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An Evening with a Purpose - HORCO's Celebration of Clean Water
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By Bob Kline

Hope for Rural Children and Orphans (HORCO) recently held its 7th annual Celebration of Clean Water fund-raiser at Hillside Church. Although HORCO is not known very well in the London Community, the event has become popular with its faithful supporters in part because of the unique dining experience it offers in partnership with the Ethiopian Community in London. The evening features an Ethiopian buffet meal complete with all the injera and wat you can eat! Top that off with a cup of real Ethiopian coffee and highlights of the year’s work in Ethiopia, and adventurous diners are prepared to donate generously to help raise funds to meet HORCO's annual budget of about $50,000 for clean water and sanitation work in rural Ethiopia. A key value of HORCO is its promise to use 100% of gifts received for implementation of the work in Ethiopia.

Currently, there are more people in rural Ethiopia without access to safe water and sanitation than the total population of Canada! HORCO is a volunteer-based, registered charity (2008) actively working in rural Ethiopia to change that reality. It works directly with the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC) Development Office to partner with rural communities who have asked for help, and who are committed to resource-sharing in order to carry out the work and sustain the completed facilities.

In the last six years, HORCO has worked in an area just 80 km east of Addis Ababa. We have provided resources to empower 12 villages, a small town and a school to help over 20,000 people gain access to clean water and learn sanitary practices. Where previously, women and children spent hours every day fetching dirty water, clean water is now within a 10-15 walk to the community water point. People are developing hygienic habits, and the use of pit latrines is cleaning up the environment. All of this has the capacity to reduce the terrible toll of water-borne diseases, which in turn reduces medical bills, enhances school attendance, improves food security, frees up time for economic pursuits (e.g., micro-financing) and in general leads to poverty reduction. One woman in the Kersa Villages said, “No one has ever shown us this kind of love as the Kale Heywet Church. We are drinking clean water. Our kids are healthy and even our animals are healthy. God bless you. "We are grateful for our corporate sponsors and our faithful donors, who enable us to help make a difference in this area where >50,000 people are still waiting for help, and there are no other NGOs working. Our EKHC partner says, “HORCO is a small organization with a large footprint!"

If you would like to learn more about us or support our work, check out www.horco.ca and/or like us on facebook.com/horcocanada. If you would like to introduce HORCO to friends or neighbors, invite us to hold an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony in your home. For information contact bob@horco.ca or phone 519-649-0271.