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Monday, September 8, 2014

A word from Youth Release Volunteers...
"I really enjoyed my experience volunteering with YR in Dire Dawa this August. Even though it was tough at times with some eye opening experiences, and cultural differences that were hard to understand, I found it very rewarding. I especially enjoyed the time I spent with the kids and even though it was short, I feel we made an impact on their lives. It is an experience I will never forget. Personally I have learned a lot from this trip and since I've been home I have been seeing and experiencing things a lot differently; I am more appreciative and grateful for all I have. The opportunity that Youth Release gave me this year was amazing and I'm very thankful for all the help and support I have received from Niamh and Laura and of course all my family and friends. I hope to help Youth Release in any way I can in the future to help them continue the amazing work that is being done in Genda Tesfa" -Aisling Kennedy
I spent three weeks volunteering and despite all the research and meeting with YR, I could not have been prepared for what was to greet me during my time in Dire Dawa. One of the main issues that left me reeling was the lack of basic necessities and everyday resources that we take for granted. I worked at the youth centre in ' Gende Tesfa ' which means hope, and this is exactly what the people here have. Despite the lack of basic resources and facilities there is huge sense of community and everyone is willing to get involved. The community are working together in a very positive way to promote education and the overall development of the area. During my stay I found the home visits most difficult and very emotional. Large families are living in poor conditions but despite this making the very best of life with the little they can afford.On return to my own workplace here in Ireland I hope to make my learning experience in Dire Dawa relevant and create awareness of the developing world with Irish children. I will continue to support the work of YR and Genda Tesfa. It was a very worthwhile and humbling experience for me knowing I was able to offer my knowledge and experience in early childhood education to the staff at the centre and to the children through art, music , dance, English language, sport and play.The children were very grateful for us  just being there - working along side them and teaching them new skills and games. This was my reward from volunteering, the staff, children, community and myself have earned many memories from the experience.- Mairead O Donovan
We would like to give a huge thanks to Mairead and Aisling for all their work while in Ethiopia. Betam, amesegenalehu. We hope you come back. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for our volunteer information, please email with subject volunteer. As always, thank you to everyone for making our work possible. Thank you to so much to Aoife O Sullivan and Marian Mulryanfor their donation of educational supplies. The kids loved them and the staff are so grateful for much needed resources.
      Did you know?
Youth Release is entirely voluntary organisation and depends on donations and funds raised by friends and family and hard work put in by Youth Release committee members to keep the youth centre running. This means we don’t spend any money on administration costs, all committee members pay their own way to get to and be in Ethiopia. All volunteers that come to work at the youth centre also pay their own way. This ensures that all funds we raise go to the youth centre and directly to the beneficiaries of the project.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July News

6km walk/run fundraiser in aid of Youth Release

One of our volunteer elects, Aisling, is organisating a fun run/ walk this Saturday in Kilbarry Eco Park in Waterford. Guaranteed fun for all the family. You can sign up online here

Youth Release is now on Instagram

Youth Release is now on instagram. Follow us @youthrelease to keep up to date with all the latest photos with plenty more promised from our volunteers travelling to Dire Dawa next month!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thank you from the kids and us to our latest volunteers!

We would like to say a huge thank you to Clare and Niamh Walsh who have spent the last month volunteering at the youth centre. From teaching the kids about Ireland, to making Irish porter cake for the kids, (how they found the ingredients is beyond me) painting one of the rooms for the younger kids, home visits and meeting the kids on vocational training,  these ladies worked hard and had a blast!
The staff was overwhelmed with how easily the girls became part of the community and how they were with the children. We are all very sad to see them leave but hope they will come back again. Clare and Niamh, from all of us at Youth Release: amesege'nallo!
We still have two places left on our volunteer program this August 1st-17th. If you would like to volunteer please email for more information.

