The Ethiopian government and a faith-based U.S. charity are teaming up on an experimental project to help orphans thrive in their home countries rather than be put up for adoption overseas. From the town of Bantu, our correspondent reports that the U.S. government is studying the project as Ethiopia becomes the nation of choice for American families seeking international adoptions.Nice to see that last quote from a Senator who is sponsoring the Families for Orphans Act.
Hundreds of Bantu's tiniest children stand in a muddy field at the Bright Hope Education Center, singing a welcome song to a team of foreign visitors led by U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
Three years ago, Bantu was little more than a collection of huts connected to the outside world by a footpath. Its population was decimated by drought and disease. Countless orphans were left to fend for themselves.
Today, many of these orphans attend classes and receive two meals a day at the newly built Bright Hope Education Center. The center is a joint project of the Ethiopian government and the Buckner Foundation, a Texas-based charity dedicated to helping children, and Ethiopia's Bright Hope Church.
Senator Landrieu has come to Bantu to look at how the project can be used as a model for reaching orphans and impoverished children worldwide.
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Senator Landrieu says the overwhelming numbers [of orphans] dictate caring for orphans near their birthplace, while international adoption should be a last resort.
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