10 February 2019

Abiy the uniter unites Ethiopians in London

Girma Haile Mariam addressing the audience
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has only been in power for less than a year but has touched the lives and souls of many. His contagious passion for Ethiopia and willingness to work with everybody, has united Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia around the world. To that effect, Ethiopians and British citizens of Ethiopian origin met in Wandsworth, South London to discuss about the change the premier has introduced in Ethiopia and the challenge he set for the diaspora to contribute a dollar a day through the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust fund (known as EDTF).

Sunday 10th February saw Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia gather at York Gardens Library and Community Centre in Wandsworth to discuss about the formation of The London Chapter of EDTF and how they can help those who need help. Wandsworth is the home of St. Mary of Debre Tsion, the biggest Ethiopian Orthodox church in Europe which often attracts many Ethiopian related functions and events. 

The event brought together Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia of all political persuasion and none for a great cause. In fact the leaders of the event were composed of the two factions of Debre Tsion London Church, which has been divided for the past 7 years. Hence the EDTF effect in London is not only about raising money for the EDTF but also bringing folks together for a common good. Girma Haile Mariam, one of the organisers of the event said: “EDTF is not about politics, religion, etc. It is all about what we can and should together to help our fellow citizens who have no access to clean water, access to many things important in our lives. Trust me, Our contribution will make a difference

EDTF council members, Prof Lemma W. Senbet and Dr. Aklilu Bisrat as well as NuNu Wako, the convener for EDTF Volunteer Task Force joined the event via Skype. Their insightful contributions and availability to answer questions boosted the confidence of all the attendees of the event. Following the event, a mum and senior citizen, who didn't want to be named said “Because of EDTF I was able to meet with someone I haven’t met for over 10 years as I lost contact with them. EDTF has reunited me with my good old friend.

The EDTF London chapter is the first of many to be formed across the United Kingdom. Ethiopia and UK have strong relationship and work together on a number of bilateral and international issues. Harriett Baldwin, Foreign Office and DFID Minister for Africa was in the horn of African country in October following which she said: “The UK and Ethiopia are working together to tackle shared challenges and to make the most of the opportunities East Africa offers, on everything from development and education, to creating jobs and attracting investment. We will continue to support the ambitions of our partners, like Ethiopia, to build a stronger, more prosperous and more peaceful region.”

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