from the OMO Valley
News about the Mingi children in Omo Valley will be published here at regular intervals so that you can follow our progress.
Since our launch at the end of January 2018, many people have been enthusiastic about our idea and opened their hearts and wallets for the project, either donating money or taking on sponsorships (see “Support”). But not all of them want to be named but act according to the motto “Do good and keep quiet about it”, so the list of donors and sponsors on our homepage is not complete. But some ideas to support us are so wonderful that we don’t want to withhold them from you and fortunately we got the permission to publish them here.
A DARING RESCUE, A NEW CHILD TO LOVE, July 2022
Over weeks, Lale Labuko and his team have been negotiating with the tribes about three Mingi babies, while preparing the paper work with the authorities for a potential rescue in the background. Then, everything had happen very quickly. Here is Lale‘s story:
One evening last week I received a phone call from my Hamer facilitator, Gulilat.
He was tense and his voice sounded full of fear. He requested me to listen carefully, and be intentional about the situation at hand. Two vehicles were required for the moment as three babies had been declared mingi in two different tribal villages – Dalemi and Guni .
The average age of the kids was one and a half years.
The area chief had declared them mingi and therefore the villagers had to kill them immediately.
I immediately arranged for the rescue team and the driver to travel to the villages in the morning to save the children’s lives.
The Hamer coordinator had warned me not to accompany the rescue team to the village as it posed a risk for my life and also for anyone else who wished to travel to the village. His exact words were, “It is dangerous for you Lale Labuko to come to this village and some of them may kill you.”
The rescue team started the journey to the valley early in the morning and arrived at Dalemi village in the afternoon after a long drive.
Sadly, two children had already been killed by the tribal elders in the preceding night at around midnight. One elderly man said that the two children had been pushed off a cliff in the middle of the night and that it was a sad and tragic end to the lives of the two babies.
The mother of one of the 3 babies had hid her child at the foot of a cave, waiting for the arrival of the rescue team. Hers is a story similar to the one in the bible where Moses’ mother hid her child from Pharos’ command as stated in Exodus 2:3. She had received information about a rescue team that was traveling from Jinka to Dalemi to save her son’s life.
When she heard that the car had arrived at the village, she requested the coordinator to bring the child home, from the foot of the cave.
Most of the tribal villages in Hamer lack infrastructure – good roads are non-existant. We also had challenges with our old land-cruiser rescue car (about 14 years old). The driver had a flat tyre and a broken rear wheel.
Had it not been for these unforeseen challenges, our rescue would have arrived just in time to save the other two babies that sadly met their death in a horrific way. Hopefully we can one day get a new vehicle to help save more lives of such children.
Welcome to the family Dawit!
CHRISTMAS GREETINGS from the OMO VALLEY
A little insight into the everyday life of the children and a big thank you to all donors!
Impressions of happy children in their new home and school
NEW CLOTHES – NEW SHOES!
That was a very special day for the kids! With your donations it was possible to buy something extra for the children – new clothes and, above all, new shoes! Especially, the shoes made the children happy – to have really great sneakers instead of used flip-flops that are almost falling apart. Everything was bought locally in the country, so we also promote the economy there. And sending goods to Ethiopia (used clothing may not be imported at all) is unfortunately very expensive and – as we had to experience ourselves – really complicated!
A sweet photo is that of the little Metsenanet, the rescued baby from autumn last year (we reported a few stories before this one), the little one is developing splendidly and everyone has already taken her very firmly to their hearts.
REALLY GOOD NEWS – SCHOOL STARTS!
Despite this confused year, Lale Labuko and his team managed to build the school with the help of our donations and to open it in October. Now our formerly “ostracized” and “cursed” children sit together with other children of the Omo Valley in the classes (across all denominations, as the enclosed photos prove) and receive the education that will hopefully enable them to have a better life later – thanks to people like you who send us donations. As before, every cent that is donated goes directly to the children, we have no administrative expenses.
A short update on the Covid-19 situation: Corona is not such a big problem in this remote part of the world, masks are worn (more or less seriously, see photo) and hands are disinfected, but the numbers of infections are very low and none of the children and none of the team is or was ill.
Dear donors, sponsors, supporters of our project – OMO Child Ethiopia Austria wishes you a Merry Christmas! Stay healthy and start the New Year full of confidence.
In the end everything will be fine – and if it is not yet fine, then it is not the end!
FEDERAL CROSS OF MERIT FOR FLY & HELP FOUNDER REINER MEUTSCH
Reiner Meutsch, founder of the Fly & Help Foundation and sponsor of OMO Child Ethiopia, was presented with the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany by State Secretary Clemens Hoch on September 7, 2020 in the ballroom of the State Chancellery Rhineland-Pfalz in Mainz.
