the same time, getting your hands on some is as easy as clicking here (free P&P).

A Volunteer’s Highlights From 2018

Mariam, a volunteer from 2018 was asked for her trip highlights. Here’s a selection of what stood out for her:

  • Every day was full of wonderful students who were eager to learn and full of joy.
  • Hanna was onsite everyday which is so great to see, and she was very happy that we were there.
  • The children are very talented and creative and are very eager to learn and very polite – they appreciate any topic and activities we have suggested and taught there.  They even learned some Georgian phrases – which I introduced them to as part of one of my lessons which included “all about me” book creation activity.
  • We all learned some Amharic and learned about the Ethiopian culture, and people were very hospitable.
  • The trustee on the trip with us was able to show us photos of the children she has met on her previous visits. To see how much they’ve grown and learned so much was great to see.
  • At one point, when all of us were playing games in the compound with the children after teaching, I looked around and we were all so involved with the activities that it made me very happy to be part of the group and the cause.

 ‘A Different Perspective’ – Looking Back

Charleane was one of the first volunteers who travelled to Hanna’s Orphan Home in partnership with Cass Business School. Here, she reflects her return trips to Ethiopia.

‘I travelled back in 2012 with anticipation to see whether the children remembered me, whether the last trip was worthwhile and whether I had made a difference in anyway. Some of this may seem to be selfish, I knew the trip had been successful if only for the fact that we raised enough money to cover the rent for a year. We didn’t think that we would make a massive impact in 2 weeks, nor was that our intention, but when I arrived in Shiro Meda and I asked Endale whether he remembered me, he said ‘yes but you look different. You were wearing grey trousers and had your hair in braids the last time!’ I did not expect that level of detail, but was really excited that after 2 years they still remembered me and were asking about Michael and Donal.

Things had changed a lot since the last time I was there. A vital upgrade to the toilets at Shiro Meda was made! They had made improvements to the compound. The classroom spaces had been improved, the rooms looked, bigger, brighter more tables and chairs, lots of posters of Ethiopia, a proper separation of the rooms, and a space for the younger ones with lots of learning materials and books. We purchased a bed for each child so they did not have to share, and we went around a few of their homes to view them. Some of their facilities looked really great and you could see the children were proud of their own spaces.

There had also been a lot of developments on the roads, the streets were a lot cleaner, there was hardly anyone begging on the streets, not like I had seen before.  However with the increase in governmental development in the capital it meant that landlords were demanding more money, as a consequence Hanna was forced off their land.

In 2014, when I went back to visit. It was different again. I drove past the site of the old compound and there was a train track stretching the length of the road. I could not believe it, It was still under development, but almost complete. Hanna and her team worked really hard to secure new land and homes for the children and we went to visit some of these homes. It was difficult as they were really far away, about an hours drive from where we were, but we visited individual homes and taught where we could. We went to visit the new compound, which again was far away, but we were really impressed at what they had done so far. They had managed to transport the library, computer room, sewing room, which is currently used to help the community. The women sew blankets and various other things which they can sell. The local women also rear chickens there.

We went to visit Shiro Meda and it was great to see some of the kids again, however there were mixed emotions as a couple of children were no longer there, but when I found out that they had graduated, have moved out and are now self-sufficient that was great to hear. The boys said they still get to see them too, which is great. It is a real community where the older ones help out the younger ones. On our last day we brought a big group together of different ages and it was great to see how they supported each other.

What I love about Hanna’s is that it is not an institution, the children do not feel institutionalised, they live in a home with a house mother, or house father with their literal and adopted brothers and sisters.

This is now my 4th trip to Ethiopia in 7 years. Although there are many changes in the landscape of Addis the problems of land still remains which is a huge issue for the Orphanage, not having a permanent place to stay and the constant increase in rent brings instability.

But amongst all of this there are good news stories. I bumped into one of the boys I first met at the Orphanage in 2010. For some reason I remembered 3 boys distinctly. Merawi, Edom and Danni. I bumped into him on the last day of teaching in Addis and I said Merawi, hi, and he couldn’t believe I remembered his name. Do you remember Danni and Edom he asked, we are all planning to start University this year. I was so happy to hear this. When I met them at age 12. They all had high hopes of what they wanted to be when they were older. Merawi now hopes to study medicine and is awaiting to hear what University and course he will be allocated to. I have no doubt that whatever he puts his mind to he will make a success of. He is a bright kid with a bright prospect and I wish him and the others all the best.’

Charleane, 2016.