The Future of Alexander

In the summer of 2016 a sweet woman named Almaz worked for me as I conducted my PhD research in Ethiopia.  On a particularly hot day Almaz collapsed and we rushed her to the hospital.  I was informed it was due to malaria but didn't pry.  Her son Alexander, who was 11 at the time, stayed with me for about 10 days while his mother was in the hospital because his father had passed away and he had no family in the small town of Humera where we lived. From that point on I financially had been helping Alexander and his mother to pay for their rent ($25 a month) and food ($25 a month). When I returned to Humera in 2017 I was surprised to see that Alex had lost a lot of weight and so had his mother. Despite the fact that I was sending money, Alex's mother was saving it in case I decided one day to stop sending money.  To save money they were living in a single room with no electricity (the temperature is regularly over 100) and they were going to the bathroom outside. I found them a better place to live and on the day, they were to move I came to their house and Alex's mother was on the floor, having severe seizures. We rushed her to the hospital and she stopped breathing on the way. Thankfully, the doctors were able to resuscitate her.  It was on this day I learned the truth, Almaz had been living for ten years with HIV and she now was AIDS and the associated complications. 

Alex never knew his father and the events surrounding his passing are still unclear. Almaz was a refugee from Eritrea and was probably doing anything she could to survive.  As ugly as it may seem, prostitution is the only way to survive in such difficult circumstances for many women on their own. Thankfully Alex is free from HIV, unlike many of the other children in the town. However, with advanced AIDS comes serious complications and Almaz is increasingly spending more time in the hospital.  The hospital bills are increasing and Almaz is no longer able to provide for her family.  Although no matter how much I beg her not to, she spends every day that she is able selling peanuts for 10 cents a handful along the roadside. 

I am reaching out to my family because Alex and his mother have become my family while I have lived in Ethiopia.  Alex is my pride and joy.  He was not able to speak English a year ago and today we can have a full conversation about how he wants to become a doctor so he can cure HIV.  Therefore, I am asking all of you to help me support Alexander and his mother.  If we can raise $2,000 this will cover their living expense for a year.  If we can raise more than we can even move Alex and Almaz to a city where she will have access to much more advanced medical care so that he life can be prolonged and she can see her son graduate from High School.  Alexander is 12 now and I have promised him he will complete his secondary education in the US.  However, as you all know I am still a student myself, at least for the next year, so during that time I am asking for help. 

We are currently also planning an emergency plan in case something tragic does happen to Alamz and Alexander becomes orphaned.  However, it is a long legal process and his mother refugee status and lack of documentation about his father is proving challenging even to get Alex a birth certificate. The funds raised may also be utilized to get Alex his birth certificate, passport and other documents needed because Alexander will be in my sole care if his mother leaves us too soon. Any additional funds beyond what Alex and Almaz need will be donated to the Humera orphanage for HIV infected children. Thank you all for taking the time to read this and for even considering changing the lives of a sick single mother who has literally sacrificed her life to take care of a very special little boy.

  • Marie Spiker 
    • $200 
    • 48 mos
  • Shivdeep Hayer 
    • $200 
    • 48 mos
  • PAU LDH 
    • $149 
    • 48 mos
  • Simranpreet Kaur 
    • $10 
    • 48 mos
  • Dildeep Singh 
    • $20 
    • 48 mos
See all


Megan E. Fenton 
West Lafayette, IN
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