Monday, August 4, 2008

Intercept Red Tape Inspiring Model - Monica of Malta in Ethiopia

At 71 years of age, Monica Tonna Barthet asked herself "How will I feel, if I don't do something more?". And more she did. Monica has lived a full life. For many years worked for the UN, NY, London, Paris, travelled the world.

In this time, she was inspired by Mother Theresa and the Sisters of Charity. Monica worked with the poor staying with the Sisters of Charity for three month 'retreats' in India and Africa. Along her life journey she has met some incredible people who have inspired her. The Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa herself.

After a busy and full life Monica looked into the mirror and still wanted to do more. She then took a leap of faith and sold all her worldly possessions including her home in Malta and based herself in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

Her aim is to take in Street Boys. She looks after their material needs and then gives them love, a sense of family and re-stores their faith in people and their faith in God. She has created a nurturing environment where these children can live together as a family. When the young boys are built up, she reaquaints them with their God given gifts.

While I was there earlier this year, I saw one young man who had a leg missing - sitting outside, crafting bamboo furniture. Fine joinery details using tools supplied by Monica. "I have worked out an arrangement with the German Consulate" she told me. "They purchase this furniture from us". So, an enterprise has started.

Apart from all of the obvious benefits of love, support and care, better health, and a safe environment. The element of this story that gives me hope for it's sustainable nature is the self sufficiency element.

The entrepreneurial spirit and opportunity that sits underneath this work. Our aim at Intercept Poverty now is to do a number of things with and for Monica's home:

*Supply Volunteers who wish to stay in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in a safe and clean environment.
*To give support to Monica. Coaches, Therapists, Psychologists, HR Change Specialists from the corporate or private sector who can visit Monica and the boys. The aim would be to provide emotional support and assist us in setting up ongoing support and case management.

*Setting up Life Skill integration programs that will be translated into Amharic (local CBD Ethiopian dialect.)

*Have people be aware of this program and potentially sponsor individual children for their needs or simply tell others about it.

*Set up business programs where we teach business and entrepreneruial skills to the young men at the home.

*Set up HIV/Aids education and awareness in this centre.

Each element mentioned above can be replicated and streamlined so that it is self perpetuating. It is simply people resource and business saavy that's needed to make this happen.

If you are open to exploring how you or your organisation may add value working with us on Monica' project, please contact me at for more information.

Thank-you on behalf of Monica

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