“It takes people like Reiner Meutsch who have good ideas, the courage to stand up for others and the conviction that the individual is not the next to himself, but that our society lives from everyone within their own possibilities makes a contribution, ”said the head of the State Chancellery during the presentation of the order. “Reiner Meutsch always takes responsibility for good cooperation – worldwide. He has thus become a role model. ”
Reiner Meutsch is deeply touched by this award: “This is a very special honor and appreciation – not only for me, but also for my entire team! The award gives us another tailwind for our committed work. ”
Reiner, congratulations on this award – no one deserves it more than you and your team!
Clemens Hoch, Reiner Meutsch and Sabine Bätzing-Lichtenthäler.
Photo: Torsten Silz/ Staatskanzlei RLP.
Das Fly & Help Team. Photo: Torsten Silz/ Staatskanzlei RLP.
COVID-19 IN THE OMO VALLEY
Whether it is due to the lack of opportunities for testing or whether in this case the remoteness of the region ensures: Corona – thank God – has not (yet?) arrived in the Omo Valley. In Jinka (after all, the place has a little over 40,000 inhabitants) there are so far only 7 proven infections. However, we know one thing for sure: neither Lale, nor anyone from his team, nor any of the children show any symptoms of the disease. And everyone knows how important it is to protect themselves: the mummies make sure that the children wash their hands regularly and well and hygiene gel is also available.
The start of school is of course questionable due to the corona situation. Nobody knows exactly what the government’s order or requirements will look like. To make matters worse, the Internet has been cut again at the moment because tensions between the ethnic groups have returned after the murder of a musician from the Oromo tribe. After the arrest of an opposition politician, there are now repeated protests and political unrest in Addis Ababa.
But that’s the way it is in a country like Ethiopia, there is only one thing that helps: be patient and wait until the conditions normalize a little.
We will keep you up to date!
ASSISTANT TEACHER WANTED!
Since school operations can start in the new school in Jinka in autumn, teachers are sought, especially for the languages English, French and German. If you have the qualifications, have fun teaching and would like to spend a few months on a voluntary basis in the Omo Valley, you are welcome to contact me at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org to clarify the details.
I look forward to hearing from you!
COMPLETION OF THE SCHOOL BUILDING
Now it is done, the school building is finished. Each block has 3 bright, friendly classrooms, the basic furniture (desks and benches, blackboard, etc.) is ready and there are clean, sanitary facilities. So school can start in autumn!
MAY IN INTRODUCE: METSENANAT
The little Metsenanat has been in the care of OMO Child for a few days now. The little girl is an orphan and when Lale found out about her fate, he did not hesitate to take her in. Now she is no longer all alone in the world but has 50 siblings and is lovingly cared for by the whole team. Welcome to your new home, Metsenanat!
DONATION FROM LIONS CLUB WELS
On February 14, 2020, the Lions Club Wels gave OMO Child the chance to report on the fate of the Mingi children and, as so often, Robert Ebner’s presentation caused great dismay. Gerhard Dimmler then presented a generous donation of 1,000 euros.
Thank you very much for that and we promise: Every cent of it will reach the children in the OMO valley!
ADVENTURE CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE WORLD – 100,000 FLIGHT KM FOR GOOD PURPOSE
On November 13, 2019, a fascinating two-hours live show took place in the OÖ Nachrichten Forum in Linz. Reiner Meutsch, founder of the Fly & Help Foundation, which also strongly supports OMO Child, told the astonished audience about his spectacular circumnavigation of the globe in 2010. Musicians and acrobats from different continents accompany his lively, richly illustrated stories. Part of the income of his event tour – at least 5,000 euros – will benefit his Fly & Help Foundation.
However, Mr. Meutsch has not only fulfilled his long-cherished dream with this journey, but has also built schools for the poorest of the poor in various locations as part of his journey around the world. What a nice thought, to fulfill oneself a heart’s desire and at the same time to do good for the long term. Upon his return, the idea of school projects got wings and it became a big deal, many schools in many countries were built, so much help, education and love for so many children all over the world. This message, that it is possible and feasible to realize one’s dreams and at the same time to help people, for whom fate has not dealt a good hand of cards, I believe, warms everyone’s heart.
We are in close contact with Fly & Help, and the school construction of our association in the Omo Valley near the Mingi children was supported by Fly & Help with approx. 87,000 Euros. Mr Meutsch thankfully mentioned our association OMO Child Ethiopia Austria in the evening many times and during the break and after the event many people approached us and inquired about the purpose of our initiative. As always, the responses to our answers were: “What, there are children being actively killed, today? I cannot believe that.”
But, unfortunately, that’s true, as you, dear reader of our homepage, know only too well.
Therefore: please help to give the rescued children a home and to receive the education that turns them into open-minded people who put an end to this terrible superstition once and for all. Every euro helps!
from left to right: Robert Ebner, Barbara Ebner, Reiner Meutsch, Eva Gorbach, Franziska Leeb © Copyright by Ebner
CHECK HANDOVER OF THE GENEROUS DONATION FROM THE ROUND TABLE AUSTRIA
The initiatives to raise money to support the children and for the latest project of OMO Child – the construction of a school on the grounds of the home – continue. At the end of September 2019, Julius Schneitler, National Past-President of Round Table Austria, presented a generous donation of 5,000 euros, which was financed by the sale of the GAIA Photo Calendar 2019 (lead photographer Martin Engelmann from Innsbruck). Round Table Austria promotes and sells this calendar every year, and the proceeds go to charitable organizations (https://www.gaia-fotokalender.com/)
Our heartfelt thanks for that!
KINDERLACHEN – VOM GLÜCK LERNEN ZU DÜRFEN
The new book of FLY & HELP is ready!
In wonderful texts by the author Sylvia Jost, 20 of the project countries and children from these countries are presented in a very special way on more than 270 pages in a large format. Also Lale Labuko was interviewed for this book and reports on several double pages about OMO Child!
The book can be ordered now at http://www.buch-kinderlachen.de and will help finance the construction of more schools.
So that the laughter of the children goes around the world!
THE NEW HOME IS FINISHED AND SCHOOL CONSTRUCTIONS HAS STARTED!
In the middle of September, the children moved to their new home with bag and baggage. Separate sleeping blocks for girls and boys and a building with common areas (kitchen, dining room) in the middle. Water toilets and showers – the kids could not believe their luck!
The design of the outdoor area has not yet begun – and for good reason: in mid-October the excavation work for the school building started and by this time the foundation walls are also build.
Building is often very difficult in this remote part of Ethiopia. The transport routes are long and the heavy rains that fall in the rainy season, although never last long, but the parched earth cannot absorb the water and so turn access roads quickly into mud deserts – a real challenge for the transport vehicles!
But Lale and his team will not give up and we are sure to be back soon with new photos of the construction progress!
VISIT FROM UPPER AUSTRIA
Lorenz Loimer, a young Upper Austrian, volunteered 5 weeks at the Omo Child children’s home, learning and playing with the children and helping with the work to finish the new home.
Our heartfelt thanks for this!
DONATION CHEQUE BY OBERBANK
Every year, Oberbank specifically supports institutions that are committed to helping needy and sick children and young people and has chosen OMO Child for its 2018 Christmas donation. We would like to thank you on behalf of the Mingi children!
From left to right: Dir. Günther Ott, Head of Business Unit Linz North and Markus Piringer, Branch Manager Leonding, present Robert Ebner with the donation cheque.
A BIG THANK YOU TO MS. SUYANG KIM
Ms. Kim was a pianist at EBNER Industrieofenbau’s anniversary celebration “70 years of EBNER in Motion”. Surprisingly, Ms. Kim donated her entire fee for this performance to OMO Child Austria. Many thanks!
PROJECT WITH STUDENTS FROM THE FADINGER SCHOOL IN LINZ
The talk given in April by Lale Labuko and Robert Ebner about the Mingi children at the Fadinger school to students in grade 7 and 8 left a deep impression with many of the students. Three of them – Lukas Reiter, Laurenz Urban and Maximilian Märkl – want to help actively. After they have finished school in 2019, the three young men want to spend several weeks or months in Omo Valley to work as support teachers for the Mingi children. During a meeting with the School Head Teacher, Sylvia Bäck, the three students and Robert Ebner discussed the merits of this idea and, so that Luki, Laurenz and Maxi can see for themselves how their plan could be implemented, the three will travel to Ethiopia in October to spend a week with Lale, his team and the children. The students will finance the trip themselves, while OMO Child together with Robert Ebner will help with the preparations, arrange the necessary vaccinations and make sure they get the best deal on flights, etc. If you would like to support the three students, then please click here https://www.gofundme.com/omochild-ethiopia
We are looking forward to posting their reports with photos and videos about their trip and Christmas traditions in Ethiopia at the beginning of 2019!
Our thanks go to the Head Teacher Sylvia Bäck and the three students’ parents who have expressed their trust in our project by supporting their children’s enthusiasm. We will not disappoint them.
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROECT IN OMO VALLEY
As part of the housing project for the children, a school is also to be built. This school will be available not only to the Mingi children but to all the children from the Omo Valley. This is important as Lale Labuko is convinced that only education can eliminate the awful curse. Well-trained teachers will instruct the children so that together with the care provided by Lale and his team, they will bring up open-minded, well-educated young people who are in a position to determine their own future and the future of their country.
FUNDRAISING WITH SPORTS EVENTS
One of our sponsors, Macquarie Investment, had the idea of entering a team from their Vienna and London offices in the Spartan Race in Wiener Neustadt as a Team for OMO Child, who then fought their way through the mud! Here are some photos taken at that event: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9zczyt90cmqngx6/Sparta.mp4?dl=0
And now even more donations are coming in from Macquarie offices worldwide.
Many thanks indeed!
MORE IDEAS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Many other projects are in the pipeline, e.g. another school project with a high school in Vienna, cooperation with various service clubs, etc.
We will keep you updated!
YOU CAN HELP TOO
Mit einer Patenschaft sichern Sie nicht nur die Grundversorgung eines Kindes, sondern seine Zukunft.