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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Ethiopia: Finks Hawzien


Food for the children in Finks Hawzien

In 2020, "The Phoenix of Hawzien" (translation of Finks Hawzien), faced difficult times. In addition to the Corona pandemic and the associated closure of kindergartens and schools, a severe plague of locusts severely reduced the harvest. Then, in the autumn of 2020, a civil war began in Ethiopia.

Although the current situation is that 160 children have returned to kindergarten and 250 children are in school once more in Hawzien, the food supply is very poor. Against this backdrop, the project collects money for concentrated feed for the cows, so that they can give more milk, and flour so that the children can eat bread as well as milk in the kindergarten and school. To supply all the children in the school and kindergarten with bread for one year, about 12,000 EUR is needed, and for the food concentrate for the cattle over the same period, a sum of about 4,500 EUR is needed. Fink's Hawzien will be greatly helped if only a small part of the money is raised. Once the children's needs are met, the next step will be to repair the damage to the buildings and furniture.


About the project

The Ethiopian association, Finks Hawzien Society for Integrated Development, has over 30 local members from Hawzien, Wukro and Mekele. The Society was founded in 2002 by Dr. Atsbaha Gebre-Selassie, who left his birthplace Hawzien in the 1970s, went to Germany and studied organic farming. In order to give the children and families of his homeland a positive perspective for the future, Dr. Atsbaha devised a plan to found a self-help project. This is how the association, which is recognised by the state as an NGO, and translates into German as Phoenix Hawzien, came into being.

The association received 30,000 m² of land from the mayor in Hawzien for the construction of a kindergarten. When the building plans were approved in 2005, nothing stood in the way of the construction project. The kindergarten, "Hiwotay Merebet" ("A Sheltered Home"), was inaugurated in September 2006 and is now attended by 160 children. In 2008, plans were made for a school and fundraising commenced. Five years later, construction began on the first four classrooms, a multi-purpose hall, a staff room and sanitary facilities - for up to eight classes. The opening of the "Bruh Tesfa" school, which translates as "Bright Future", took place in September 2014 with a big celebration. The free "Bright Future" school in Hawzien aims to promote creative thinking and teach practical skills. It is essential for the association that the younger grades focus on games, art and practical work, in addition to the classical curriculum. The school has set itself the goal of promoting independent activities and providing new ideas and impulses for the wider school system.

Since October 2017, a full position for handicraft lessons has been funded by the Ustinov Foundation. A fully paid art teacher and a helper were hired. In addition, several local artists teach their craft once a week. There is a potter who teaches the children how to work with clay. A musician teaches music, the making of traditional Ethiopian instruments, dance and singing. A local carpenter teaches the children how to work with wood and a basket weaver shows them how to make traditional baskets. Then in 2019, four more classrooms were built, as well as a chemistry/physics laboratory and a media room.  So, nothing stood in the way of the plan to build the school up to Grade 8, and to offer education to some 320 children.

Current challenges

In 2020, unfortunately, the difficult times arrived. It began with Corona and the associated closure of kindergartens and schools. A plague of locusts also reduced the harvest. But that was not enough. In autumn 2020, a civil war began in Ethiopia, especially in the province of Tigray, in the middle of which Hawzien lies. Unfortunately, to our great dismay, at the very beginning of the conflict, a security guard who had worked for Finks Hawzien for many years, was killed. Miraculously, the buildings and furnishings survived except for some damage, and the cows also survived.

Today, Tigray province, and with it Hawzien, is cut off from the outside world. The banks are closed, the internet and telephone lines are cut. Wages are brought to Hawzien by staff from international organisations, as bank transfers and individual visits are no longer possible. Today, we can only make short phone calls to Finks Hawzien staff on some days via the Red Cross wifi in Mekele, the provincial capital, a two-hour car ride away.  So, we know that the kindergarten and the school have reopened. At the moment, 160 children are going to the kindergarten again and 250 children to school.

We hope for better times for the Phoenix of Hawzien!

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