The Joy of Sponsoring a Child at CCCE

My family has sponsored Asrat Eyasu, a 18 year old boy, for the last eight years. He was admitted into CCCE in August 2002 and we began sponsoring him that Fall. At first, we just sent our money and didn’t think much about Asrat or Ethiopia. Then we began receiving letters from him. We were all really excited.  Sarah, who was seven years old at the time, was very intrigued by the stamps and the wonder of getting a letter from Africa!  We learned that Asrat had a brother, Israel, who was a year older and also living at CCCE and that their father had recently died and their mother was HIV positive and could not take care of her children.

In 2004, Allie and I had the wonderful experience of traveling to Soddo, Ethiopia for a medical mission trip. We spent time at the old CCCE orphanage and met Asrat.  He was a very shy 12 year old boy.  Slowly over the week, he began warming up to us and showed us his school work and art work. Asrat is a good artist – his drawings were beautiful.  It was also obvious that he was a good student.  By the end of our week long visit, Asrat was calling me mom and Allie his sister.  When we said good bye, there were many tears and hugs.

That trip began our passion for Ethiopia and the wonderful children of CCCE.  I have had the privilege of visiting Soddo at least once a year and watching Asrat grow into a wonderful young man. Between visits, we stay in touch with letters. He writes us 3 – 4 letters per year and we write him 4 – 6 letters per year.

Asrat 2008

We have had some rocky times with Asrat.  Like many teenagers, he has had a few issues – not doing his chores, not doing his homework, fighting with some of the other boys. Asrat has had to write me  letters telling me what he did wrong and apologizing for his actions.  I have written letters encouraging him to keep to his Christian faith and follow his heart to do the right thing.  Allie and I have also written letters reminding him that education is so important for him and encouraging him to study.  When Asrat was 15 years old, he got very upset when I visited and spent time with other children.  We worked through that issue with the help of Alazar and now I try to spend special time with Asrat during my visit (maybe only an hour but we do something together – look at pictures, go for Coke, meet some of his friends).

We have had many joyous times sponsoring Asrat. We have been impressed how much his English has improved and how sophisticated his letters have become. We love the drawings he sends. It is an exciting day when we receive a letter. In 2008, Asrat took his 10th grade national examination. It was hard to determine who was more nervous me or him.  Three months later he received the results and he did great!  He was on a university track and was accepted to prep school for university.  This year he took his 12th examination for university admission.  We had both grown up and neither of us were very nervous.  Last week, I received a letter from Asrat telling me that he did very well on the exam – he scored high enough to get into university!  He was so happy and I am so proud of him. Following is an excerpt from his letter:

I will try to be a good person and help others just like you and Dr. Kelemu and I will try to serve God.

Mothers think for their child very good things and children have the responsibility to respect what parents say.  So I have the responsibility to try hard and help others.

Those three sentences mean so much to me.  My heart sang when I read them.  We are trying to instill the concept of “giving back” to the children at CCCE.  This does not seem to be a concept most Ethiopians embrace  but we think it is so important. If our children help others, they will be powerful role models for their peers in Soddo and will help improve lives of other Ethiopians.

For me, the joy in sponsoring a child at CCCE is the joy in watching them grow up and developing a true relationship with them  (Asrat thinks of me as his mom and Allie and Sarah as his sisters). When your family sponsors a child at CCCE, you are the only family. You have a wonderful opportunity to make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Allie and Asrat 2010

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please contact Janice Mack at  We have a few little ones that need sponsors.  It is a wonderful experience!


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