Hello dear friends of Mediterranea,
As you already know our experiences in our struggle to maintain our project in the Birhan school have not always been sweet but often bitter.
From the very beginning, we have been subjected to lies from the retired teachers. We have been lied to by our former representative, Adugna Tesfaye Woldekirkos. We have been lied to by the Edir whose president was Tadesse Mengesha and the trend has been adopted by the present Edir.
We have also been subjected to many cases of theft, starting with Adugna Tesfaye Woldekirkos, the former buyer for the school and Tadesse Mengesha.
They have all been caught with their hand in the till, in an attempt to steal the future of the 187 children who, at last, had the opportunity to escape from a life of begging in the streets and who were presently being educated with the hope of moving forward.
During my last visit, their enemies took their vengence to a highter level. I was arrested by the secret police under a false accusation, made by Adugna Tesfaye Woldekirkos and Tadess Mengesha, claiming that our organisation is a covert operation involved in the trafficking of children.
This accusation was, of course, proved to be a lie, after many hours of questioning by the police, the support of the Edir of Akaki, the chief of all of the kebeles of Akaki, the employees and families of the pupils attending the Birhan school. The present Edir's failure to appear during my detention did not go unnoticed.
Adugna Tesfaye Woldekirkos swore vengence and carried out his cowardly promise. His intention being to destroy all of our work and put an end to the Birhan school.
His report to the police was supported by Tadesse Mengesha and the former school buyer in an act of revenge for having being dismissed by Mediterranea for theft ( In the case of Tadesse Mengesha it was his own people who dismissed him).
There are ulterior motives attached to this act of revenge. The father of Tadesse Mengesha owns a fee-paying nursery school in the area.
From the very beginning his attitude was suspect. He was unhappy with the fact that Mediterranea was providing free lunches when in his father's school the children had to pay extra to eat on the premises. This sinister character even suspended, until we realised, then restored the school lunches, claiming that such poor people had no need to eat so much.
The whole situation exploded when he realised that we were serious, determined and were on our way with Barry to build a new, improved Birhan school. He couldn't permit that without a fight!
He falsely reported us to the police and on the last day of our visit they were waiting to detain me.
How did they know about all of our plans? Well... very simple.
The Edir had been feeding them information all along. He lied to us by saying that he no longer had dealings with them but, in actual fact, he was their puppet!
Once his guilt was confirmed, the Mediterranea committee decided to cut off all relations with the Teramaj Edir.
The proposed Birhan installations which were to be built on the land owned by the Teramaj Edir will be built elsewhere.
We are currently negotiating our building plans with another Edir in the same area. Meanwhile both staff and children have been left without a school.
After having sent a letter to both the staff and families affected, explaining the situation, we received the following communication.
"Greetings for dv-victoria valsdld and board members of meditranian NGO
Dv.victoria we teachers of birihan school first wish you a happy new year Dr.victoria we heard about the decision of the board and we are very sorry for the incovenience Created by terainmaj mer edaja idir we knau that you and the board don not want to close the schiool dand stop the aid we know that it is impossible to continue the work at the cument situation we are trying to find other altematves or another means to make sure the school is not closed we hope to find ancther location for the school soon and we want to thank you for the chance you go we us to find a sollstion for the problem. finally we also want to tell you that we are traing to put to justice the people who tried to put false accusation on you . Wish a happy new year"
Mediterranea hopes to find a solution to this problem which affects 187 children and the 21 employees.