Olympian returns from Ethiopia with hope rather than despair

Catriona shares a warm moment with Sadia, one of the many Ethiopian students. (Photo: CCF Canada)

MARKHAM, Ontario (Canada) – PRNewswire – Olympic champion Catriona Le May Doan recently visited Ethiopia and witnessed something completely unexpected.  Instead of tiny, emaciated children with wrinkled skin hanging off their bones, Le May Doan saw children and families thriving. “It is not the typical view of Ethiopia and this region of Africa,” she said.

“I thought I was going to be overwhelmed by tragedy because I heard this was the worst drought in the region in 60 years. But, I saw hope and lives that are transforming as a result of hard work, development projects, and the return of rains,” said Le May Doan.  “In the midst of all the depressing news we hear from Africa, I think it’s a positive message which Canadians need to hear.”

Le May Doan traveled to Ethiopia to learn about how donations and aid from Canadians are helping families and communities rebuild their lives.  She returned to Canada with clear sense of hope and eye-witness accounts of empowerment, change and recovery.

During the visit, Le May Doan spoke with families, and distributed essentials such as mosquito nets, blankets, school supplies and emergency kits purchased by Canadians through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada Gift Catalogue.  The catalogue provides individuals with an opportunity to purchase vital goods and services for children in developing countries at Christmas and throughout the year.

Earlier this year, famine was declared after back-to-back years of poor rain.  The drought and famine conditions are now easing across the Horn of Africa, with ongoing rains improving water supplies in most parts of the Horn.  Natural vegetation is also increasing across the drought-stricken parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.  Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, in partnership with local groups and organizations, is on the ground responding to the food crisis. By donating to the cause, Canadians are helping to save hundreds of thousands of children at risk from malnutrition and disease.

Catriona Le May Doan is a two-time Olympic Gold medal winner and a prominent Canadian sportscaster. She is volunteering her time to support Christian Children’s Fund of Canada Christmas Gift Catalogue campaign that encourages Canadians to purchase gifts that support the Horn of Africa and children in developing countries.

About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada and the ChildFund Alliance For more than 50 years, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) has helped children and families of all faiths break the cycle of extreme poverty around the world. CCFC has been working in Ethiopia since 1987, prompted by the severe drought that caused a famine in 1984 to 1985. CCFC is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a network of 12 child development organizations whose work encompasses more than 15 million children and their families in 55 countries with a total revenue of more than $500 million (CAD).  Visit www.ccfcanada.ca.

SOURCE Christian Children’s Fund of Canada