To tell the story of the Dandii Aster Home, one needs to know the story of the street kids’ program called Abdi Borii. Each step along this journey of God directing us to address this impossible problem, and remembering that He loves and answers the needs of the poor, has been a testimony of the true meaning of religion. Found in James 1:27, it says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
So in 2008 in western Ethiopia, an unlikely group of missionaries sought out to do God’s will for others after they had been shaken by a family tragedy. They worked at the Gimbie Adventist hospital helping to build a nursing school, cleaning and assisting in the hospital, teaching at the school, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, attempting to give their messed up lives for God’s service. It is said that God doesn’t choose the equipped, but equips those He chooses, and this time it couldn’t have been more true. As the group struggled through illnesses, internal arguments, and homesickness, God patiently took each of their hearts and tested them to see if they would follow Him. After just a couple of months, three filthy, adventurous, intelligent street boys showed up at the Gimbe Adventist Hospital. The oldest one, Jirata, was HIV+ and was seriously ill. The other two boys were Jirata’s “astromomies” (or family hospital aids). They were to take care of Jirata’s personal needs while he was in the hospital. Since these three boys were only between the ages of 6 and 7, it shocked all of us that they were on their own in the world. Jirata stayed in the hospital about one month to recover from his infection, in the meantime, a missionary doctor, Pricilla, informed us that Jirata's HIV was getting worse, since he was not taking his medicine regularly. Jirata was born with HIV, and his parents had both died from AIDS about one year after he was born. Since at that time people in town were not educated with correct information about AIDS, Jirata had been made to live in a dog house at a neighbor’s home where he was thrown scraps of food to keep him from infecting their family members.
Between Dr. Pricilla, two amazing nuns, Matty and Suzie, and our crazy missionary group, we decided that it was too dangerous for Jirata, and the other two boys, Demeka, and Lalisa, to be out on their own. And that is how the Abdi Borii (or Tomorrow’s Hope) street kid program started, because of the needs of three little, vivacious street boys who grabbed our hearts and showed us theirs.
We only dreamed of a place that could belong to these kids. We rented three different places, but we could not call it “theirs”. The Abdi Borii program grew to twenty-five street kids within a month, and seventy-four in a few years. The program allowed the poorest of the poor to enjoy an education (their choice of public or private school), school uniforms and supplies, a daily hot lunch, basic medical care, clothes and shoes when possible, and a place where everybody knew their name.
But in the winter of 2015, the dream for a place grew stronger. The need for a safe haven for young street girls came to our attention. We had almost all boys in the program, because the orphaned girls or at-risk young women were quickly being snatched up into homes to be workers. Unfortunately, this situation produced more babies and more shame. So a generous person sold their tractor, and donated the money for a home for unwed mothers and at-risk young women. A small lot was purchased and the dream started to come to fruition.
We prayed for months, afraid to build and then lose the building because of civil problems in the country.. We prayed that God would not have us build, if the building would be unfinished or taken. Needing more than just the tractor funds, we prayed that God would send us the money for the building without us asking anyone for donations. And if God didn’t want the new home built, the funds would not come. Within a couple of days, the funds started coming in. One lady said that God impressed her that we needed money for the kids. She said she would send $1000, but ended up adding much more to the account!
So a year after the groundbreaking of the Dandii Aster home, we are finally finished. God kept us pretty well within our budget even though inflation has hit Ethiopia hard. We could not have seen the project finished so well and in budget without our family, Feyisa and Mimi, working in Ethiopia for the kids with their whole hearts and listening to God’s will. The name Dandii Aster means “Esther’s Journey: from orphan to queen.” It is our desire that this home not only gives the street kids a place to meet of their own, but also houses the unwed mothers, orphaned girls, and at-risk young women so that we can halt the chances of producing more street kids. We want to make education available to all of them, no matter their status or economic standing, so that they can learn of the God who loves them, is looking out for them, and is sending them help and hope for the future.
To financially help with these life changing ongoing programs please visit the Abdi Bori and Dandii Aster project pages, There you can donate securely online. You may want to make a monthly recurring donation through your PayPal account. Donating through PayPal is easy and secure. Your tax deductible gift will be used 100% for these people. No administrative expenses are taken out of your donation!
Thank you for sharing your means that will mean so much to their future!
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Here4Them is a 501 (c) (3) public charity. This Christian ministry is supported by people who believe in our work and mission.