Ethiopia - Challengers on a Mission

€5,374 of €3,500 goal

Raised by 60 people in 14 months
So here is my story...  I seem to always look for ways to challenge myself but also help others hence the name Challengers on a mission.  

My name is Heather Le Rest, I am half British half American married to a French man and we have 3 amazing children. I am passionate about helping a small group of handicapped orphans in Gonder, a town in Northern Ethiopia. These children are so special.  To the outside world, they are disabled but I prefer to think they have extra-ordinary abilities and I am humbled and thankful every time I can be in their presence. 

I have been visiting Ethiopia for over 8 years and over the years I have literally carried 2000 of kilos of excess luggage to help support these amazing children.  I have collected clothes, toys, art supplies, medical supplies, food and toiletries.  I have also financed and sourced various medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers and a special oxygen machine.  I paid for a physiotherapist to visit daily to help rehabilitate the children.  I also arranged for the building of customized chairs and tables so that every child can sit-up properly as before they had one tinny chair only.  I have paid for and arranged for a day out for all of the children - for most children it was the first time they have been able to leave the orphanage or ever been in a motorized car.  I also arranged and financed for a day out for all of the carers. I have funded the solar power for a remote village in the south of Ethiopia through the assistance of the Missionaries of Charity.

Having lived in Dubai for 19 years, I was geographically close to Ethiopia and was able to make a few trips a year but now I am in Brittany in France so it is a little more complicated but that will not stop me.  The next trip is planned for June 2 for 8 days.  

My mission for this trip is to:
1.     Re-paint the common area for the children with fun colourful images.  
2.       Decorate the ceiling with fun bunting that will be hand made to animate the ceiling which is often the only view for some children who are laying down most of the time.
3.       Take clothes for the 22 children ranging from 3 months to 15 years old.  These are second hand and collected through the school my kids go to.
4.       Source 2 new wheel chairs and one special walker. 
5.       Take additional supplies so that I can help in a local school about 40km away from Gondar towards the Semien Mountains.
6.       Take some supplies to a very small village where there is a lovely lady who suffers in silence but is always smiling.
You can see my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/challengersonamission/ to see what has been done over the years.  I generally travel alone but sometimes I am very lucky and my friend Colin comes, once my friend Anthia came and also my husband.

I will create an event through Facebook and open the trip up to 5 people who would like to come.  They can help with the painting, playing with the kids and also visit the school and the remote village.  I will in exchange teach yoga every morning and evening in one of the worlds most beautiful places.
PLEASE KNOW THIS: I always pay for my own flights, internal transport, food and accommodation.  No fundraising is ever to pay for the cost of doing the trip.  This is really important for me to stay true to the cause.  There is no middle person.  I negotiate hard to get the best prices for any equipment I take.  100% of all funds donated or raised are spent on wheel chairs or any specific supplies needed.  I raise my money through table-top sales of old stuff and teaching yoga and RPM and TRX.  I do what I can.

Everything acheived until today has been thanks to the amazing people that have donated old items to sell or made donations.  This is such a team effort to help make the lives of these children that bit happier.  

I try to live my life with the same words as the orphanage -
 I am convinced that if we each to our part AND do that part with full passion and love, we can make a difference.  



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Another great day with some very generous donations. I went to my local gym and they had all put together a box of supplies. Aleth from Thé A L'Ouest donated some special corrective shoes for children. The generosity of people has been mind blowing. I travel June 2nd to Paris then 10 hour stopover to then fly to Addis Ababa and then connect to Gondar to arrive sunday morning and then straight to work in the orphanage. Doing small things with great love makes such a difference.
amazing supplies given by members of gym
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Fantastic Day with another kind donation, news of someone deciding to donate from an event they are planning in Dubai and my last yoga class before I travel. Last few things to pack. Heavily loaded with 6 bags so that is 138 kilos. Amazing. That is also not including the 3 wheel chairs sent from Addis earlier this month that I arranged and also a type of walker and another wheelchair sent by post last week. Lets hope it all gets there
Crozon Yogis such nice beautiful people
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some fantastic days of fundraising. Recived some amazing donations from people in France but also from abroad. I did a table top sale and raised 160Euro and taught another class of yoga for 60 euro. My friend did a table top sale in Dubai and will let me know the final number soon. The special walker has been purchased. The main bags have been packed with more still to come. We are above the target but this just means we can achieve even more like getting table and chairs for the newly arrived orphans. Thank you everyone. Just under 2 weeks until I travel. Thank you again for the amazing support and for doing small things with great love.
Isa and Cecile and me at the sale
Helena and I at the sale getting ready
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An amazing few days in terms of fundraising but also some alarming information. Yoga on the beach was great with 25 euros and today a class in the local gym also 25 Euros. Then some amazing donations by many. In Ethiopia they recently changed the law and have stopped all adoptions internationally. This has already started to impact the care system that is already under pressure and under resourced. The orphanage in Gondar is meant for 15 children and now they are 24 children. The care is needed more than ever. Thank you Helena for your donation of special crutches that Asmo needs as he is outgrowing his last ones I supplied. The charity sale for May 20th is now registered so hopefully that will be a good last boost. The wheelchairs have been sourced and depending on funds I can see how many we can get but 4 is the ideal number. I am still searching hard for the GAIT WALKER.
new crutches on their way for Asmo
Thank you for coming to the yoga classes
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€5,374 of €3,500 goal

Raised by 60 people in 14 months
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