Media News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heidi Stukkie – 616.308.2464
ART AID FOR TESFA HELPS BUILD MINDS FROM THE
WITH EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IN ETHIOPIA
The Organization’s Annual Fundraiser Happens
November 9 at the Betty Van Andel Opera Center
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.––October 18, 2012––Art Aid
for Tesfa, an international nonprofit organization founded by local
artist Stephanie Schlatter, is hosting its sixth annual fundraiser on
November 9 to help fund early childhood education in Ethiopia.
This informal event will be held at the
Van Andel Opera Center (1320 East Fulton Street) from 6-10 p.m. that
Friday evening. More than 200 people attended the 2011 event and
organizers expect attendance will double this year based on a greater
awareness of how the organization helps children half a world away.
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s poorest and oldest
countries. The per capita income is among the lowest in the world and
the unemployment rate is almost 25 percent –– three times higher than
that of the U.S. Drought, famine, and war have torn apart this mostly
agricultural economy in recent years and, of its population of more than
91 million people, nearly two thirds are illiterate.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the
most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
It’s for this reason that the
began. In the official Ethiopian language of Amharic, Tesfa means hope
and that is exactly what the organization provides to the children it
serves. So far, they have built eight schools in and around the capital
city of Addis Ababa to give children, ages four, five, and six, the
tools needed for a strong educational start before they enter public
schools at age seven.
Art Aid for Tesfa, a division of the Tesfa
Foundation, helps build the Ethiopian children’s minds from the ground
up through the power of art. It also supports their early childhood
education through this fundraiser and art sales.
Prior to attending the Tesfa schools, many of
the children have never held a crayon or a paintbrush so art is a
completely new experience for them. Creating colorful art encourages
self-expression, builds self-esteem, and helps develop better hand-eye
Schlatter, artist and founder of Art Aid for
Tesfa, believes art is one of the most important skills a child can
learn and this, combined with an education, can help reverse poverty and
help them survive their sometimes difficult lives.
The November 9 event will be a lively, fun
night of colorful art, funky music, and tasty food, wine, and beer.
“The event is a celebration of hope,
opportunity, and giving back to the beautiful people of Ethiopia,” says Schlatter. “It will also be interactive and just plain fun!”
The 12-member, horn and percussion focused
Afro Zuma band will entertain guests throughout the night with African
funk and Afro-beat music.
One of Grand Rapids’ favorite chefs,
Fitzgerald, is catering the event and along with his unique hors
d'oeuvres, local Ethiopian residents will also contribute authentic
Ethiopian foods for guests to sample.
Amore Trattoria Italiana will
complete the food portion of the night with an assortment of delicious
desserts from the award-winning restaurant.
Black Star Farms and beer from
Founders Brewing Co. will be served. In addition, a wine label painting
station will be set up where guests can design their own souvenir labels
for bottles of Black Star Farms wine. Labels made with art from
Ethiopian children will also be available, and proceeds from any wine
purchased during the event go directly to the Tesfa Foundation.
Along with gifts of wine to be purchased,
guests can get a head start on holiday shopping with Schlatter’s
paintings and art created by the children in Ethiopia. A live and silent
auction with a variety of items will take place during the night as
Event Co-Chairs for this year are Melissa
Timmer, who recently traveled to Ethiopia with Schlatter to experience
firsthand how the work of Art Aid for Tesfa benefits children –– an
experience she says was “very humbling” –– and Kristine Lang, who
adopted an Ethiopian daughter with her husband.
Timmer and Lang are currently seeking
organizations interested in becoming sponsors of the event or that wish
to donate items for the auctions.
Tickets for the event are $50 each, which
includes a couple of drinks and the food. A cash bar will be available
as well. Tickets can be ordered online at
www.artaidfortesfa.org or by
contacting Timmer at 616.915.4222. Timmer is also the contact for
sponsorship opportunities or auction item donations.
It takes as little as $21 a month to educate
one child in Ethiopia. The goal of the fundraiser on November 9 is to
provide an early childhood education for as many students as possible.
The event organizers realize we have challenges here in our own country,
but many Ethiopian children don’t stand a chance without the help of Art
Aid for sfa and the Tesfa Foundation. Almost 100 percent of the money
raised from the event will go toward providing an education, hope, and
life-changing opportunities –– one child at a time.
“The children in Ethiopia inspire me with
their enthusiasm for learning and they’ve taught me that you can be
happy with so little,” Schlatter says. “A proper education is a human
right, not a privilege, and it’s the least we can offer them.”
Art Aid for Tesfa is a 501(c)3 nonprofit
organization founded by Stephanie Schlatter in 2006 to help fund early
childhood education in Ethiopia and also to share the power of art with
the children. The organization is a division of the
which recently became a part of
Ethiopia Reads. An announcement about
this collaboration will be made at the November 9 fundraiser.
Contact Heidi Stukkie at 616.308.2464 or at
Heidi.Stukkie@gmail.com to schedule an interview or to obtain photos and
For more information about the
Ethiopia Reads Art Aid please contact: