February 2018 Trip
Winter Trip: February 8-18th, 2018
Questions: Karen Jones -- 925-855-4707,
Summer Trip: July 19-29th, 2018
We've brought in 50 new children to be sponsored, thank you CPC! Thank you for helping make a life changing impact on a child in Sintaro by being a sponsor for the next class of kids entering school. Sponsorship provides uniforms, books, health checks, daily meals and spiritual nourishment. Contact Phyllis Park if you are interested in sponsoring a child.
Latest Sintaro Update
Fact Sheet (Updated as of 12/15/17)
The original financial commitment, as approved by the CPC Session, was made in 2012 and was specifically to build a school for K-4th grades, the development of a well and the sponsoring of 400 school children, over a 7 year commitment (from 2013-2019). Based upon our experience in the early years of this project, CPC would then determine whether it wanted to go the second phase, meaning the construction of additional building classrooms (grades 5th-8th) and to addressing other important needs of the community.
Due to the success of the first phase, CPC Session approved in February, 2017 going forward with a) the construction of additional classrooms, the extension of child sponsorship from the 6th grade to the 8th grade for each child and finally, an eventual phase-out plan which allows each child under sponsorship to complete their 8th grade education. With these changes, the original 7 year commitment has been extended to the year 2031.
As of December 2017, our oldest children in the school are 4th graders; meaning that in June 2018, they will graduate from the 4th grade and need a new classroom (in the new building) to move into.
Success in the Sintaro Project is measured in several ways. Included in this are such metrics as a reduction in water and hygiene-related diseases, reduction of sicknesses and deaths due to improving health, improved class attendance, lower drop-out rates (particularly for girls), higher graduation rates, improving test score, improving job opportunities and a new vibrancy in church attendance and people knowing Christ. From the plan’s inception, the goal has been to extend benefits to both families in the school and others in the village.
The objectives of the Sintaro project were not exclusive to Sintaro. A major objective of the project is to transform not only the lives of the villagers but also of CPC members. The hope and prayer of Sintaro is to break the hearts of CPC’ers for what breaks God’s heart and to see this displayed by their ever- increasing participation in the Sintaro project. Particularly of interest is to try to pull in those members who would otherwise not become involved in church programs.
Our partner in Ethiopia is Hope Enterprises, a Christian organization whose mission statement is to “serve the poorest of the poor” with a “Ladder of Hope” model that moves people out of poverty. Foundational to the Hope model are “Hope” schools, where there is a better child/teacher ratio (50:1), where they can require a 50%/50% ratio of girls/boys and where Hope can select the teachers (based on their Christian experience). In Ethiopia, there is a strong separation of church/state and therefore, Hope is not allowed to publicly promote their Christian orientation.
Hope Enterprises is already partnering with two other churches. One is Menlo Park Presbyterian and the other is Venture Church in Los Gatos. In both cases, the churches are involved in Ethiopian village projects similar to Sintaro. This affords CPC an ability to learn from these other churches who have a wealth of experience in working with villages in Ethiopia and with Hope Enterprises.
The plan for the school and child sponsorship began with 100 children, in two levels of Kindergarten (K1 & K2). The starting ratio is 50%/50% girls/boys and children are selected based upon need. Church and village elders, as well as government officials and Hope personnel ultimately determine which children are selected. Each year upon graduation of each grade, the children advance to the next grade, while another 50 children are selected for entry into Kindergarten. Using this model, CPC will eventually have 500 children under sponsorship. Currently, as of December 2017, we have 300 children.
In the Hope model, only one child per family can attend the Hope school. In this way, Hope is able to extend the benefits of sponsorship to a wider part of the community.
Child sponsorship by third-parties is a major element of the Hope model. The costs of sponsorship covers all costs for the student, including their books, utensils, school uniform, an annual health assessment, teacher costs and providing for two meals a day, for six days of the week. The coverage of these costs is a huge benefit to the families, who in most cases, could not otherwise afford to have their children in school.
The costs of child sponsorship is $40/month, which covers the costs mentioned and also contributes to covering the costs of community development.
Christian education for the children is allowed and does occur before the school day begins and during an all-day optional Saturday program. The program before the school day begins is called ‘the flag ceremony’ is conducted by school teachers or invited guests.
The operational costs for Hope Enterprises is 10% or less. This means that a minimum of 90 cents of every dollar goes to the intended purpose, while 10 cents covers the costs of Hope’s operations.
The total population of Sintaro is approximately 11,000. In the area that is geographically close to the school, there are approximately 500 family units and 3,500 people. This means that over a nine year period of adding children to the school, we will be able to offer school attendance and sponsorship to nearly all poorer families.
One of the early teams to visit Sintaro Village was an ‘assessment team’, who purpose was to help identify key priorities of the village. Many priorities were identified and among those are greater spiritual nourishment of the villagers, hygiene and sanitation education, medical assessments, teacher and adult education, agriculture assistance and education, various housing improvements, fostering a greater sense of community and working with government agencies more closely.
Some information about Sintaro:
a. It is a very poor community. Many villagers earn less than $3/month, so they have no ability to pay the costs of having their children in a Hope school.
b. The primary industry is farming/agriculture.
c. The language spoken is Sidama, a regional language. Amharic is the national language of
Ethiopia but few villagers speak it and even fewer speak English.
d. There are four Christian churches in the village, one Catholic elementary school (private and expensive) and a government elementary school, too far away for most of the villagers.
e. The primary sources of water, before the well was finished, were various springs (which are not productive all year) or a local river with very polluted water. In both cases, the distances to these sources are great and the water quality poor.
