Anna and Lori did not know each other very well a few short months ago. Yet when they both heard about the medical plight of rural Ethiopian women, they were moved in a way that they could not help but get involved.
They decided to focusing on raising funds for the surgeries so that the women did not have to pay for these services. At $150 per surgery, they were confident they could gather enough money to pay for 10-15 surgeries. Little did they know that once they put their energy together, they would become a combustible force!
The idea of planning an event to raise funds was quickly considered. Neither of them had fund-raising or event planning experience, but they both were driven to create something that touched the hearts of stateside women enough to make a true difference to these Ethiopian women. The event would entail a “Women Helping Women” focus, and they billed the event as a Ladies’ Night Out. No children invited, plenty of good food and wine, music, a silent auction and a heartfelt presentation.
In one night, they raised over $10,000.
Anna and Lori decided to travel to Ethiopia to determine the most effective place where they would direct the extra money. Their first priority was to pay for surgeries, even if our doctors could not perform them all. They would set up a fund for Dr. Tekle, the Gimbie Hospital OB/GYN, to draw from to pay for the additional surgeries.
Once in Ethiopia, they are now faced with sifting through the numerous requests for help. This is not a comfortable task, and Lori finds herself in tears most of each day. How can you say yes to one request and no to another, when each carries the same weight of authentic and desperate need?
After a few days of unrest, Lori and Anna realize that this is only the start of their commitment to these women. They will make a selection for this visit, and will go back home with the knowledge of various areas of need and will continue their fund-raising, involving more people on a grander scale.
Joy returns to them, and their enthusiasm grows each day as they listen to stories and gather information. At the end of each day, I find myself seeking them out, as they exude a galaxy of energy and insight.