A few days ago, the kindergarten was reopened after the last displaced women and their children left the premises and returned to their homes.
At the moment there are 88 children in the kindergarten, after the medical check it turned out that 56 of them are malnourished. The association can give the children back a bit of normality by playing and learning together, but cannot really contribute enough to a healthy and sufficient nutrition. The banks are still closed, and the few foodstuffs available on the market are extremely expensive. Our possibilities to send money to the region are extremely limited. But the staff in Tigray and in Munich are doing their best to make the situation bearable. Bread patties are baked from wheat flour, and sometimes there is rice and carrots. In a private pharmacy in Mekelle, multivitamin tablets could be bought as nutritional supplements for the children.
The school library will also be reopened in the next few days. Since the furniture, most of which came from Munich high schools, was hidden in private homes during the military invasion by Ethiopian government troops and the Eritrean army for fear of looting, the library must first be refurbished, cleaned and repaired to a small extent.
Dear donors and interested parties of Adigrat Vision e.V.,
The situation in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, where Adigrat is also located, is still very difficult. Fighting between the TDF (Tigray Defence Front), the Ethiopian government army and Eritrean soldiers continues to flare up. The neighbouring Amhars still occupy large parts of western Tigray and the Tigray people living there are being systematically displaced. Barely a week ago, the capital Mekelle was captured by the TDF. As a result of the recapture of Mekelle, the Ethiopian government has declared a ceasefire. At the same time, however, the infrastructure is apparently being restricted or completely cut. This means that the suffering of the population continues unabated. The supply situation is catastrophic throughout Tigray. Time and again we read that the central government is using hunger as a weapon in the fight against the region. Fields have been wantonly destroyed and livestock killed in some cases. The biggest challenge at the moment is to provide shelter for the many internally displaced people and to improve the supply situation.
As reported in the last newsletter, we have therefore opened our kindergarten for people who have fled massacres or have been displaced from their homes. Almost 100 women and children now live in our kindergarten and are fed and cared for by our staff. Very important in this context is the opportunity to literally get the horrors they have experienced off their chest. We have countless reports from the women who have stayed with us, which clearly show all the suffering of the civilian population. We also provide essential medicines and, crucially, safety from assault. In addition, thanks to the good contacts of our local representative, we also provide food aid for the families of our kindergarten children and another 60-70 families. In addition to the refugees in our kindergarten, almost 200 families receive 20 kg of basic food each month, mainly rice and macaroni. We very much hope that the situation will allow us to continue this help in the future.
Thanks to your generous donations, we currently have sufficient funds to provide this support. As it looks, it will not be possible to fulfil our original association purpose 1:1 in the foreseeable future. We therefore hope that you are still in agreement with our approach. From our point of view, it is currently the only possibility to do something meaningful for the local people.
In any case, we will keep you informed. Yours sincerely, the team of Adigrat Vision e.V.
Andrea Barth, Dr. Ulrike Berg, Rika Nölke, Sabine Schötz, Karin Staisch, Annette Weltz
At the moment, new news about the situation in Tigray reach us daily through the international press. There is still fierce fighting, there have also been air attacks, hunger is great, medical aid for the people there is practically non-existent. Allegedly, the town of Adigrat is now under the control of Eritrean troops, the Ethiopian government army must have had to retreat battered.
Nevertheless, the local Adigrat Vision team manages to provide food (rice and noodles, 10 kg per family) to 160 families from the area around the kindergarten.
The kindergarten - now IDP Center - is now home to 90 people, exclusively mothers with their children. The first baby, a little girl was born there two weeks ago. The women were provided with wool so that they can spend their free time doing handicrafts.
What a good idea!
Before the war, Fortuna had a well-run café in Wukro, a town located about 70 km south of Adigrat. Fortuna is 33 years old, has two children aged 8 and 3. She lives alone with her children without her husband.
In the first days of the war in November 2020, Fortuna was raped by two Eritrean troops in front of her children. The soldiers threatened her that if she did not keep still, they would murder her two children. After being raped several times over many hours, she was unconscious for a long time.
The soldiers looted all of her and her brother's belongings in the house they shared and loaded everything onto trucks.
Fortuna quickly decided to flee to Adigrat with her children. She arrived at a school in Adigrat, where she and her children were taken in. However, there it was cold, dirty and often there was no water. Through food donations from the neighborhood, the displaced people were fed at the school.
Now Fortuna is happy to be at Adigrat Vision's IDP Center. However, she is severely traumatized by what she has experienced and is in urgent need of psychological support. No pregnancy has resulted from the rapes.
War continues in Tigray, with massacres of civilians and brutal rapes. People throughout the region live in fear and hunger, Adigrat is just as affected as the rest of Tigray. Schools and other educational institutions are still closed, only in the regional capital Mekelle they seem to be open again. Information from the region is unfortunately still extremely sparse, as it is very difficult for journalists to get into the country.
For some time now, the association in Munich has had telephone contact with the staff in Adigrat again. At the beginning of May, we even received the first photos via the internet. The kindergarten and the school library have not been damaged or looted. Only the water tanks were dismantled.
We are very happy that the kindergarten buildings have been used as a reception centre for refugee and displaced women with their children for about a week. At the moment, 20 women with a total of 33 children are living in the kindergarten, two mothers are suffering from malaria, one has obstetric fistula, five are minors and at least six of the women have been raped. The kindergarten can accommodate up to 100 people who are displaced from the west of Tigray or fleeing from the nearby mountains where there is always fighting.
The kindergarten staff is very committed to creating a temporary home for these people; mattresses are purchased, cooking is done together and many talks are held with the traumatised women. In addition, the women and children also receive medical care.
For the first time, basic foodstuffs such as noodles, rice and flour were distributed to 119 families of the kindergarten children.
Thus, Adigrat Vision can finally offer concrete help again by creating a safe roof over the head for the particularly needy and by distributing food.