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Experience Another World Without Leaving Yours

An objective of the editorial team at Christian Life in London Online is to spread the word about the wonderful ministries operating in the city and abroad. In this edition we hope you enjoy a journey with London based HORCO Canada. HORCO is the abbreviation for Hope for Rural Children and Orphans and HORCO Canada is a charitable corporation registered to carry-out water, sanitation, education and HIV/AIDS projects in developing nations.

Some background before a journey…..

Who is HORCO Canada?

The current focus of HORCO is rural Ethiopia is to provide resources for Board approved development projects to an all-Ethiopian NGO (non-governmental organizations) working in partnership with communities in rural Ethiopia. HORCO Canada and their affiliate Ethiopian NGO are Christian-based groups dedicated to sharing the love and compassion that stems from faith in Jesus Christ.

Yes, HORCO is a Christian based organization yet it is not their mandate to carry out religious activities or proselytizing. They work with rural communities who have identified needs and are willing to partner with HORCO in improving the quality of their lives, regardless of their race, creed or nationality. Simply put; HORCO is committed to respecting and protecting the dignity of all people served.

The Journey…..

How often do we hear or read about Ethiopia in the news? Almost never and when there is a mention about this African nation there is virtually no mention of the unimaginable living conditions. According to the United Nations Human Development Index that ranks countries by level of "human development", Ethiopia ranks 171st out of 182 countries!

To learn the real Ethiopian story, one must listen to those that live there, those that have lived there and those that have traveled there. Listen to those with HORCO and hear about their visits to Ethiopia. Listen to them as they share the challenges and gratification, the highs and lows, the sadness and the joys of working side by side with impoverished villagers. The HORCO team can only touch a small slice of the 49 million Ethiopians that do not have access to clean water and the over 75 million that do not have access to proper sanitation. Yes, a small slice but those touched by HORCO see their lives changed instantly giving new hope and new beginnings to those with no hope.

Can you imagine for just one moment drinking water from shallow, unprotected ponds that you share with animals? These sources are heavily contaminated by human and animal waste which is washed in when it rains. The stagnant water also serves as a breeding place for mosquitoes which is increases the probability of serious disease.

There is often not enough water available for people to bathe regularly. As a result, community members, especially children, suffer from scabies and eye infections. During these times, in an effort to conserve water, hand-washing after defecation or before eating is rarely practiced. Diarrheal and water-related diseases are among the principle causes of death in young children. Between 2010 and 2012, HORCO and its Ethiopian partners have completed work with over 1,000 families (about 6,000 adults and children) in three separate communities in the Gimbichu District of Oromia State to help them establish a safe water facility and effective practices for sanitation and personal hygiene.

In April, two of HORCO's Board Members, Bob Kline and Dagim Almaw traveled to the Gimbichu District to see first-hand the progress on the latest project. Community workers, under the guidance of Project Directors from the Development Office of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, were finalizing work on a 27,000 L reservoir which will be connected to a major Government-built water pipeline traversing the area, thus allowing virtually unlimited, 24/7 water access to at least three villages.

Women and children in this area have routinely walked for over an hour to get water from a polluted river source! With up to 5 or 6 water distribution points in the new system, the walk time will be about 10 - 15 minutes, and the water is clean, spring water from the mountains of Ethiopia, located many km away.

"It was a joy to see what is being accomplished by these communities with resources provided by our donors." said Director Kline. "When we arrived the villagers were so excited to show us how they worked together digging and placing many kilometers of pipeline to the water distribution points."

Kline explained that what remains to be done during the rest of the year is to teach families about sanitation and hygiene. "They will be taught how to build their own sanitary pit latrine in an effort to eliminate the common practice of "open defecation". Together with clean water, this will be a major step toward an improvement in community health, school attendance and productivity."

Here is a story from one of the villagers at another very successful completed HORCO project. This story was submitted by Mogus Mehari, Director, EKHC WASH Program.

Ms. Shewaye is one of the beneficiaries of the new water supply in Goro Buchura Village. She has 5 boys and 6 girls. Recently she has started collecting water from the new water point, which was constructed by the village with donated resources from HORCO and supervision by the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Program. She was asked about changes in her life style after having a new water supply near her home.

Ms. Shewaye started by saying; "I am so pleased and I have no word to express. I just want to say thank you so much and may God bless EKHC Staff and the HORCO donors abundantly. I would to get water from a river about 1 hour walk and usually dirty water. People and animals use from the same source. We have not had other options to collect water other than the river. Normally, we collect water 2 times a day with a heavy load on our back."

Ms. Shewaye was happy that she and her boys could help with some of the work: "We have participated in the labor work like digging trench, backfill, fencing. We also learned about health, sanitation and hygiene promotion. We understand the need for having sanitation facilities near our home, keeping clean our water containers and food stuff, keeping clean our home and utensils and keeping the environment clean.

The family and others in the community have put into practice the health and hygiene education: "Yes, we have made a good progress. We have built pit latrine, cleaning our utensils and others."

For the proper health and hygiene practices to become habitual takes time as the old way was the only way these villagers knew. Here, as with so many other villages in Ethiopia typhoid, diarrhea, ameba and others diseases are abundant and when the illness needs attention, villagers have to travel a long distance for medical care and spend time and money.

There is new hope as the village has recently started using the clean water, hope they will see a great change in their health. Ms. Shewaye says: "Even at this stage, it is wonderful to have safe water supply in the center of our community. We can use more water and reduce our time and energy."

On behalf the implementing agency and HORCO, our partner in Canada, we concluded our interview by saying 'thank you' to Ms. Shewaye.

How important is this work of HORCO? Based on actual studies in rural Ethiopia, as shown on the diagram, investments in water and sanitation do much more than reduce the prevalence of water-borne diseases. This makes a lot of sense — without basic services like water and sanitation it is difficult to expect sustainable development to take place, as precious resources (like time, physical strength and money) go for medical expenses and fetching water.

There is more work to be done, much more. According to Ethiopian estimates in 2011, well over half of all rural Ethiopians still lack access to safe water and effective sanitation. In Gimbichu, where HORCO is currently the only group working, there are an estimated 50,000 people (over 100 rural communities) waiting for HORCO and the local NGO to help them. They need assistance, expertise and funding to develop their own water supplies and learn proper sanitation and personal hygiene to improve the quality of life in their communities.

HORCO is looking ahead and is now considering a $40,000 project proposal to impact about 3,400 Ethiopians for 2013. $40,000 is a lot of money to raise. As you and like-minded Londoners become aware of how this important work has an immediate and long term positive impact, we hope the community will pull together to ensure the 2013 HORCO projects move from a proposal to a reality.

Why not consider attending the 5th annual, HORCO fund-raising dinner slated for Saturday, November 17th at Hillside Church, 250 Commissioners Rd E.? There will be a fabulous Ethiopian buffet dinner with a Canadian option along with a presentation by Development Officer Kurkura Waffo. This will be followed by top notch entertainment by London jazz singer Denise Pelley and the Harvest Drum Choir.

For more information or to order tickets contact Bob Kline at 519.649.0271 or Dagim Almaw 519.681.5319

You can also learn more about HORCO's mission and development work at or