Greetings from Ethiopia
We had a good day. We drove out about 130 km to one of the CBR programs in the network. It was a very impressive program. They began by giving us a report on the program, and went through the CBR matrix (community-based rehabilitation) and showed in each category (health, education, livelihood, social, empowerment) their targets and achievements. I have yet to see a program as comprehensive as this.
One of the interesting things to see was how this program was integrating their work with local Micro-finance partners. Their goal is to have people with disabilities included and credit worthy. They begin working with a family with training, business concepts, and a very small interest free loan. After they have proven their economic idea and capacity to manage their micro-business, they then turn them over to a local micro-finance organization. They are then treated like any client – with normal interest rates. The MF organization is happy because they get clients who already have a concept, business, and history of success. The CBR program is happy because a client is now included in regular business programs, and they can concentrate on new clients. All of the home visits I went on talked about how important this economic empowerment was to them and their families. They can earn enough now to care for their family.
On one of my visits a grandmother received a loan for an oven for enjira (bread) and the building of a shelter so she could cook in the rains. She insisted on us taking a piece of bread. She looks after three grandchildren, her daughter (mother of the children) died. One of the children is deaf.
Because she can sell the bread in the market she now has no difficulty feeding the family. She told us “I am free! I am happy and I have hope. Don’t think of me as a poor person!” She also said that she and I were now part of the same family – we were related through the CBR program. She wanted me to thank all of the people also related through this program. That is all of you!
The CBR program also includes health, rehabilitation, social, education, and everything else. Each field worker is trained in sign language, physio, etc – so they can provide the full services to the clients. The training for the CBR field workers is done through the CBR network – which is funded by the Hope and Healing and CIDA.
I could go on but won’t for now. It was an uplifting day – a day that showed me again how important all of our work is.