"The School of St. Yared - an educational blue print for eradicating poverty in marginalised communities in Ethiopia."
HOPE FOR CHILDREN (HFC) is an Australian charity recognised by the Ethiopian Government's Charities and Societies Agency as an international charity. Its flagship project is The School of St. Yared in Addis Ababa. St. Yared’s Trust (UK) has partnered with HFC specifically to promote and support the expansion of The School of St. Yared.
HFC has offices in Addis Ababa run by a Country Representative and a complement of 15 Ethiopian staff covering accountancy, procurement, project management and administration. HFC operates two other major projects. Full details of the work of HFC can be seen on its own website.
Jacqui Gilmour, the founder of HFC
Jacqui Gilmour and her family sponsor many Ethiopian children. Yared Wolde was one of these children. Together they went on to found The School of St. Yared.
In 1974 Jacqui Gilmour quit her social work studies and privileged existence in Perth, Western Australia, to visit Africa. She took on a variety of jobs, including research for the UN, which took her to Ethiopia where she witnessed first hand the deprivation there. Four years later she returned to Australia, and watched from afar as these deprivations increased with civil war, uprisings, revolution, drought, famine and finally AIDS.
She returned to her University studies and produced four children with her partner, Graham Forward, an Orthopaedic surgeon who has strong links to Ethiopia through his work with Australian Doctors for Africa. Jacqui involved herself in the Ethiopian community in Perth and by 1997 was back in Ethiopia collecting two of the four Ethiopian children whom she and Graham subsequently adopted.
AIDS was ravaging the country. A chance meeting with a social worker desperately trying to care for the interminable number of orphans created by the pandemic brought Jacqui face to face with the enormity of the problem and the child suffering involved. Thousands of children were destitute as their parents died of AIDS. She immediately resolved to help wherever she could. The children were brought together in ‘family’ groups with a ‘mother’ – ‘amazing women who materialised from nowhere to offer care to these children’. The ‘Hope for Children’ organisation was born.
Jacqui returned to Perth and set about arranging sponsors for these children. The funds supported the children in their ‘family’ homes to meet basic needs and schooling costs whilst HFC set up a centre where the children could go after school and at weekends and during holidays for extramural activities, special tutoring if required, and most importantly, psychological and medical care for their traumatic problems. Now the group homes have been phased out and the majority of children supported by HFC are living with family or members of the extended community.
HFC’s mission is to mentor young people until they are work ready. Only when they are economically self-sufficient can they make a significant contribution to the wellbeing of their own families, their communities, and the wider Ethiopian economy. Many of these children are now in work, several are university graduates.
HFC’s experience and broad understanding of the needs of deprived young people uniquely qualifies it to manage The School of St. Yared.