PATH TO LOLA RISING
The short version of the long Story of our Epic Family Trip to Ethiopia and why we decided to launch LOLA RISING
Many in our Andronici/Mentzell/Enyeart family clan (14 of us total) just returned from an amazing trip to Italy and Ethiopia. We gathered from throughout the US and Puerto Rico, convened in the Andronici hometown of Gradoli, Italy, for a short fantastic visit with our exquisitely hospitable Italian relatives, and then made the journey to Ethiopia for a two week tour of the country.
Because it is simply awesome! Ethiopia’s history, people and landscape are nothing short of stunning. AND, it is the birth country of our beloved Meron, who was adopted by Lauren Andronici and her husband Casey Enyeart from Ethiopia ten years ago.
Lauren and Casey along with Lauren’s folks, Bob and Judy had been planning this trip with Meron, and her sister Riley who was born just days before Meron came to live in the U.S., ever since the girls were little.
Our family is tied to the people of Ethiopia through our love of Meron and through the work of Lauren and Casey to help at risk and vulnerable children in Ethiopia. Shortly after Meron was adopted from Ethiopia, Meron’s mom, Lauren, along with a group of other parents of Ethiopian adoptees, became a founder of a non-profit called Ethiopian Orphan Relief. Ethiopian Orphan Relief (EOR) is doing amazing work in Ethiopia and our group was witnessed the impact on the ground. It was so inspiring.
“EOR” is dedicated to improving the lives of Ethiopia's most vulnerable children. A Portland based, 501c3 non profit, EOR through the generous support of its donors, provides funds to carefully selected programs in Ethiopia that are making a difference in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children. EOR is 100% volunteer run, so the money donated goes directly to Ethiopia. EOR sends a team to Ethiopia to visit the programs it funds and assess the needs of the children every 24 months.
Lauren and Casey have worked hard for EOR and the children it serves for almost a decade, and many folks in their family have also been active supporters of EOR. As the time for the trip approached, Lauren and Casey and Bob and Judy opened the invitation to others in the family who might like to go to Ethiopia and soon our number grew to a band of 14 travelers.
Our experience was extraordinary. Honestly, hard to put into words. We learned so much and were inspired on so many levels. We visited many cities and met amazing people everywhere we went. We visited two EOR programs and had the opportunity to see the amazing work being done at both Childrens Heaven and Lola Childrens Home. Both programs do outstanding work to help some of the Ethiopia’s most vulnerable children. With very few resources and a lot of heart and faith in the future, these programs are working to make things better. We left Ethiopia wanting to help.
Lola Children's Home’s mission is to provide housing, medical and educational services for HIV-affected orphans and vulnerable children in Ethiopia. Lola is located in Mekelle, in the Northern Tigray region.
Lola was founded in 2006 because Mekelle had no services available for HIV-affected children, many of whom are left without family or government support after their parents' illness or death. The director of LOLA, Abebe, is an orphan himself. He is committed to providing a “home environment” for the kids at Lola, and you can see it in their faces. When Lola accepts a child, Lola commits to their well-being, education, health and long term success. They are family to each other.
Why Lola Rising?
During our visit to Lola Children’s home, they were in the midst of a big leap of faith, made possible by the support from EOR. They have grown out of their rented space and the landlord has increased the rent too unsustainable levels. They are building a new facility on their own land, and have created a plan for long term sustainability. The plan is comprehensive and well-conceived. It was so inspiring for us to visit the new site during construction. Several of us even helped carry cement block! That evening after dinner we gathered as a family and talked about how much money needed to be raised to get the Lola kids moved from the old site to the new site and Lola Rising was “born”. The kids need to move into the new site before June of 2017. This is a daunting task, but totally achievable if we get more people to support them. The first home is financed and near completion, but so much more work is needed.
Through this fundraising effort, we as a family have decided to open our hearts and wallets and join together to help Lola Rise, to continue to serve and continue to provide a home for vulnerable children and build a better future for generations of orphans to come. Please consider joining us as we help “Lola Rise”. The first goal for our fundraising is the Safety Wall surrounding the new compound. No donation is too small.
PHASE ONE- Lola Rising to Safety: The wall - 18K
This is the first priority. They need a safety wall around the Lola compound to provide the children a safe place to live, learn, and play. This will protect Lola’s chickens and any future Lola livestock from the serious threat of hyena’s.
PHASE TWO- Lola Rising to the Heart: Temporary School, Health Clinic and Office Building
Shipping containers are often used as facility space. To ensure that the children have space for school, their health clinic and administrative offices for Lola when they move in, Lola needs funds to secure 6 shipping containers for temporary space while funds are raised and then construction takes place for these permanent facilities.
PHASE THREE- Lola Rising Higher: Permanent School
Building a permanent school and daycare, health clinic and offices on the site will be a big step to Lola rooting itself in the community and having a sustainable future.
Lola’s sustainability plan is a good one: Lola’s sustainability plan includes charging fees to local families in the neighborhood who can afford to send their children to the daycare and school for those services, while providing those services at no charge to its resident orphans and other vulnerable children in the community. Lola will also maintain a small store onsite to add to revenue.
PHASE FOUR- LOLA RISING TO THE SKY: Second Residential Building
Once the school, daycare, health clinic, and offices are funded and built, Lola will begin construction on its second residential building. This will allow Lola to open its home to many more kids that need their amazing program and services.
Here is a video of our trip and the new construction site.
To see the work being done at Lola please visit our trip video - LOLA RISING VIDEO
To donate now to Lola Rising please visit here.
Lola Rising Donors
Marcus & Emily Andronici
Bob & Judy Andronici
Lauren Andronici & Casey Enyeart
Justine Andronici & Michael Hermann
Chris & Kim Pasion
Richard & Wendy Andronici
Jim & Ellen Hermann
Dana & Jon Kirby
Tom & Mary Jane Kistler
David & Jina Lorati
Brenda & Kent Eynert
Paige & Albert Chapman Layland
Join the Lola Rising Family.