Not really sure what volunteering is all about, click on the picture on the right to watch our volunteer video.
Meet Bisrat, he is one of the children on the vocational training program. Before he was selected as one of the beneficiaries, he worked on odd jobs around the city and lived on the street. In November 2013 he began training in carpentry; he works with three other boys. Now 6 months later he has saved enough money to rent a house with his friends and no longer sleeps on the street. You can help children like Bisrat by supporting our vocational training program:
This year we have four runners running the Flora Mini Marathon to raise funds for Youth Release. The team’s goal is to raise 1,000 for the youth centre. Every cent raised goes directly to the youth centre as Youth Release is all voluntary run.

Please help them reach their goal and give what you can. You can click on the link below and donate to the team. Once you click donate now (below) you will be brought to the team's page Click sponsor on the left hand side and you will be brought to a new page- click donate as guest and fill in your information.
Donate Now
Thank you everyone for your continued support and especially those who supported Niamh and Clare's fund-raising efforts.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all of our supporters. Thank you for another great year, thanks to you, the lives of over 250 children have been changed. Thank you so much for making this possible. There is still time to give a child living in Ethiopia, a life changing gift. Please support our Christmas Appeal by donating any of the below items:

Medical care and Treatment: €10
School uniform and school supplies for one child: €20
Vocational training for one month for one child: €30
Books for library: €50

Make your gift online now :

Happy Christmas

Who's on your Christmas list?

Who's on your Christmas list?
The hustle and bustle of Christmas has begun, with us all making our lists. This year add some one to your list who has very little and make a difference in the life of a child living in Dire Dawa Ethiopia. For as little as €10 you can give a child a life changing gift. Please support our Christmas Appeal by donating any of the below items:

Medical care and Treatment: €10
School uniform and school supplies for one child: €20
Vocational training for one month for one child: €30
Books for library: €50

Make your gift online now :
Without the support of people like you, the children we work with might never have the opportunity to go to school, to get life skills training or simply go to the doctor. Thanks to your generosity and kindness, I know these children will have a great Christmas.
Missing....YOU....Become a Sponsor Today!
Thank you to every one who has supported our sponsor a child program this year. Thanks to you, over 40 children have been able to learn a skill and are better able to support themselves and their families. Over half of these children previously lived on the street, thanks to their sponsors they now have a roof over their heads and food on the table, they will never have to sleep on the side of the street. Unfortunately, without sponsorship many children and youth remain living in these conditions unable to break the cycle of poverty....You can help change that.
Children like Betelhem are looking for sponsors so that they can learn a skill such as hair dressing, mechanic, carpenter, or metal work. Betelhem, was forced to leave her home as her stepfather was an abusive alcoholic. She lived with her uncle in another city for five years, when her mother remarried but a similar situation arose. Again, she left her home and slept at the local police station for a number of days. She is currently one of the children receiving support through the YR Vocational Training program.She is training to become a mechanic and is also attending night school so she can get her high school diploma. Thanks to the help of the social workers at the youth center, she was able to talk to her mother and return home.Her mother expresses her feeling that the project benefited her daughter in many ways like full educational support, free medical care, psychological counseling and nutrition support. As she said 'if the project is not in position to provide such services to my daughter, she can’t survive from misery of life (life in street) and go to school like other children'.

Betelhem is one of many children on the YR Vocational Training program. You can support one of these children by donating €30 monthly for 12 months or one payment of €360. You can support a child here:
Thank you for your support!
Christmas Day Swim
For those more adventurous supporters, we will be having our Annual Christmas Day Swim. We will be following with more details but if you are interested please email or download the form here:  Where ever you are, you can do the swim and get as many supporters as you can! Thank you all!

Looking for a different kind of Christmas present?
We've got you covered. Why not make a donation in honor of a loved one. You can make donation of any amount or pick from the options above. You can download our Christmas Card here: and let your loved one know a donation has been made in their honor. Thank you to all who have supported our Christmas Appeal, we are excited for what the year ahead brings.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween
October has been an extremely busy month for all of us at Youth Release. On October 10th we went the Dublin City University expo. We had great fun and met some awesome people including Mr Enda Kenny who stopped by for a chat. Unfortunately his people dragged him away before we had a chance to snap a photo op, but hey there is always next time. Thank you so much to everyone who came along and thanks to Fr Joe Jones who made it all happen and for inviting us to take part. 

