Creating Smiles in Ethiopia

The With Aloha Foundation is helping to raise money for laptop computers and soccer uniforms for villagers in Ethiopia. The soccer uniforms will be used for an inter-village soccer match that will be held in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, while the laptops will help to better communicate and accomplish more duties in the field that will benefit the Ethiopian villagers. For every dollar donated to these projects, With Aloha Foundation has matched.

“This is a great opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life,” says Ethiopia ambassador Shara Enay. “We are so excited to be using sports as a vehicle to build relationships between two villages that will hopefully assist one another year-round.”

Aaron “AC” Custodio, another ambassador to Ethiopia, personally witnessed how important sports—especially soccer—is in Africa.

“Soccer is huge!” says AC. “It’s a very popular sport. It’s a pastime and activity that all age groups—rich and poor—can play. When I visited Africa on my compassion trip, I saw homeless kids play soccer on the gravel roads with a ball of string ... no real soccer ball! They had no home but they have soccer!”

Soccer uniforms may not seem like a big deal to most Americans, but it will mean a lot to the villagers in Ethiopia.

“The new uniforms will give these kids pride,” says AC. “Last year, when the kids from Hurso were presented with new soccer uniforms, they were overjoyed. The kids felt like the professionals that those jerseys represented.”

This year’s fundraiser has added a new dimension to the humanitarian experience.

“I’m learning to really appreciate voluntarism, it’s a lot more involved then most people know,” says Ethiopia ambassador Margie Memminger. “I hope the recipients will feel our Aloha spirit and pass it on.”

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