The Hope and a Future Charity has been in existence since 2007 and began with a main aim to provide school education for impoverished children living in poor circumstances in the large town of Shashemene in the South of Ethiopia. These children would not have had any opportunity for school education except for the involvement of this charity.
This small independent Charity has developed to the extent that it provides education for around 450 children and in addition provides a daily nourishing meal which for many is their only food of the day.
Around 5 years ago the Charity Founder Christine Keenan shared her heartfelt desire to provide help for the many disabled children of the region who were receiving no therapeutic help due to lack of skilled people and resources.
Thanks to the support of local people in Antrim and Randalstown regions and the hard work of staff and volunteers, sufficient finance was raised to begin building a two storey building to create a Centre for Disabled Children on ground floor and a much needed Youth Centre on upper floor.
The construction of this building was slow due to finance limitatations with the ongoing costs of the school but finally the building was formerly opened October 2018.
While this building was under construction, the local community here was invited to donate unwanted Disability equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, walking aids and any other items which would benefit disabled people. Over past few years a large quantity of items have been stockpiled in the Charity premises at Antrim and the hope was to arrange for a shipping container to take these items to Ethiopia where they could transform the lives of very many people.
For the past couple of years it seemed like an impossible goal due to many obstacles, paperwork, approvals, customs, taxes and not least shortage of finance, but at long last on Tuesday 3 Sept 2019, the container arrived into the yard of the Antrim premises and many hours of hard work by a team of volunteers filled it with hundreds of disability items, hoists, Therapy couches, Wheelchairs, Zimmers, Crutches and also lots of toys and new donated O’Neills clothing. On Wednesday 4th Sept the container was closed up, sealed and now it is on its way to Belfast Port for forward travel by sea to Djibouti Port in Eritrea and then by road onward into South Ethiopia
This is a really great achievement for a small local Charity and now we wait and pray that everything will go according to plan and the container will arrive complete at the final destination in Shashemene.
The main source of income to the Hope and a Future Charity is from sale of donated goods through our three local Charity shops, 7 New Street Randalstown, 23d Ballymena Road, Antrim and 139 Staffordstown Road, Creggan outside Randalstown.
This Charity currently sends £5000 every month to support and maintain current projects in Ethiopia and even more finance is now needed for the new Disability and Youth Centres to be fully developed with staff and equipment. By the time the Charity pays out each month and also for local running costs here, there are no reserves for unexpected expenses. The Charity relies upon volunteers and any salaried staff receive only minimum wage.
The Charity welcomes donations of good Household Furniture and any other household good including Clothing, Toys, Bric-a-Brac etc. A collection service is available for Furniture. Of course also any financial donations or regular sponsorship is most welcome to ensure the future of these rewarding and worthwhile projects in Ethiopia.
The Charity also invites local people to come and volunteer in a local outlet. This can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience relieving boredom and creating social friendships while bringing benefit to the people living in poverty in Ethiopia.
It will take a number of weeks for the transportation of the Container and a group of five people are planning to travel from here to Shashemene in the middle of October and will hope that the Container contents will be there so that they can begin to plan distribution and organise for the best use of the equipment.
The progress and outcome of this initiative will be reported in a future edition of this newsletter.
For further information about Hope and a Future Charity, contact any of our three outlets –
- 23d Ballymena Road, Antrim (behind Maxol station) Tel 028 9446 7724 or Mob. 07753 985282
- 7 New Street, Randalstown – Tel 028 9447 9138 or Mob. 07544 496000
- 139 Staffordstown Road, Randalstown – Tel 028 9447 2499 or Mob 07979 398474