Sunday, June 3, 2012

Buy Barefoot Books, Build Schools in Ethiopia

It should come as no surprise to learn that my daughter Elfe is a true book-lover.  She's an extremely active little girl - running, jumping, dancing, riding her bike, swinging on the play structure at school - but she also loves to curl up on the couch with me and read book after book after book.  At not quite five years old, she can't read books herself yet, but that doesn't stop her from sitting down with a pile of books and paging through them, or wanting to have books in bed with her at night to help her fall asleep - or "reading" them to her dolls!

Here she is about two years ago "reading" to Baby Judy and Gacko, her favorite dolls.

What you may not know is that she has been this way from the very first moment I met her in Ethiopia in December of 2009.  Right after we met for the first time, she went through my bag and pulled out the pocket Amharic-English dictionary I had with me; she held onto that little book the entire week we spent together in Ethiopia, and it still holds special meaning for both of us.

Ethiopia 2009 - the first time I held Elfe

What I find most amazing about her love of books is that she more than likely never even saw a book before she was over two years old.  Elfe is from a rural area of Ethiopia, where schools and libraries are few and far between.  I was not able to visit her family's home in Ethiopia when I was there, but from what I know about what is typical in that area, I doubt they had any books in the house at all.

Where does her love of books come from?  And what would she have done with it if she had stayed in Ethiopia?  I do not like to use the word "lucky" in the context of adoption, but in this case I can't help feeling lucky that I am able to provide Elfe with access to the books she so obviously loves and craves.

Would you like to help me make sure that parents in Ethiopia are able to feel similarly lucky that their children have access to an education so they can nurture and sustain their own love of books?

I am very pleased to announce today that I will be supporting the Tesfa Foundation's newest initiative in Ethiopia - their 5x3 project to build five new schools in the next three years.  And you can help me!

Here's how the fundraiser works:
  • Go to my Barefoot Books marketplace
  • Scroll down to the My Events section
  • Click on the "Support This Event" button below the Tesfa Foundation fundraiser description
  • Shop as normal, then make sure you see the name of the fundraiser (Tesfa Foundation Fundraiser - 5x3 Schools in Ethiopia) at the bottom of your shopping cart before you check out
  • I will donate 20% of what you spend (excluding tax and shipping) to support School #3 and School #4 of the Tesfa 5x3 initiative.  Funds will be split 50/50 between the two schools.

Please make sure that you shop by clicking the link to my marketplace so that I know you are purchasing in support of Tesfa - and feel free to send me an email ( to let me know about your purchase if you want to be extra sure I include it in the fundraiser.

This fundraiser will run for the months of June, July, and August.  As our kids here in the US are getting out of school, enjoying their summer vacation, and getting ready to go back to school in September, we can be doing our part to help make sure kids in Ethiopia get the education they deserve. 

Tesfa means "hope" in Amharic.  I hope you will join me in building schools in Ethiopia.

Buy Barefoot Books, Build Schools in Ethiopia

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