The Ethiopian Herald, BY BETELHEM BEDLU
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has so said, Margaret Mead. It is true that for a person who is willing to take part in voluntary activities and serve others, having a college degree or some type of status or even being blessed with a pile of money is not a necessary criterion. Rather, the most valuable thing is to own a kind and good heart that is filled with compassion, graciousness, and thoughtfulness.
As Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed once underscored in a graduation ceremony prepared for youths who attended training on volunteerism, if we nurture the value of service in youth, we can transform the country.
Noting that the nation is endowed with abundant natural resources and rich history, the Premier stressed that the country needs young people to employ their time, capacity, skills, and knowledge to attain national prosperity.
It has been a while since the concept of volunteerism becomes natural for the world. Not only it has positively impacted the public but it has become part of people’s lives that is performed on a daily basis.
It was about two years ago, a dozen of youths who knew nothing about each other; except for their ‘friendship’ in social media (Telegram) initiated to do something important and made them agreed to devote themselves. At first, it was just some of them who exerted lots of effort and were able to be part of the subject that made them gathered and stand as one.
The idea that seemed so simple but invaluable in its actual effect – that is contributing school materials for the needy students in their surroundings- has now turned to a huge group that consists of around a thousand youths with many active members. Most of the youths are students while there are members who are also employed.
Despite their difference in religious, cultural, and financial status, there is one thing that bonds them together – giving a helping hand to the people in need. Since the establishment of the Association, known as Kinenet Volunteers Association, literary to mean integrity, they have been executing the number of activities that have impacted thousands of needy people positively.
As to Tsehay Eshetu, one of the co-founders of the Association, the Association was established at a crucial time where the nation seeks the most support from its youth.
“It was in September 2019 that we gathered school materials for needy students. The incident was a great experience that has shown us our potential and commitment to contribute to society at large. Then, after about two months, we made our next move in collaborating with another voluntary association that is known as ‘Love for Destitute’ which is located around Gojjam Berenda, one of the areas in the capital,” she noted.
She went on to say that they also took part in helping the street children helping them taking showers, barbering their hair as well as providing them with clothing, and many more supports.
She said in her words that: “with the difficult situation that the nation is surrounded with, supporting each other seemed to be the major thing that cannot be compromised by anything.”
Tsehay noted that creating awareness on areas that bring about all-encompassing positive mentality, providing material, financial, intellectual supports for the people in need, carrying out activities that have a positive impact on the well-being of the society as well as the nation is amongst the major activities that are performed by members of the voluntary group.
According to her, most of the members are students. Owing to this, collecting adequate finance that enables vulnerable people to get support on a permanent basis is a challenging task. However, concurrent to the aforementioned activities, the Association is supporting two elderly visually impaired individuals on a permanent basis.
These two elderly women receive monthly groceries plus members clean their houses, wash their clothes and spend much time with them which actually both women highly appreciate it more than all the other supports they are provided with.
Moreover, every three months, members of the voluntary groups are scheduled to donate blood. As to her, the seventh round of blood donation will be held at the end of this month.
In addition to this, the youth participates in promoting and supporting different charity organizations especially those who have not to get the desired recognition from society. According to her, using their social media platforms, they provide the public with information about the charity organization as it makes it easier to be recognized as well as get support from others.
Most importantly, spending quality time especially on holidays with charity organizations is worth mentioning. To exemplify, the group has spent two holidays with Tesfa Childhood Cancer Patients Organization and that was the most fascinating time that has created happiness, hope, and belongingness on the minds’ of the visited people and their supporters.
While visiting such organizations, they try to bring them the necessary materials as well as endeavor to create awareness for the society what the organization needs to be provided with using their social media platforms.
“Even though we have a long way to go, we are very overwhelmed that we have tried our best to contribute what we have so far. Thus, we believe that once we become employed, we could touch the lives of many people who need the most support,” she remarked optimistically.