Thursday, March 19, 2009

Many Ethiopian Orphans Called her "Moma", including our niece Mercy

Haregewoin Teferra [1946 (est) - 2009]

By now you may have learned the shocking news that

Mrs. Haregewoin Teferra has died suddenly after a short illness.

We don't know what caused her death; she felt sick for a couple of days,

went to the doctor, came home without a diagnosis, felt sick again,

laid down, and that was the end.


We are grieving, yet we have no time to spare: 59 children survive her,

many of them toddlers and babies, the majority HIV-positive.


Worldwide Orphans--the New York-based organization that has provided

pediatric care to Haregewoin's children for many years--has stepped into the breach.

They have assumed full custody of the 42 HIV-positive kids and are prepared

to take responsibility for the 17 HIV-negative children, as needed, most of them

babies and toddlers. Those small children are still at Haregewoin's foster home;

their caregivers have stayed on; and the Atetegeb board has taken charge of

their well-being for the present.


These heroic measures come at high cost:  it is estimated to require

about $4,600 per child to cover food, healthcare and medicine, education,

clothing, and caregivers. Once the children's basic needs are secure, their

paperwork will be sorted out: some may be eligible for adoption, others may have extended families in a position to take them in; others may find new placements.

No one knows, at this moment, whether Haregewoin had made financial plans

for the children in the event of her death.  All that can be sorted out in the future.

The crisis is NOW: keeping the children fed and clothed, paying the salaries of

loving caregivers to act as stand-ins for their late parents and long-devoted foster

mother, and making sure there is no lag-time in their life-saving medical treatment.

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