Please tell us about the work that you do at Abay Etiopia?
I am a social worker, and the coordinator of development cooperation programmes. Additionally, I am a member of the Board of Directors of Abay Etiopia.
Abay is an NGO that has been working in Gaba Kemisa in Ethiopia since 2009. Our aim is to fight poverty and promote equal opportunities; mainly through the development of projects in education, health and general community support.
We build schools, health centres and we give the possibility of going to school to more than 350 children in the area. Additionally, we build wells, we have a night school for shepherd children, scholarships for students, a sewing school, a programme to fight malnutrition in babies and an endless number of community projects.
We do it all on a voluntary basis. At Abay, all members are volunteers and we only have Ethiopian staff on the ground.
What inspired you to set up the foundation?
In 2010, I adopted my daughter from Ethiopia. On that day I felt that I have contracted a kind of a debt that I thought I could repay by collaborating with Abay Ethiopia. Over the years I have discovered that this debt will never be repaid. With each trip I fall more in love with the country and its people. Dedicating my time and knowledge to helping other people have the opportunity to improve their lives is a way of being in the world.
I simply do what I love.
What projects are you working on right now within the foundation?
I co-ordinate different programmes promoting equal opportunities for girls and the right to education in the Gaba Kemisa Zone, Ethiopia. Gaba is a rural area dominated by female circumcision, early marriage and early pregnancy among school-age girls. My Girls' Club and Violet Sponsorship programme aims to keep girls in the education system for as long as possible, by delaying the age of marriage and reducing the chances of forced marriage and pregnancy problems for girls. The programme develops different reproductive and sexual health education activities, talks on equal rights and sports intimate hygiene kits with sanitary towels - to avoid the discomfort caused by menstruation and the consequent absenteeism from school on period days. We also have educational reinforcement classes and school scholarships. A second part of the programme includes the creation of a residence for secondary school students, where young women from Gaba can study miles away from their homes, in a safe space with an Abay scholarship. In addition, I collaborate with Mercedes Romero in the coordination of the Kangaroo Schools, where more than 350 children from 3 to 7 years old attend daily, 8 of them with special needs. This school and the school canteen are supported with funds from sponsors who contribute 20 euros a month. At the moment in Abay we are focusing on the construction of a school in the Dilu area. The idea is to bring the school closer to the children so that they do not have to walk for miles. This would avoid the high absenteeism in the area. The cost of the school is approximately 116,000 euros and to date we have raised approximately 40,000 euros.
How can our readers support Abay Etiopia?
You can sponsor one of the children who attend school with a monthly fee of 20 euros or you can collaborate with an annual membership fee of 110 euros.
You can also donate through BIZUM (cod 33356) or bank transfer to help build the school in Dillu.
You can contact us directly on: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information visit our website: abayetiopia.org