It has been seven years since we were handed a list from the Soddo social department with the first children. These were the children whose parent or guardian did not possess the economic means to send the kid to school.

To go down the path of education some of them received their first pair of shoes, pants, or skirt. Everyone of them was wearing a worn out t-shirt 3-4 sizes too big for them that didn’t suit their parents anymore due to numerous holes and rips in them. Tuition fee was 55 Euros a year back then.

Back then disabled people were considered a curse laid upon the family for their sins and were cast to live in rooms without windows. There were bold exceptions like our pupil Tamiru who kept on the path of education on prosthetics brought from Estonia.

Today, eight years later the voice crying out is not in the wilderness anymore. 

About a year and a half ago the first association for people with disadvantages was formed – “Amanuel Workshop”. 40 people from Soddo are its members and their abode is a deserted hangar. Lodging is set up in what was previously the toilet where toilet bowls installed by white people in the previous century revel between mattresses. Everything is well-groomed. The joy of the habitants for such a living place is so great that when visiting them we didn’t see a single glum face.

A need for cooperation grew out of this visit which was produced by the lack of proper school lunch and the disabled women’s need for a steady job.

As a result of the cooperation between NGO Damota and Federation of Ethiopian National Associations of Persons with Disabilities we are starting to cater the less fortunate children in Soddo. Six volunteers from Estonia are travelling to Ethiopia who are staying there for two months to share their experience and apply their skills.

The activities there are to cook the food, diversify the menu, introducing hygiene, financial training, economic management, acquiring necessary inventory and preparing the eating place. At the same time we strive to change the image of disabled people in the eyes of the local society.

This project is supported by Republic of Estonia Ministry of Foreign Affairs

People going to Ethiopia in October 2018

Hillevi Miltop

Merle Voola

Jürgen Sarmet

Kristjan Juusu

Anneli Tombak

Irja Tiri

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