Koni Yimer, our Program Manager in Ethiopia, recently sat down for a chat with Kefer, a BTO graduate. During their conversation Kefer shared some of her life experiences, as well as her hopes for the future.Kefer, what was your life like before?I grew up in an orphanage and when I turned 18 I was forced to leave....Read now
In 2015, Hangatu and Sean made the selfless decision to substitute material gifts at their wedding for the gift of child sponsorship at Beyond The Orphanage. Through generous donations from their guests, they were able to sponsor not one, but two Ethiopian children. Hangatu shares, in her own words, what compelled her to donate her wedding to charity.
Weddings are an incredible celebration of love and family and we wanted our gift registry to reflect that. Rather than amassing more “things” we didn’t need it just made sense to share the joy and use our wedding to create something more meaningful for people who really needed it.
My mother was heavily pregnant with me when my parents arrived in Australia as refugees from Ethiopia back in 1985. I didn’t realise then how lucky I was to be one of so few people to have made it out and begin my life in such a wonderful country. If my parents had not made the journey, I would never have been blessed with meeting my husband, Sean.
Sean started life a little differently, with an idyllic Aussie childhood in Geelong filled with camping trips, footy & bbq’s but it was his lucky (mostly!) decision to move to Melbourne which led to us meeting and falling in love back in 2007.
Ultimately the idea of making a wedding charity donation came from Sean’s mum, Karen, who told us about her favourite charity Beyond The Orphanage and the wonderful work they do in Ethiopia – enriching the lives of children and young adults through social programs and education funding.
The incredible success stories were so touching and I was particularly moved by the heartbreaking traumas these people had suffered because it could so easily have been my own story.
The great thing about using the money collected at our wedding to sponsor two kids is that we can put a face and name to the opportunities that our donation has created. They are incredible people with moving stories and you can’t help but share in the joy of their success and hope for the future.
If you’re inspired by Hangatu and Sean’s story, why not consider donating an event that is near and dear to you? Whether it’s your wedding, birthday or Mother’s Day, our new online fundraising platform makes it extra easy (and fun!).