Born inside a shelter for homeless women, Mehret Lumb was just three-weeks-old when she was taken in at a children’s home run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus.

By Emilie Ng (Catholic Leader) |

Ethiopian adoptee Mehret Lumb is planning a surprise gift for a group of religious sisters who stepped in to keep her alive when she was just three weeks old.

Mehret Lumb, who is in Year 8 at Lourdes Hill College, Hawthorne, is hoping to give a religious order in charge of an orphanage in Ethiopia, the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus, at least $1000 through a school-based fundraising project.

Her adoptive mum, Australian woman Joanna Lumb, will accompany Mehret to Ethiopia in December, where the pair will personally give the sisters donations from the fundraiser.

The motivation behind the project is Mehret’s own personal story of living with the sisters at the orphanage for the first nine months of her life.

Born inside a shelter for homeless women, Mehret Lumb was just three-weeks-old when she was taken in at the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home, run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus.

The sisters took the liberty of naming each child and Mehret, which means ‘mercy’, was named after the orphanage.

She was the only baby girl in her age bracket at the orphanage.

Mehret Lumb was born at the same time Australian woman Joanne Lumb was waiting to adopt a child from Ethiopia.

Ms Lumb had applied to be in the Australian government’s Ethiopia-Australia Intercountry Adoption Program, which closed in 2012.

While on holidays in Byron Bay, Ms Lumb received a phone call to say she would be the adoptive mother of a baby girl from Ethiopia.

A health scare almost stopped the pair from ever meeting.

“It was a fact that babies do die of illnesses,” Ms Lumb said.

“I went over with a very good friend of mine and we were going to travel for two weeks beforehand and pick up Mehret and be in Addis Ababa the capital for another week.

“We were leaving on a Saturday and on Friday I got a phone call to say Mehret was very ill and she needed to be picked up straight away.

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