Ethiopiaid Trip Diary 2016 - Meeting our Partners
Posted by Francesca Rutherford on Wednesday 16th March 2016
Monday 14 March
- Figrite Girman (aged 18) has been at AWSAD for 3 years having heard about it through her school
- Bezo H Mariusam (aged 17) has been at AWSAD 3 years having been told about it by a police officer and
- Haimanot Kasshun (aged 18) has been at AWSAD for 6 years having been taken there by a female community officer
Best thing about AWSAD ?
FG: Working together
BM: Good friendships with outside survivors
HK: Spending time with each other
How has the project changed your life?
HK: Counselling has inspired me to start training to go into the profession, so that I can help others
Hopes for the future?
FG: Graduate from school and get good results
BM: Finish school and then help support my parents (they live just outside Addis)
HK: Finish school, study psychology and help other survivors
Any message for Ethiopiaid supporters?
FG: Please continue to support more girls like us
Tuesday 15th March
The next visit was to Cheshire orthopaedic Rehabilitation services at their site in Addis Ababa - REED House
Anna met Alaza, aged one and a half as he was having his weekly physiotherapy.
“Alaza was born with spinobifida and his movement was very limited and painful. Since he was 3 months old, he has been coming with his mother to REED House to undertake physiotherapy and medical assessment.
His physiotherapist is called Hiwot (which means 'life renewed'). Whilst we were there, we watched as Hiwot carried out sensation tests (putting gentle pressure on his legs and soles of his feet with her fingers), strength tests (holding out a toy infront of him and encouraging him to reach out with alternate hands to grab it - see attached video), resistance tests (getting him on all fours and encouraging him to push back on her hands with his lower back and legs).
They are confident that, with continued therapy, and the aid of walking devices such as crutches (if necessary) Alaza will be able to lead a relatively normal and healthy way of life.”
Wednesday 17th March
"I met Aslefch Belyenhe (R) aged 90. She has been with DEWADA for over 15 years. Both her husband and son have died and she has felt very sad living her life without them.
Before DEWADA, Aslefch was working as a domestic servant but had to give that up due to her back (she has a stoop).
We visited Aslefch at her house which is made entirely of corrugated iron. She has lived there for over 30 years. It is dark and smoky inside, but she has arranged her things nicely and was roasting some coffee beans when we arrived.
Aslefch has been able to make repairs to her roof and buy some oil for her skin – which she says is very dry. This is all thanks to DEWADA and Ethiopiaid’s pension support. Her regular visits from project manager Messih have also made her feel less alone; they clearly have a good relationship, and were laughing and joking with one another. It was not long until Aslefch became tired however (she is 90, after all) so I thanked her for sharing her story and left her to have a sit down and coffee with her friend Taych (L), who had popped over from her house opposite."
Thursday 18th March
Lisa and Anna visited Hope College and met with Aselesech, 23, who graduated from the college in 2007 and has now returned to work on campus.
Aselesech is currently working as an administrator at the college: having enjoyed her time there so much she was excited to have the opportunity to come back as a member of staff, particularly as she knew and liked the environment and staff.
The best bit about Aselesech’s time at Hope College was the support she received when she wanted to change course: she started off doing accountancy, and following advice and assessment as to what she was best suited to, she says the staff made it easy for her to enroll on her IT course instead. Aselesech said she was pleased to be given such a choice, and support, regarding the studies that fit best with her skills and aspirations.
Aselesech suggested that more support for the teachers would improve the college – her role is to do just that, but she recognises that several more administrators would further lessen the workload of the teaching staff, and enable them to focus more on the students.
"Thank you to Ethiopiaid supporters for helping Hope College become such a great place for staff and students – we are all learning so much, and are excited for the future."
Monday 21st March
Finally, Lisa and Anna travelled to Mekele, in the north of Ethiopia to visit our partners Dignity Period and Mekele Blind School.
Dignity Period - provides young women with reuseable sanitary products to remove stigma and encourage girls to stay in school.
Anna and Lisa had a quick chat between classes with:
- Harifa Berehe (aged 16)
- Betel Girma (aged 15)
- Tekea Haile (aged 16)
- Mulu Gebrekidan (aged 17)
- Hayat Seid (aged 18)
How do you feel about getting packs?
HB: We are very happy, those who do not have the money to buy sanitary products are now free to bleed at school and no longer shy.
Are you now less embarrassed about talking about menstruation?
HB: Menstruation is no longer a taboo, we educate young, rural girls that it is not a thing of shame to menstruate.
Do you feel that you can now talk to your parents about menstruation?
HB: My parents did not attend school, but now it is considered normal and we are trying to encourage them to talk more. I am more comfortable doing this now.
Do you have any questions for Ethiopiaid?
HB: We are very grateful for the lessons on menstruation, and to have been given the packs. What about the school toilets? There is currently no water in them. *NB: Engineers without borders are planning to come and do some essential plumbing maintenance in the summer*
MG: We’ve had lessons about (sanitary) pack storage and how easy they are to store them in a bag however, lots of people from the countryside do not have school bags... what do they do? *NB: We are looking into donating school bags.