Decades of conflict, displacement and poverty, together with the scourge of HIV/AIDS has plunged Ethiopia, a culturally rich country of 75 million people into crisis. Children in Ethiopia are denied the fundamental life sources that many of us take for granted - food, shelter, education and above all else... hope.
One in six children in Ethiopia is orphaned, others are abandoned, some forced into child labour and many any die of HIV/AIDS and preventable illnesses such as malnutrition and diarrhea.
For those in extreme poverty a basic education is virtually impossible and early education is essentially non-existent in Ethiopia
It is in this context that the RAEY foundation was born. The school was initially founded by a husband and wife team of school teachers Mengesha and Freiwhot Gugsa. Through their church group, they were able to raise enough money to rent some sheds and employ a couple of teachers to provide schooling to the children of very poor families who, in one way or another, were victims of HIV/AIDS.
This small community school started with 38 children who were in poor health with infections and malnutrition. It immediately became apparent that medical aid would be a critical need of the fledgling school and improved health was the greatest priority to enable these children to learn and attend school.
Carolyn Roesler, a medical doctor, who at the time was volunteering at an orphanage in Addis Ababa, was introduced to Mengesha and Freiwhot Gugsa. As soon as Carolyn saw the conditions and the work that needed to be done, she put all her energy into RAEY. Since this humble beginning a lot has been achieved.
RAEY was created as a licensed entity in 2007, fully accredited to teach and support these children and their families.