During their travels to Ethiopia to bring their children home, Brian and Keri deGuzman saw, felt and heard direct accounts of children suffering from starvation, disease and death. Their children were four of an estimated six million abandoned and orphaned children struggling to survive in Ethiopia (UNICEF, 2006). Through the the process of adoption, their children were provided shelter, protection, love and medical care and were able to survive to become beacons of hope for others.
In 2007, when their oldest daughter was placed in their arms at the tender age of 7 months, their lives changed forever. Before stepping onto the airplane with the greatest gift a country can ever give to anyone, the deGuzmans vowed they would never forget the images of poverty, and they would find a way to give back that would impact the future of Ethiopia’s children. Since that moment they have taken an active role in working to change the lives of orphans and impoverished communities throughout Ethiopia. After four years of personal support, the deGuzmans created the 4Mati Foundation to invite others to join hands with them to change the effects of poverty — one child, one community, one country at a time.
The 4Mati Foundation supports and develops programs targeting education, health care, and orphan support, with an emphasis on projects that incorporate the ideas and priorities of local communities and ultimately become self-sustainable. We believe that the future of a community and a country begins with its children. By providing access to proper education, health care, shelter and support, a community is one step closer toward changing the cycle of poverty. We strive to develop and construct projects that build relationships within a community by identifying specific needs, creating local jobs, utilizing local materials and labor and providing long term, self-sustaining community ownership of projects. Our goal is to change the destinies of children born into poverty so they become inspirational members of society, thus impacting their community’s and country’s future.
“Mati” is an endearing Amaharic word for “little ones” or “small children”. The number 4 represents the deGuzmans’ four beautiful Ethiopian-born children and also “for” the children the foundation strive to help not only in Ethiopia but worldwide. Please consider joining hands to offer hope for the little ones.