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Empowerment of visually impaired women and children 2016

There are many blind and visually impaired people in Ethiopia. As there is no health care in rural areas or in small towns, most of them are forced to come to Addis Ababa. 

In rural areas, the sick are believed to be cursed and bring bad luck. Women who are not attractive candidates for wives find themselves in a particularly difficult situation as their families often want to get rid of them. Women who come to Addis Ababa usually live on the streets and beg, because they cannot survive without the support of their families. Most of them have gone through some sort of trauma, such as forced prostitution, rapes, beatings, etc. As a result of such life , it is not rare for them to become single mothers and their children who live with them on the street are also at risk of being abused and have no prospect for changing their lives.

The Together Organisation focuses on supporting blind women by running a shelter for them (every woman may stay in the shelter for the maximum of one year, when she goes through a course of trainings, which will help her to begin her professional activities), a preschool for children of blind woman who work or participate in trainings, conducting trainings concerning both personal hygiene and professional skills, intermediating between women and the administration and the labour market. Even though the primary beneficiary of the actions are women and children, the Organisation has also began working with blind and visually impaired men. They do not reside in the shelter, but they have access to all trainings conducted by the Organisation.

The Organisation also cooperates with schools, where children with visual impairments learn. It does not only send teachers (who are often blind themselves), but also rents computers and necessary equipment for the duration of the classes. On a daily basis, the students are taken care of by the employees of the organisation, who, despite insufficient qualifications, have to fulfil the roles of social workers, advisers and psychotherapists.

The major objective of the Together organisation is to reinstate the blind to the society and allow them to provide for themselves. Thanks to the donors, the organisation has two well-equipped computer labs, but because of repeated power failures, it is impossible to plan computer classes.

The direct beneficiaries of the project will be at least 305 students who are blind or visually impaired from 7 state schools, 40 blind or visually impaired women and men who will participate in trainings, about 40 minors who look after blind or visually impaired parents on a daily basis.

Empowerment of visually impaired women and children 2016

The project is scheduled to be implemented from 1 July to 15 December 2016. It provides for the support of the local charity Together! Ethiopian Residents Charity to strengthen the education system and introduce people with vision impairments onto the labour market.

The project will involve conducting a series of trainings for both women who are staying at the shelter and people who come to the organisation looking for support. The planned trainings include, among others, social support, professional advisory and psychotherapy. The project will also provide for training people (mostly the blind) in conducting computer classes with children and classes will be conducted for 305 children. Since the organisation hired some new employees, they will also participate in the trainings so that they could became trainers later. The project will also provide for conducting classes for school-aged children, who up to this point have devoted most of their time to caring for their parents. A series of trainings was planned for the Together students devoted to caring for children, health care, cooking, orientation and mobility, weaving, recycling (processed products can be sold on markets), business skills.

The project also includes a component which focuses on raising awareness. It will be implemented in the form of artistic classes conducted by local artists. It will also cover the costs of Together participating in the so-called diplomatic markets, where aid organisations display the works of their students and gain new donors. This component will also include the forum organised to celebrate the Disability Day, which will constitute an opportunity to promote the project and the Polish Aid programme.

The project provides for purchasing necessary equipment and materials (mostly paper for writing in Braille), where the purchase of the generator is the most expensive element. Together, similarly to most Ethiopian organisations, faces various problems connected with its premises. The seat of the organisation is located in a rented building, so the installation of solar panels is not taken into consideration. If it will be necessary to move, the organisation will be able to take the purchased generator to a new place. 

For the purposes of calculation, the following exchange rate was applied: USD 1 = PLN 4.2329.

Empowerment of visually impaired women and children 2016

The project was being implemented from 20 to 15 December, 2016. Trainings for the blind and visually impaired wards of the Together organisation focused, among others, on looking after children, cooking, business skills, weaving, processing and recycling as well as independent mobility and child development and health protection for the employees of the Together organisation. In order to test the acquired knowledge, the trained employees conducted mini trainings for the beneficiaries. The qualified trainers with visual impairments conducted computer trainings for the blind and visually impaired students and classes devoted to basic reading and Braille writing skills.

Also, additional classes were organised for children who are staying in the shelter run by the organisation to reduce differences in the level of education, as compared to children who regularly attend classes. Also, art workshops were conducted for the blind and their works created during the workshops were sold during the charity markets in Addis Ababa.

The beneficiaries of the project are the wards of the Together organisation, the employees of the organisation as well as the students of state schools, who participated in computer classes.

The activities helped to strengthen the education system for visual impaired people to let them enter the labour market. The value of the project amounted to 29,950 American dollars and was fully covered by the Polish Aid funds. The Centre saved 250 dollars, which were later used to buy the power generator.