Over the past year, our charity in Mekele and the staff have suffered a series of setbacks: Covid, which seems to be less widespread than in the West, allegations against the management, which has been independently investigated and found to mainly baseless, and worst of all, a regional war, during which their offices have been ransacked and equipment stolen. Any one of these might have destroyed a lesser organisation, but they are a small and tightly-knit group, and clearly very resilient. Luckily, amid the bombing, the atrocities reported, the apparently indiscriminate killing, and the looting of buildings, all of our staff seem to have survived unhurt, and even managed to progress some of the projects that were underway, although some have been unable to continue for the time being. We’ll publish more information here soon, but to see the last Newsletter, from December 2020, please click here.
Our previous major project, which has been keeping one of SENTigray’s project managers occupied full time, is the provision of recorded textbooks to blind children throughout Tigray region, an area two-and-a-half times the size of Wales, but a great deal more difficult to access. The MP3 players we use are no larger than a smartphone, and hold a whole year’s textbooks. Blind children who previously had no direct access to textbooks, and relied on memory or friends, are suddenly on a par with their sighted colleagues, and equality of opportunity is restored, one of our principal objectives. You can read the story of the talking textbook project, and how Abel, the project leader, has recently been promoting it in other regions of Ethiopia, by clicking here.
Our sister charity in Tigray, based in the capital Mekele, had its offices in a government building in the centre of Mekele: The Tigray Regional Bureau of Education. The Bureau recognised the work that SENTigray was doing and allowed the charity to use the offices without charge. However, the whole building, in common with many others, was ransacked during the recent military operations, and equipment and records were all taken. We (SENEthiopia) have agreed to send an initial donation of £2500 to help re-establish the SENTigray operation, but at this stage we don’t know whether the previous arrangements for accommodation will be reinstated. We will update this page with news as we have it.