MCF - Our Activities

MCF is helping families affected by HIV/AIDS.

We help address the multiple impacts affecting our families.  Our vision is to assist families through financial, material and emotional supports, in particular:

Since starting operations in 2008, the impact on our families has been immense.  From being in critically ill health, our families are now healthy, children are in full-time education and have a real chance for the future, while their mothers are beginning to move on from basic subsistence living and poor health to developing their own businesses.

Basic Needs Assistance to Families

All our families are women headed households.  The women live with the virus, and often the children are also positive.  When MCF started they were all in a very poor condition and often critically ill.  We give rental assistance, ensure they can meet their basic food requirements, and often provide other basic needs such as bedding and clothes.  This allows the family to get back on their feet, and also means children no longer have to drop out of education in order to feed the family, often by begging.

See case studies of some families we assist in this way.

Ensuring Education and a Future for All

MCF has ensured all the children in the Program are secure in full-time education, and we monitor their progress with both the parents and the schools.  Previously the children often dropped out of school to support the family, but now they have an opportunity to receive an education.  Their parents understand the importance of this in giving them all a chance for a better life.  Many of our children have received certificates of merit for achievement this year and are thriving given this new opportunity!  Next year we will celebrate our first university scholarship!
We believe education is the master key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Ensuring Access to Medical Assistance

As part of the development of our program we have ensured all those affected by HIV/AIDS receive access to free Anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy. We also ensure their diet is appropriate to ensure the therapy works effectively, offering short-term supplements where necessary. We also provide a limited Medical Assistance Fund, where we can pay up to 50% of their additional medical expenses, on a case-by-case basis.

Developing Small Businesses

Since the start of our program in 2008, our families have been guided in saving a proportion of the assistance provided to them by MCF.  These savings were monitored by MCF, to encourage families to plan for the future and provide a safety net for themselves.  Now, one year on, with guidance from MCF Officers, families are beginning to invest in small business ideas, including food preparation and development of handicrafts (see case studies on Our Families page).

It will still take time for some of these businesses to allow families to become sufficient, but the impact on the women’s self-esteem is immediate, together with the greater control they now feel they have on their lives.  In order to develop the effectiveness of these businesses further, MCF is investigating with the women the idea of forming cooperatives (e.g. handicrafts co-op).

In September 2009, we commenced a partnership with WISE (Women in Self-Employment), an indigenous organization based in Addis Ababa. Twenty MCF women received Basic Business Training from WISE trainers. WISE has since extended its micro-financing project for business to the women of MCF.

Read more about the business training with WISE and the plans our women have for their own businesses.

Community Development and Counseling

While many of our families, as a result of their HIV/AIDS status, gathered in hope in simple houses around the holy places of Entoto, there were few interactions between the women, despite their common problems and challenges.  Through a year of interaction with MCF, the women have come to realize the common obstacles they face, and are beginning to discuss the common strategies that they can develop to cope with these challenges.  In order to develop and encourage this, MCF have initiated a monthly coffee ceremony for families, a traditional Ethiopian way of getting together and talking informally over strong rich Ethiopian coffee.  Early indications are that these meetings are a great success, and most importantly also provide valuable social interaction in a relaxed and safe atmosphere.  It is from here that many of the ideas for cooperative business development have started.

As part of the coffee ceremony, MCF has started working with a qualified volunteer counselor, who can talk to the women one-on-one about their specific emotional and psychological needs, and can continue this care in their homes.