The question of ‘sustainability’ is often asked, usually as it relates to whether after a relatively short investment in Sintaro, the villagers would be able to support themselves. The practical answer to this is ‘no’- not within this time frame. Given the severe economic conditions, the time-line for achieving sustainability needs to be viewed within a generation and not a 20 year period. Long after CPC has fulfilled its commitment to Sintaro, children will be graduating from the school, living healthier lives and graduating from high school and college. As these children find jobs and often times send monies back to their families, the economic conditions of the village will rise and the goal of sustainability will ultimately be achieved.
18. Two verses are our operational motivation and provide direction as to our priorities in the village. These are:
Matthew 25:40 “ Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you
did it for me.” Jesus calls us to serve the poor.
Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” This verse
shows the full aspect of human development- wisdom (education), stature (physical health), and in favor with God (spiritual development) and favor with men (social development). Our objectives in Sintaro are always along these same areas of development.
Sintaro July 2017 Team Update
July 2017 Trip Summary
- Starting September, we now have 300 kids in school
- Kids in the school thriving; physically, educationally, socially, spiritually
- Loving and dedicated teachers
- Sintaro school ranked #1 in the county
- Solar electricity installed and enabling adult education classes at night
- New building site chosen next to current site, with construction starting in 2018 (grades 5-8th)
- Some issues we addressed: Fences around the water sites need repairing, Fence around the water pumping station is needed, Discussed raising water prices to cover fuel costs, Establishment of a “small use fund” at the school
- Hope Enterprises, our partner for Sintaro, having management and organizational issues, for which we (and other donors) are providing ongoing counsel
- 50 new children needing sponsors, starting now
- Taste of Sintaro Night will be held in March, 2018
- CPC Session approved:
◦The next phase of building◦Extension of child sponsorship to the 8th grade, so EVERY child will graduate from the school
MORE RECENT TRIP STORIES!
STORY BELOW WRITTEN BY PHYLLIS PARK:
This was my second trip to Sintaro, my first being 3 years ago. This was a completely different experience.
We were met by Hope staff and taken directly to The Godolias, our hotel in Awassa.. This was a new hotel for those of us in this group and it was great. Again, such a change from my last experience. Clean beds, clean running water, no strong odors, no monkeys running in and out of the rooms and a nice "safe" restaurant next door where we ate most of our meals and they even catered to dietary needs in our group.
We spent the next 4 days going to the village. There was a lot to do with only 7 of us but we gelled together beautifully and were comfortable with an interpreter always by our side. Our first day, Sunday, we took it slow as we were scheduled to attend one of their 3 church services (this was an experience in itself) and make a few home visits with the children’s families. That night we also shared the "Jesus film” which is in their language (Sadama) inviting all the Villagers to one of the local churches to view it. Our team sat in the back and truly, you could hear a pin drop. it was so quiet.
Monday morning we set our plan into action. Only the 4th graders came so we doted on them. We took photos, read your letters, gave them deworming medication then proceeded to present a small group Bible study (written by Ashley and based on "Do unto Others”). We used scripture, interaction games, panomine, art projects, and just silliness to share the concept of caring for others.
On to lunch! This was another first for me to eat the "village food" and it was delicious as it was made by the Hope staff, making use of the clean well water!. In the afternoon we made a home visits.
Tuesday, we repeated our schedule with the children going into third grade. It was so much fun teaching and observing. Both days the children lined up and wait patiently for their turn to have their letters read……..There is such great anticipation to just ‘see' their letter. We set up 5 stations and they filed through, one at a time.
Wednsday we saw the 2nd and 1st graders. We repeated the same activities with all but the Bible Study.
Reading your letters, I was so moved as I took in their reactions and emotions. I read the words you had written and listened as the interpreters repeated my words and then shared the photos you sent. After reading a letter we closed with payer. Praying with each and every child was such a privilege. This was most certainly the highpoint of the week for me. I’ve worked with the "child sponsorship" portion of our program for over a year but Now, I’ve now tasted the fruit of my labor and it is SO sweet!!
Speaking of the children….. They were so anxious to interact with us. As our week progressed, in the afternoons when we made the home visits and we always had a large group of children walk with us. I just loved how they wanted to walk next to us, interact personally with us, hold our hands, and practice their english. We walked, stumbled, skipped and sang, and they especially loved singing the ABC song. They giggled as they compared the color of our skin and were constantly touching my arm, Im sure wondering if it felt like theirs.
Many were excited to practice the english language and at times we did not even need to have an interpreter present.
As most of you know, our Hope schools have a policy to educate only 1 child from each of the poorest of the poor families. This has always concerned me but I came to the realization, on this trip, that the program works! The children in school teach their siblings. Infact, One little boy stood out as he was so proficient is Sadama, Amharic (the national language), and English. I asked where he learned to speak English so well and he said from his older brother who is in public High School. One question I asked every child was “what is your favorite class in school”? Without fail the answer was always “English”.
The one question I asked the parents, on the home visits, was “ What have they benifitted the most since CPC came to Sintaro” the answer was always school for their child then the clean well water. I have to say, too, our home visits were heart warming. With each visit we took a gift of cookies or a packaged mixture of a nutty grain. The families were so gracious, as they invited us into their homes and answered our many questions regarding the well, their family, school, adult education and spiritual training. As with the children, we ended our visits with prayer. Spiritual well being is as important to them as it is to us. Many held us tight and some even fell to the ground as we prayed over them. What a humbling experience!
We left on Thursday with our tasks completed and felt so blessed with beautiful weather and healthy bodies throughout the week.
The friendships that grew within our team and strengthened relationships, with those back in the village, made it difficult to say goodbye "this time". The memories of the children’s faces, my videos of their laughter and singing are a constant reminder of how blessed I am to have been able take this trip, twice now! I can only look forward to the next time!
LAST YEARS UPDATE VIDEO