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A Tale of Teddies

Recipe for 140 Teddy Friends:

Take an initiative to help our project work in Mehoni during lockdown from our generous EE supporter in Australia, Liz McCarthy. Add a short discussion about the opening of our new Kindergarten at Lemlem Baro School, still planned for 2020. Stir in 14 kind and enterprising Aussie ladies with coloured wool and knitting skills. Add several hundred working hours. Mix all together gently with love and care.

This recipe will provide over a hundred little Mehoni citizens with a beloved Teddy Friend to cuddle when they join our new Kindergarten. The latter is in its final construction phase and will be opened as soon as COVID-19 allows. And we are ready. We just can’t wait to show you the pics when the children receive their Teddy Friends on their first day at Kindergarten.

To our creative ladies – Liz McCarthy with Karen Samociuk (Sydney); Claire Middleton and Desirée Bickle (Adaminaby); Mary Vanzella (Pambula); Diane Scobie and Robyn Brown (Canberra); Di Humphreys with Joy Salter, Carole Lowen and Cheryl Ricco (Melbourne); and Lynda Hove with Pam Scarr and Jean Short (Gold Coast) – we can’t thank you all enough. 140 beautiful, individual teddies! We and our community are deeply appreciative of the fabulous work you have done for us.

Forty of the teddies have already arrived in their new home and are awaiting the opening of the kindergarten. The others will follow in November.

Emergency relief in Raya

For the past two months Ethiopian Enterprises has been raising funds for hygiene articles and emergency food supplies for our project region of Raya in southern Tigray. But it was only thanks to the tireless efforts of our manager Melkamu Abate and his colleague Solomon Seilu, a lecturer at Mekelle University, that we were able to ensure that the money was spent wisely and that the goods we financed were correctly allocated. Melkamu and Solomon were supported on their many trips between Mekelle and Mehoni by driver Haftom Amare, and helper Lewte Godifay. With the money raised so far we were able to supply 8 health centers and 1 quarantine shelter in our region with hygiene products and examination equipment, and to provide over 1300 high-risk families in the Mehoni area with a month’s food supply.

As you can see in the pictures, the allocation of millet was organised carefully to maintain physical distancing in a region where masks are not available except to health-care workers. Our helpers divided the larger sacks of grain into smaller portions and laid them out in the compound of Lemlem Baro School which was the storage and collection centre for our supplies. Workers were ready to help lift and carry grain for older or weaker recipients back to their homes. Families with 1-2 members (typically older people) received 25 kgs of millet and 1 litre of cooking oil, which will last for a good month. Families with 3 and more members received 50 kgs of millet and 1 litre of oil. Lemlem Baro gardener Wolde, the foreman of our Kindergarten construction team Abrha, Lemlem Baro teachers Fitsum and Haftom, former Lemlem Baro student Abel, and our school guard Afera all helped with the organization of the handouts, masterminded by manager Melkamu. Our thanks go to all of the above and to those of you members and donors who have supported our relief effort. We couldn’t have provided this additional assistance without your help.

We would love to be able to say that now all is good. Unfortunately that is not yet the case. Due to the enforced closure of markets, there are at least another 1’000 families in our region in desperate need of emergency food supplies. So far the area has not received any help from government supported NGOs or national Ethiopian organizations which have the mandate to help in such cases. We are addressing this unacceptable situation and will keep you informed of our progress.

2019 annual report now available

Thomas Baumann has recently completed the Annual Report on Ethiopian Enterprises’ activities in 2019. The richly illustrated report provides a detailed overview of all that EE achieved during the last year in Mehoni. Click HERE for pdf-file (only available in German)

“Beautiful Birds” at Lemlem Baro School

On February 15th, our new Arts&Crafts Center at Lemlem Baro School was opened officially with a student art exhibition under the theme of ‘Beautiful Birds’. Three of us were present in Mehoni for this special event, and we worked hard with the students in the week prior to the exhibition to finish the exhibits on which they had been working for weeks.

