FANOS is a small charitable organisation established in 1998 by its Founder Abeba Mersha. It is a registered charity in UK which is run by a board of trustees and assisted by volunteers both in the UK & Ethiopia.
For the first 8 years this charity was known by the name of TESFA. However as the name Tesfa started to be widely used by other Ethiopian charities, TESFA was eventually renamed to FANOS to keep its distinctiveness. The name ‘FANOS’ in Ethiopian language means a ’lantern’ ‘a source of light,’ which is meant to represent a light which FANOS aims to bring into children’s lives by improving their general welfare and ensuring they get a basic necessary education.
How did FANOS start?
The first sponsorship programme was started in 1998 by the Founder Abeba Mersha herself and Yonas, the first FANOS Trustee, and together they became the first child sponsors. They initially started sponsoring 13 children, out of which 7 were orphaned and 6 came from single parent families. There have been many obstacles since FANOS’ early days, in terms of lack of funds, experience and partnership links. However, FANOS soon realised that in order to overcome any obstacles and to be able to grow further as a charity organisation, it was essential to establish good working relationships with the local NGOs. FANOS’ first partner organisation became Tesfa Goh Ethiopia, Tesfa Brhan and WesSMCO. FANOS recognised that working in a partnership is very important in reaching more children and also avoiding duplicating the same projects. This is how FANOS’ sponsorship programmes started to grow.
Over the years FANOS has developed four core programmes to support increasing number of the most vulnerable children and young individuals, enabling them to improve their lives. The programmes consist of: Child Sponsorship; Back to School; Housing Project; and ICT/Book Project. These individual programmes aim to tackle different objectives but also work together whenever it is essential to help the most disadvantaged children and their families.
FANOS’ head office is in London (UK), which manages and monitors the activities of FANOS’ other two offices based in Ethiopia. The main office is located in Addis Ababa and the smaller branch is in Combolcha (the north part of Ethiopia).
Through the provision of sponsorship schemes and other FANOS’ projects, FANOS have supported over 240 children and 45 young individuals to date, who have either graduated from different professions or managed to set up their own businesses and became self-reliant. These young individuals are now in a position to help not only themselves, but also their families and communities. Their motivation to help other people is reflected in their choice of studies as many of them have become successful graduates in Nursing, Social Care, Teaching and other similar areas.
The main aim of FANOS is to give a helping hand to the most disadvantaged children and young people in Ethiopia who are left to the streets without having anyone to care and support them.
FANOS’ main objective is to relieve poverty and improve the lives of as many street and vulnerable children as possible, so they get better access to basic provisions such as food, clothing, shelter and healthcare, but mainly that they are able to go back to school and complete their basic education. Once the children manage to succeed in their basic education, FANOS is also there to help them progress to either Further/Higher education, or with setting up their own businesses for a sustainable future.
FANOS’s vision is all about sustainability, which is creating a world where everyone can have fulfilling lives and enjoy a rich level of well-being within the limits of what world can provide. Therefore FANOS will continue doing its best in reaching and helping more and more disadvantaged children so that they grow into successful young individuals who can then keep helping create a better community.
Today, FANOS’ most urgent effort for the next 5 years is to open its own Children’s Community Centre in Ethiopia for the use of not only FANOS’ sponsored children, but also to reach out to any other street children who may be cut off from society afraid to ask for help and so we can build a relationship with them. The Children’s Centre would be somewhere safe for children to go, wash, play, read or learn how to use a computer. Then gradually, those children can also be helped through FANOS’ sponsorship programmes.
FANOS’ other future mission includes improving slum, overcrowded and hazardous housing conditions of disadvantaged families and carers of orphaned children, ensuring appropriate sanitation is available by building latrines and cleaning communal areas to meet the health and safety of all.
These projects are very important but also very costly and therefore FANOS will continue raising as many funds as possible to achieve this. This is where sponsors and donors play the major part of making it happen!