We will have this year’s first membership meeting on Sunday, April 17 at 11 am (Pacific Time). I hope this meeting will give you an expanded view of the original intent for Gurda and the need for it to continue. As we are looking ahead and gearing up to launch our year 2016 fundraising campaign for the purpose of changing the worst conditions of our community schools, water and health provisions, we must look back and count our blessings on the things that helped us spring forward.
First and foremost, the leadership would like to thank our number one blessing—YOU—our celebrated members. If it were not for you, we could not even be here today to tell you of a great story—a story of the birth of a child of promise that is Gurda. Gurda’s vision is grand; its leaders are so humble and simple, like all of us. We are simple alright but not simplistic. We cherish our positions of responsibility you have given us. We take our responsibility seriously. That is why our landmark project, Project 1 is set to break ground soon, God willing. As we are tying the loose ends of bureaucratic necessities for Government approval at this moment, we are proceeding in making a firm commitment to organize and mobilize more and more to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. I do not have to remind us all we are a very backward country in terms of provisions of necessities for a modest living. It will take years but the job has begun by our parents and grandparents. Nevertheless, the work must continue and we are the heirs of this grand responsibility.
Project 1, we believe, should begin construction, if not before the end of the year, probably by the beginning of the next. We understand that you know just throwing money to build a boarding school is not sufficient reason for celebration. We believe it is a serious life-long investment and commitment to raise children with visual and hearing challenges so they can, in the long run, lead a successful and worthy living. Our goal is to build a facility that can provide a world class education and life skills preparation in a world class facility. Our beginning is modest. We have no doubt it will grow.
To that effect, we have undertaken certain steps to fulfill the dreams of those who benefit from the facility, those who would run the facility, those who fund the facility, and those who monitor the entire operation. Here they are those steps in no particular order:
You have made such a great job of getting Gurda this far. But this is just the beginning. Project 1 is just the first of Gurda’s multiple projects that are waiting in the wings. If we only understand our mission and vision, then we know Gurda is not supposed to be a one great project author and implementer. We cannot allow Gurda to become a one hit wonder. While we are concluding one phase of Gurda’s school for the Visually and Hearing Impaired, we have to be prepared for embarking on a plan for maintaining and upgrading the school’s day to day operation as well as seeking other vitally important projects in our communities.
Where are we heading? What are we looking ahead in 2017?
If you happen to visit the rural Guraghe areas (for that matter rural areas of Ethiopia), an indelible mark of poverty and dilapidation will be impressed on your mind. If you happen to be in such areas, please stop by the neighborhood schools and ask for their needs. You may be surprised by what you may find to help them with. Speak with the local school committee members, if there are any, to show you the places. You will realize our schools are totally dilapidated, inadequately furnished, no laboratories, no libraries, no books, not sufficient bathrooms, no drinking water, no lighting, no health facilities, no playgrounds, on top of that, kids come from distant places, and all children lack nutritious snacks or foods. Yet we see an astounding commitment of the Guraghe in building their own schools. There is a dire need of potable water. Water provisions may be the most important source for good hygiene and health. The situation deems it to be an EMERGENCY. When there is emergency it is a reasonable expectation to take drastic actions to change the situation. Gurda, through its country representative organization, is planning to work with our people on various projects they deem to be essential for the community’s future and growth. They want to work on schools, water systems and health care issues. We are all contributing to change a community for the betterment of the future society. We are not here to create dependency; we are to aid in self-reliance. We are not intent on pushing what we want and desire to see. We are to support as part of that body to participate on the defined needs that come from them. We all know five fingers make a fist. Let us each become the fingers that make the fists that is Gurda. Only then can we knock down the stubborn challenges our community faces.
Simple Goals for 2017
As mentioned above our fund raising this year, will cover programs
Gurda: a promise to keep!