A Center for the Disabled in Ethiopia
The person on the right of the photo is Sami.
Sami is the representative of Education for the Akaki Kaliti kebele (neighbourhood) in Ethiopia. Sami is very intelligent, with an enviably quick mind. Sami is totally blind.
In his youth he was the only blind boy in the area to attend a state school. One that offered him the possibility to use Braille, a system for reading and writing by touch, designed specifically for blind people. Although Braille is available in Amharic (the language of this region), very few blind Ethiopians get to use it as there is no money to make it available for them.
As you may know, we have become involved in providing support to the disabled of Akaki, starting by supporting disabled children and adolescents who attend the Akaki Mengist school in Addis. These children and adolescents of both sexes, who are physically disabled, blind or deaf, have the use of two classrooms.
So far we have sent 12 pairs of crutches (some for infants) a wheelchair, as well as educational material and a foosball table set.
Additionally, we have bought 20 sign language manuals in Amharic, for the deaf. We want to help more of the disabled of Akaki and for this reason have offered to buy Amharic Braille for the blind children of the area, so that they can attend the state school.
Today we are going to talk of a dream. Normally in Mediterranea we speak of realities, that is to say, when we speak of a project it’s because we have raised the funds necessary to action it. But this is a Big Dream…to provide a center where the disabled of Akaki can come to work. Having a room for physiotherapy and various professional workshops for the disabled.
It is estimated that some 6% of Ethiopians are disabled. Their only means of survival…begging. Their lives are ones of intolerable poverty and marginalization. They are people abandoned to their luck and practically without any possibility of personal development or integration into their society.
But here we have Sami, to remind us that there can be light in the darkness. And that with your help we can put into reality our Big Dream to help more.