Young people care for their human family across the Gondar region of Ethiopia. FCL partner Yenege Tesfa Integrated Development Humanitarian Organization has inspired them, over the past six months, to use their time and knowledge to increase the happiness quotient. Three recent examples illustrate the point.
The Humanitarian Club at Fasiledes Higher Education Preparatory School reached out to overcome a multi-agency shortage of volunteers who serve the elderly. At two care centers, 332 elders, mentally ill residents and orphans benefited from the students’ service. The increase in volunteers came as a relief to residents such as Ato (Uncle) Abera Mengistu, an elder who confirmed that over the 13 weeks of consecutive service, happiness and cleanliness became “the profile” for those living at the center.
The same school acted on a five-year study of traffic accidents in Gondar City, which illuminated the extent of the deaths, injuries and property damage caused by accidents each year, even in areas with few cars. Thirty students of all ages received traffic safety training, to educate the community on traffic safety. (Below, participants discuss traffic safety strategies.)
Meanwhile, community activist groups at two more schools, ‘Hibret’ and ‘Abiyot- Frie’, conducted field assessments to evaluate food security. They discovered that a lack of funds had contributed to malnutrition and widespread illness among many families. The students created model gardens and taught families based on their own emergent understanding of small-scale farming. Yenege Tesfa launched the experimental gardens in six shelters and student food centers, helping students raising awareness among 74 people in five different neighborhoods of Gondar City. How many more will they feed, with our help?
Yenege Tesfa (YT), or Hope for Tomorrow, serves 27,000 Ethiopian orphans. The organization joined the Full-Circle Learning family in 2022, relying on FCL as its US fiscal agent and also jumping into the training process, to expand the humanitarian capacities of youth.
This orphanage system offers housing, medical assistance, and educational support for orphans in the conflict-ridden Gondar area, which borders the Tigray region where fighting has displaced thousands since 2020.
The YT staff trained a pilot group of 54 students and led them in field research to identify the initial community needs each of their schools would address. The teams determined to target: 1) a need for increased volunteerism to assist the elderly and mentally ill; 2) malnutrition impairing the health of children; and 3) a high rate of traffic accidents on the main routes to schools attended by 7,000 children.
This Ethiopian community development team is quickly enhancing the significance of its programs with services that not only attend to survival needs but also help young people embrace their role as society’s change agents.