I started The Abyssinian fund 18 months ago out of my deep love for Africa and its people. The Abyssinian Fund is an organization committed to reducing poverty and creating programs for Ethiopians to better their lives. This past trip to Ethiopia helped to open my eyes to a world very different from my own as I connected with men, women and children who are directly benefiting from the work that we are doing in their village. I am also very grateful for my connection to The Abyssinian Baptist Church whose ministry continues to extend its helping hand beyond Harlem.
Traveling is one of the best ways to experience different cultures and learn new things about the world and yourself. During my 5th trip to Ethiopia, I discovered some insightful new things about my brothers and sisters in Chaffee Jenette. Usually these trips are filled with business meetings and tight schedules but this time I had some free time to get to know the people of Chaffee Jenette. Here is what I learned:
What did the children do during the day? The women?
Children go to school from 8 A.M. – 12noon, Monday through Friday. In the small classrooms there are 60 students per teacher, each leading lessons covering math, English and Earth-science. Most teachers have only a high school education. It’s hard to imagine 60 students crowded into one classroom but even harder to believe they attend school for only half-days; this is because there is not enough money to afford teachers for full days. Most school children are male since the majority of young girls spend the day with their mothers making four-hour trips to fetch drinking water. When they do attend class, girls often miss over a week at a time during their menstrual cycle each month since there are no clean bathrooms and adequate sanitation. So the education gap continues between men and women starting from young boys and girls.
What is the process of retrieving water?
In order to get around Chaffee Jenette, you walk. There is no running water. In order to bathe, cook and drink, women and young girls walk for four hours to the nearest spring. They trek through narrow, rocky, un-paved roads and carry yellow, heavy water buckets, called jerrycans, atop their heads. This journey consumes so much of their day that the women don’t have much time to do anything else. Read More on HuffingtonPost.com
About Rev. Nicholas S. Richards
The Rev. Nicholas S. Richards is an Assistant Minister at The Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York and Co-founder & President of The Abyssinian Fund.
His leadership of Abyssinian’s Global Outreach ministry has spawned a series of projects, including development efforts in Ethiopia, humanitarian relief in Haiti and on-going educational services in Kenya. As an emerging voice in international relations and diplomacy, Rev. Richards is featured in various media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Africa Channel.
Rev. Richards is responsible for the strategy and operations for The Abyssinian Fund’s offices in New York and Ethiopia. The Fund serves as a conduit for economic and social development among rural agricultural communities in Ethiopia. Its’ work focuses on creating sustainable, market-driven solutions to reducing poverty.
He received his license to preach at The West Hunter Street Baptist Church, and was subsequently ordained at The Abyssinian Baptist Church. Rev. Richards is a charter member of the Lily Foundation’s Academy at Young Preachers and his sermon
The Power of One was published by Chaliss Press.
Rev. Richards has received numerous fellowships to travel and study in throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Philosophy at Morehouse College, a Certificate in Human Rights from The University of Cape Town and the Master of Divinity Degree at The Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York.
For more information on The Abyssinian Fund, visit www.abyfund.org