"Duck Dynasty" star Korie Robertson plans to travel to Gunchire, Ethiopia in the upcoming weeks with hopes of helping to break the country's cycle of poverty and preventing children from being orphaned. She plans to travel with Help One Now, a faith-based organization which equips local leaders to promote community development and partners with others to care for orphans, to create jobs, to offer education and healthcare, and to encourage spiritual growth.
There are over 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia, largely because HIV/AIDS is pandemic in the country. Ethiopian women and children are often exploited sexually and are forced into labor. "The education system is poor, and unhealthy marriage practices - including older men with girls as young as 10, polygamy, rape, female circumcision, etc. - are commonplace," says the Help One Now website.
The organization hopes to serve the people in Ethiopia in a holistic manner, caring for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the community in order to help keep families together. "We're not fools. We know that we can't see these communities transformed overnight, or even in a few years. We are committed to working in these communities long-term, which means we are working with true friends, not strangers," their website reads.
Korie Robertson, who has participated in mission trips in the past, plans to join the Help One Now team in Ethiopia this month. "I don't know why I was born to loving parents who made sure all of my needs were met, in a country full of freedom and opportunity and these kids weren't," she wrote in a blog post upon returning from a trip to the Dominican Republic recently - "There is tragedy and heartache, and these are children who, just like us, need to know they are loved and to know that God, their Father, has a beautiful place prepared for them. Who also, just like us, need healthy food, clean water, a good job and a happy family someday." Her sentiments remain with much hope for the work that will be done in Africa as well.
Robertson's faith in Christ compels her to care for the needy and the orphaned. "He tells us to go the extra mile, to stop and help the hurting on the side of the road, to give food to the stranger that knocks on our door, to take care of widows and orphans, and to be the salt and light in this world. I can't fix all of the problems in our world, but I can fix some. I can partner with people that are doing good work, who are on the ground seeing the massive needs first hand," she says.
Participants on the trip to Ethiopia hope to make an impact back at home through storytelling. "Stories inspire people to have compassion and take action. A story helps us feel the reality of those suffering," Help One Now's website says. The organization offers child sponsorships which allow people in the community to focus on development rather than having to struggle to feed their families. The goal of Robertson's trip is to attain 300 child sponsorships for the community she visits in Ethiopia.
"When I watch the news today and see all the tragedy and heartache in this world, I admit, sometimes it's hard to see how I can make a difference," Robertson writes - "But the stories we will tell while we are on this trip are ones of hope, and I, for one, love that. I hope you do, too. We can so make a difference in these peoples' lives, and we will. And we can't wait to share it with you," she says.