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Diceys on October 16th for the annual Youth Release table quiz. We had a great night and raised essential funds for the programs running  at the youth center. Thanks for all your support and for coming out!

Meet Elias
Elias is 15 and is one of the adolescents who is starting his Vocational Training this month. Elias is an orphan, he lost both of his parents due to HIV/AIDS and has spent the last number of years working and living on the street. Thanks to the Vocational Training program he is now training to be a mechanic and receives shelter and food. After his training is completed Elias will never have to live or work on the street and can use his skill to better his future. Elias is just one of many, thanks to the Youth Release Ironman Team who are sponsoring 33 children through this program and also to all of our sponsors who are supporting these adolescents! If you would like to learn more visit:
Thanks so much to Stephanie Gilmore who ran in the the Blackmores Sydney Marathon raising essential funds for Youth Release! Stef raised an amazing e860.00! Thank you to everyone who supported Stef! Thank you so much!
We had a blast at the DCU Volunteering expo on October 10th. Thanks to everyone who stopped for a chat. For more info on all our volunteer opportunities please email Thanks to all who came!

Happy Birthday to us

Wow, it's hard to believe the youth center is open 2 years this month! Where has the time gone? We have had another amazing successful year, even if we do say so ourselves :) There are over 300 children that are involved in the programs at the youth center, all of the children are from the local community Gende Tesfa and are receiving education and health support, counseling, skills training, and recreational support.
Meet our team:
If it wasn't for the local staff and volunteers, the youth center would not function. There is a project coordinator, 2 social works, a librarian, a guard, four part time teachers, health educator and support staff. Abbi is the project coordinator and makes sure that everything at the center is running smoothly, he ensures that all the children have what they need and that they are attending the programs. Yohannes and Meisra are the two social workers, they provide counseling services to 176 children along with home visits and follow ups.  Misra is the librarian, she makes sure that all the kids have the books they need and that they each have equal study time! The four tutorial teachers are providing classes for 243, children in the community are invited to attend these classes even if they are not part of the programs. The social workers meet with the school to access how the children are progressing. If it wasn't for this amazing staff none of the work would be possible. They are absolutely fantastic!

Vocational Training:
Meet Sammy, Sammy is a local business owner just outside Gende Tesfa. Sammy owns a carpentry shop and has been training young men for a number of years. Sammy is one of the business owners in Dire Dawa who is part of the vocational training program. He currently has 5 boys that he is training from the Youth Release program. Not only is he providing training for these boys, but he also has given 3 of them a place to stay and a small wage so they can get by. When we spoke to Sammy he told us, he was so excited to help and can't wait to continue supporting and being part of this program. The three boys that Sammy has taken in all previously lived on the street, begging, and trying to earn an income anyway possible. Now they are being trained in a skill they can use, they have shelter, food and in a few months they will be able to get their own place and start work full time!
Programs at the Youth centre:
The success of the programs would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our 15 local staff. Despite water shortages in the area, the staff still ensure that shower services are available for the children each week. The children are also involved in a number of recreational and club activities. A drama club was started to help teach children about their rights and well being. The children write and direct the drama themselves which develops team work and encourages the children to share their experiences. Of course there are many more programs at the youth centre, we just wanted to highlight a few.
None of this would be possible without our fantastic volunteers, both local and international. If you are interested in volunteering with Youth Release please send an email to and we will send you an information pack. We would also like to thank everyone who has supporting our vocational training program- there are over 23 children going through the program and are all set to graduate over the coming months. Thank you to everyone who has supported the activities at the youth centre and for helping us make the programs possible. If you would like to help us continue this work please visit We are always looking for people to help with our fundraising efforts so if you have an idea just let us know!  Thank you once again for all your support- here's to another great year!