The quality of the students’ exhibits was very high, especially given that most of them had never done any artwork of their own until a few months ago. Our resident art teacher has worked hard with the students and we found out that we have many students at the school who are highly talented in this area.

Some of the work was bought by members of the public, and the students were very proud to receive their share of the money paid for their work. Teachers and students from other schools also visited the exhibition over the four days it was open, and the feedback was extremely positive. Many of our students thanked us individually for providing the school with an art room and also asked us to pass on their thanks to the many EE friends who had provided art materials over the past few months.

We are always grateful for biro pens (new), colored pencils (can be used), water paints and other decoration items like gold and silver paint. Have a look at the pictures and see just how well they did, including our three most talented students who were allowed to create bird masks and open the exhibition as ‘beautiful human birds’.

By the way, the ‘luxury birds’ exhibit of four colorful birds was mounted on one of our classroom stools turned upside down. The legs were the perfect size to be inserted into the wrapping-paper rolls used for the body, and the faces were made of egg cartons, cut and covered in plaster tissue and then decorated. We loved them!

Beautiful Birds

This week EE board members Thomas, André and Lesley will leave for Mehoni and the official opening of our Arts&Crafts Center at Lemlem Baro School. The opening will be celebrated with the first student art exhibition to be held at a rural government school in Northern Ethiopia.

February 15th is the official opening of the center and, once the ribbon is cut, the door will open and bird song will pour forth to the visitors outside. Guests will then be shown through the exhibition, which features birds of all kinds. We can’t wait to show you the photos of the students’ lovely work following the exhibition.

This trip’s schedule will also include the yearly dinner for our scholarship student community which now numbers 45 students. In addition, our board will be monitoring the construction of our Early Learning Center which is now underway at Lemlem Baro School.

Lemlem Baro School 2015-2019

If you want to see the transformation that 4 people and their friends can bring about in a school project, have a look at this film. It was made for the tenth anniversary of Ethiopian Enterprises. You see the results of the transformation of a large public elementary school, including scenes from 8th-grade holiday courses, work in the permagarden, the opening of toilet blocks with innovative rainwater-systems, school prize-giving, etc. Just as you get that good feeling that now all is well, you get to see footage filmed in a neighbouring school just a few weeks ago….

Happy Birthday Ethiopian Enterprises!

Last Thursday evening more than 50 members and friends joined us in the Kulturraum Thalwil for a celebration of EE’s tenth birthday. Following the annual general meeting of EE members, our board members and helpers welcomed numerous guests with drinks and fine finger food. Then there was time for chatting, meeting new people and shopping at our Ethio-Shop. After the apéro, EE president Thomas Baumann and Mehoni School project leader Lesley Stephenson delivered a short overview of the origin and past history of Ethiopian Enterprises. EE’s current project at Lemlem Baro School was then introduced in more detail, illustrated by photos and a short film created by board member André Cardinaux. Lesley then took the opportunity to introduce and thank the EE volunteers present at the event, many of whom have supported our work as helpers and fundraisers for several years: Caroline Barlow, Maria Baumann, Alois Baumann, Jonathon Borowski, Cathy Kennard, Hong Peng, Bettina Rinaldi, Jolanta Skuratko, Gabriela Stocker, Christoph Stocker and Julia Svozil. Katarzyna Zarecka and Claudia Babock, who represented General Electric Volunteers at the event, were thanked for their multiple collections of goods for our schools in Mehoni. Lesley also paid tribute to our long-year Ethiopian manager, Melkamu Abate, for his efforts in Raya and Mekelle on behalf of EE. And then the highlight of the evening arrived: our 10th birthday cake, perfectly decorated by Confiserie Bauer in Zurich with the EE logo and Swiss and Ethiopian flags. After many questions and discussions, champagne and birthday cake, the successful party came to an end late in the evening!

2018 annual report now available

Thomas Baumann has recently completed the Annual Report on Ethiopian Enterprises’ activities in 2018. The richly illustrated report provides a detailed overview of all that EE achieved during the last year in Mehoni. Click HERE for pdf-file (only available in German)

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