Hanna's Orphanage

I was recently involved with organising a charity talent show that was held at The University of Reading. Mostly I was the Website Developer / Promotions Designer / Producer’s Slave, but what I want to talk about here is one of the charities the show was raising money for.

The inspiration behind the two chosen charities was that they both support children in dire need of help. But more than that, The Ding’s Got Talent Producer and I also chose them because we had a specific connection to them.

Hanna’s Orphanage supports Hanna Orphans Home which branches out throughout Ethiopia but is primarily based in the capital, Adis Ababa. The charity was in fact co-founded by my cousin (Jennifer Higgins) after she went on holiday to Ethiopia back in 2006. Ever since then it’s been fairly difficult to talk to her without her pestering delighting you by bringing up the charity in conversation.

Like a lot of charities, Hanna’s Orphanage is fairly small. But this has its advantages. In this case, it means that the charity is entirely volunteer run, so everything goes to supporting Hanna Orphans Home (for comparison’s sake, 13% of all money raised by the British Red Cross goes towards administration costs). It also means that they can tell you exactly where every penny is spent. For instance, I took part in an event last year, and I know that the money we raised from that went specifically towards buying new beds (new regulations had been introduced meaning that each orphan was required to have their own bed, whereas previously they had been sharing).

Every now and then a member of our family will join Jenny in taking part in some physical challenge of some sort to keep her quiet show our support:

  • My cousin Matthew raised £257 by completing a half marathon not too long ago.
  • I raised £160 when I joined Jenny in doing the Major Series 12km run/obstacle course last year.
  • She managed to convince her siblings to do a skydive raising money for the charity.
  • and the list goes on.

Since it’s inception, Hanna’s Orphanage has gone from strength to strength, hosting parties and pub quizzes, and even establishing a partnership with Cass Business School. And donations have appeared from all over the place: a couple specifying to donate to the charity as a wedding gift to them, some wonderful children at Droxford School raising £1800 from a spelling bee, and even a musician (Amy Eftekhari) donating 5% of the profits from her CD sales.

I can’t help but admire and commend Jenny for all of her efforts with Hanna’s Orphanage, and that’s why Hanna’s Orphanage was one of The Ding’s Got Talent’s chosen charities.

But as a final note, I just want to emphasise that despite the poverty in Ethiopia, it’s a beautiful place. In my cousin’s own words on her blog:
“So often people’s only images of Ethiopia are of famine and war and desert (because that’s often what’s portrayed in the UK media) and they forget that there are roads, and cinemas, and waterfalls, and mountains, and cities and houses!”


Posted: March 3rd, 2013
Categories: General