by Joy Casey in Ethiopia

Over the years Joyful Place orphanage has received and cared for children with special needs that our organization is not equipped to handle long-term.  A woman from Sand Point, Idaho who has adopted many children, some with significant health issues, started an orphanage in Soddo about two hours from ours that creates a loving home for children who will never be adopted.  The name of her orphanage is Uryadi’s Village.  Jennifer is an Olympic equestrian and Uryadi is the horse that brought her Olympic recognition, also affording her amazing connections to build this beautiful facility.  Jennifer, her husband and children have a house in Soddo not far from the orphanage; they spend several months out of the year here in Ethiopia.

We visited Uryadi’s Village today.  The older children (36 of them) were in school, but we saw the babies and preschoolers… all 93 of them.  Some of the children are very ill and receive intense care, but the majority are happy and healthy.  Two children from our orphanage, Joyful Place, are here and I couldn’t wait to see them!  Both little girls have Cerebral Palsy.  Michu is doing beautifully and hasn’t lost that big smile we love.  I am not surprised that she is everyone’s favorite.  Miss Dureti, who is also deaf, is well and I loved seeing her smile… but she still has a ways to go.  They are fixing her special food and she is receiving physical therapy (as is Michu).

In two weeks, Jennifer and her family will come for three months.  Plans to construct a school for special needs children, a guest house and soccer field will unfold under her watch.  A German company is coming to put in a water system for the new acreage.  Seeing what she has accomplished thus far, I know these new additions will be done with excellence.

It gives me peace of mind knowing this resource is available to our organization.  Jennifer and her staff have big hearts and open hands and I know that any child placed in their capable hands will have the support necessary to achieve the best quality of life possible.  Join us in praying for this ministry to flourish!