Charities We Aid
Fundacion de la Misericordia
Fundacion de la misercordia is a Catholic mission founded by Fr. Christopher Hartley. The organization has been operating in the Somali region of Ethiopia since 2007. The area is home to harsh wether, drought, and unfavorable terrain. Furthermore, differences in religion and culture between the Amharic and Somali people have created tension. While inhabitants are predominantly Muslim, there are a significant number of Orthodox Christians. Upon Fr. Hartley's arrival, the presence of the Catholic Church began. In 2009, he began the construction of Galilee, a center meant to serve the local community.
The presence of the Catholic Church in this area is a response to Jesus' message, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all creation" (Mark 16:15). This message is also a part of Pope Francis' constant appeal for "First Evangelization," also known as bringing the gospel and Jesus Christ in areas where the Church is not currently present. This area in particular is in relentless need of mission, to reveal to every man, woman, and child the merciful love of a God they do not know.
Tamara Project Room
Ladies Working on their Craft
Ladies at Work
Ladies Working on their Craft
Purse in Progress
Finishing Details on Purses
Outside the Tamara Project Room, Galilee Center
Baby Sami, HIV Positive
Estefania with Ladies
Ladies Making Purses
Volunteer Nikki with Baby Sami
Baby Fraiser and ladies
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The Tamara project is currently led by Sr. Mary Joachim. During construction of the center, the Church made its presence known in the local community by visiting people in need, often someone sick. This paved the way to form relationships with those who have nothing, nor anyone to take care of their basic needs. Many of the people in need of help were sick with HIV/AIDS. Sr. Joachim began taking sick women and children to the local medical facility, SOS. It was then that the hospital asked for the cooperation of the church to make contact with previous HIV patients who had dropped out of their ART program. Since then, the Apostolic Vicar, Bishop Woldetensae has supported the project and the "Memorandum of Understanding" with the hospital.
Many of the women that have been contacted by the organization work as waitresses, cleaners, and prostitutes. These young women, often younger than 25 years old, have no other means of support and work in brothels not by choice, but out of necessity. Consequently, these ladies lose their sense of self-worth and self-respect. They have a vague idea of the danger they are in with regard to contracting HIV, and other diseases, but see it as a necessary risk to face the financial difficulties they have today.
The goals of the Tamara Project aim to give the ladies:
The objectives the Tamara Project include the following:
Friendship: The project helps break the loneliness and marginalization that comes from poverty and HIV by offering support through difficulties the ladies may have.
Learning skills to make a living: In performing handicraft work, the ladies acquire the skill they need to
sell the products of their labor (rather than themselves). The women learn to make purses, which are then sold as a means of income. This also helps increase their self-esteem because they see the final product and the fruits of their labor. They learn that there are better ways to make an income and also learn how to save to be self-sustaining.
The ability to take care of medical issues for themselves and their children: The organization accompanies any woman and child, if sick, to the clinic. They are also reminded of their ART appointments and blood tests they might need. These tests are rarely free, so the organization pays for the labwork to be done.
Providing education to the children: With the older children, the organization pays for their tuition, books, and uniform fees. The younger children are currently being accomodated in the kindergarten room at Galilee center.
Mission Mercy Chapel at Galilee Center
Fr. Christopher Hartley
Road to Galilee Center
Summer Camp Volunteer
Summer Camp Activity
Somali boy with cataracts
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Since 2011, Fundacion de la misericordia has hosted summer camps in various locations throughout the somali region. Volunteers dedicate their summer to make this possible. The summer camps are open to any child regardless of gender, ethnic origin, or religion. Volunteers with experience in the medical field spend their time volunteering at the free clinic the foundation provides, while others plan activities for the children and teach them basic subjects such as math, English, and geogrpahy.
Currently, the foundation is looking for volunteers who are willing to stay for 1-3 months at a time. This would serve as a trial period to see if they have a vocation to the mission.