Soccer ball drive benefits orphans in Ethiopia

By Catherine Hosman

Rick and Jessica Hogge of Liberty Hill have partnered with children from Liberty Hill to collect soccer balls for students at the West Sands Primary School in Adama, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Already the parents of two, the Hogges are on a waiting list to adopt an Ethopian child through the West Sands Adoption Agency in Utah. But while they wait, they are trying to make a difference for the 220 children who are orphaned and attend the school.

Mrs. Hogge said she was researching Ethiopia to see what they could do when an idea struck her.

“Soccer. . . everyone knows soccer,” she said, adding that soccer is a sport known all over the world. “The children have many needs, and we are attempting to make a small difference by providing each their own soccer ball.

“This (West Sands Primary School) is a school for orphans who will never be adopted because whoever is in their care will not relinquish the child,” she explained. “They are considered orphaned if one parent is deceased and another is not able to take care of them.”

Operated by private donations, West Sands Primary School, which is free for the children, struggles to provide the students with basic necessities, let alone a luxury like a soccer ball. Once the balls are collected, the West Sands Adoption Agency will help with the delivery to Ethiopia.

“As new adoptive parents go to the country, additional carry-on luggage will include the (deflated) soccer balls, along with pumps and needles to inflate the balls,” said Rick Hogge. “The West Sands staff in the country will handle the delivery to the school in Adama.”

Those wishing to help should drop off new soccer balls through Feb. 28 at Liberty Hill Elementary School or Happy Trails Learning Center, 14865 State Highway 29 in Liberty Hill. For more information, or to make a monetary donation, contact the Hogges at (512) 577-8004 or send email to jess.hogge@gmail.com.