This featured program is pretty special as the Founder is a dynamic woman named Nini Legesse. She is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and works for a prestigious employer, here in Virginia. She makes a dynamic family unit with her husband who is a Civil Engineer. It was nice chatting as women and providing encouragement to one another in our quest for empowering others. That’s what Nini is all about. You can hear her tenderness for those who need support. She stresses, “I want to empower my people”. She was more stern when she spoke about changing negative views about non-profits, volunteerism and contributing to the needs of the less fortunate. I was impressed with how she communicated the need for this change within the community yet with such a grand sense of faith in her people.
Nini with her seven board members of Wegene Ethiopian Foundation (WEF), focus on the family nucleus in Ethiopia. Their concerns are for proper housing, the increasing rate of prostitution, and the growing amount of single mother households. Their priority is in strengthening the family structure. They have a very tight system for assessing which families to register. Hopefully, I can explain the break down of how each family is reached. The selection starts with relatives who travel to thier homes. They study their neighborhoods to find the needs. This relative who serves as outreach becomes a representative who evaluates what families are in great need of the program. Nini says they make good evaluators as they are more assessable in conducting screenings and can check the progress of each family. Where as from the US, observation and verification of progress is only second hand. The representatives look for hard workers, those that are ambitious with a drive for bettering themselves and their loved ones. Once selected, WEF, attempts to meet their medical needs, assist with providing shelter and promote education.
As Nini and I were speaking I had to stop her and ask her to repeat the fact that on top of all she does, she has been building a facility for children to go to school! I will have to back track to give you a full account. In October 2010 Wegene Ethiopian Foundation celebrated their 10 year anniversary. Nini and the members of WEF had a dinner party to raise funds for children who were unable to go to school. Their school building was in ruins and the closest school was 2 1/2 hours away. One hundred a fifty children stopped attending school. Next month Nini will be traveling to Ethiopia to see the structure that was built for the children to commence learning. I am just so proud of her and the organization for all they are doing. It is very impressive. There is so much more to write about, instead I suggest you visit their website. You can read more about their profile and view some project pictures at www.wegene.org
Thanks Nini for sharing your hard work and sacrifice with all of us. It teaches us to look outside of ourselves, giving power to others, thus empowering ourselves, to give again to other, and so forth.
All the best my dear.