Six weeks after the reopening of the kindergartens and schools in mid-September, contact with our project manager Hagos Gebremariam in Adigrat suddenly broke off, as political unrest had reached the state of Tigray and thus also Adigrat.
Until today, all power lines have been cut, the internet has been switched off, and the telephone lines have been shut down. We do not have any current information from Adigrat directly, but would like to briefly inform you about what has been happening in Ethiopia:
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country, dominated for 30 years by representatives of the TPLF (Tigray People`s Liberation Front) party from Tigray province. The town of Adigrat with our projects is located in the north of the Tigray region, which borders Eritrea.
With the election of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister in 2018, a representative of the Oromo people was elected for the first time in 30 years, which is still not accepted in Tigray.
In recent months, the power struggle between the government in Addis Ababa and the regional representatives in Tigray has become increasingly bitter. This culminated in the mobilization and invasion of the north by government troops in early November, after the government in Addis Ababa refused to accept the separatist aspirations and go-it-alone actions of the northern region any longer,
In early December, Abiy Ahmed announced that the Tigray region with its capital Mekele was under the control of government troops, whereas the leader of the TPLF spoke of continued fighting. Regrettably, this clearly shows how unstable the entire region in the Horn of Africa is. Military clashes are now also taking place in other parts of Ethiopia, and the neighboring countries of Sudan and Eritrea are also involved.
These recent developments fill the association with great concern, especially since we have had no contact with Adigrat for four weeks. The responsible persons of the association Adigrat Vision e.V. hope that peace and quiet will return to the region as soon as possible. As soon as the situation allows it, we will resume our work in Adigrat and are convinced that help of any kind will be needed more than ever in Tigray.
Since Monday, 26.10.2020 the kindergarten in Adigrat is open again. In the first week only the older children are cared for, from next week the smallest newcomers will also join.
The kindergarten will be run in shifts, so only half of the children and the caregiver will be in the kindergarten at any one time.
Everyone wears mouth - nose coverings, there are several hand washing stations and the children only take meals in small groups.
The school library has been open again for a few weeks now also as a reference library and is used until 11:00 pm!
And we, the volunteers of Adigrat Vision meet this year for our regular sessions on the screen - as so many!
Distribution of food to 114 families in Adigrat continues
The number of infections with Covid 19 is also increasing in Ethiopia, as of 9/25 the number of confirmed infections is 71,687, of course the number of unreported cases may be even higher. The number of people who have died from or with Covid 19 is 1,148.
For these reasons, the AV Kindergarten did not reopen after the Ethiopian New Year in mid-September as originally planned. Therefore, in September, as the months before, the staff of the kindergarten again distributed food to the families of the kindergarten children. 10 kg and 10 kg of noodles/rice and one liter of oil were distributed per family. The gratitude of the families is very great!
The school library has been at least partially open again for a good week, and books can also still be borrowed to take home.
Since the kindergarten is closed, the children are missing the two meals and the snack that they otherwise receive regularly during the day. Some of the markets are closed or at least the sales areas are reduced, so the mothers of our children cannot sell any, or significantly less, goods.
For this reason, the Munich board together with Hagos in Adigrat made the decision to distribute 10 kg of rice and 1 kg of carrots to each of the families of the kindergarten children.
All employees of the kindergarten helped to provide the 114 families. The gratitude of the mothers and grandmothers for this support is very great.
The kindergarten teachers together with the nurse will visit the families every week to get a picture of the health and nutritional condition.
The region of Tigray where Adigrat is located declared the state of emergency in the last week of March. Because of that all kindergartens, schools and universities were closed.
Adigrat Visions country director Hagos Gebremariam decided to close the kindergarten and the library to be on the safe side already one week prior.
Most girls stay away from school during their monthly menstruation and thus miss classes for several days every month. This comes from the female period being an extremely taboo subject even within families, virtually no sanitary pads or hygiene articles being available and difficulty finding clean toilets to change them in.
To this end, Adigrat Vision e.V. was able to provide 200 girls in the 6th to 8th grades of the Mitswae Werki School—adjacent to our kindergarten—with recyclable sanitary pads free of charge. This makes it much easier for the girls to attend school at that time of the month.
The pads, sewn together out of fabric material and including a slip, are produced in Mekele/Tigray in the Mariam Seba Products Sanitary Factory. The founder Freweini Mebrathu is herself originally from Adigrat and was honored with the CNN, Hero of the year 2019 award.
At the end of November 2019, the newly built school library was largely opened—and the remaining work has now almost been done. Had it not been for large, generous donations, Adigrat Vision e.V. would never have been able to achieve such a large and expensive project. Once again, many thanks to all donors, large and small, with a special mention to “Sternstunden” and the 2019 auction by “Zwecklöffeln”.
The opening of the newly created learning center was celebrated with a lively event. A total of 14 association members from Munich and Hamburg were able to join and experience the pupil’s enthusiasm firsthand. They witnessed the great satisfaction exhibited by both teachers and the city’s administration—all excited by this new opportunity to do homework and learn outside school. The association was thrilled to see the library being made use of immediately by a large number of pupils. And—can report that in some cases—the opening hours even had to be extended to accommodate high demand.