About a year ago, when Professor Daniel Engelhard entered the Mother Teresa Orphanage in Addis Ababa for the first time, he saw a wall drawing of Jesus hugging dead children. So moved was he by the great despair evident in the picture, along with the acceptance of cruel fate, that he decided to take action and to turn the orphanage, which houses 400 HIV-positive children, into his project.
Since then Engelhard, Head of the Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and AIDS at Hadassah University Hospital, has been to the orphanage many times, and today he works with a staff of dozens of volunteers—students and medical residents at Hadassah—who go all the way to Ethiopia to give the sick children the most devoted care.
“When we first came to the orphanage one child a week was dying,” said Engelhart in a phone call from Addis Ababa. “In the last four months, since we started working here intensively, only one girl has died. This is an enormous achievement for us.”…
“We have no money. I have dozens of medical students, doctors, and nurses who want to come to help the children, but there is no budget. This is the largest obstacle I’m facing right now.”
The project would not have been started without Dr. Amit Dotan, the first to come to the orphanage. He recently returned to Israel with his fiancee, Dr. Idit Wachsberg, after spending four months there. In three months they are getting married, and they have already adopted two children from the orphanage.
“We adopted two, but all 400 of the children are mine,” says Dotan. “The time I spent with them made me fall intensely in love with them.”
Another Jewish doctor, the JDC’s man in Addis Ababa Dr. Rick Hodes, also is on staff at Sister Theresa’s and has adopted five Ethiopian children.
If you’re looking for a place to invest some tzedaka money, both doctors and their projects are very good choices.