Saturday, December 27, 2008

A respectful way to raise money

An Ethiopian who lives in Canada is trying to raise money to send a donated ambulance back to his home country. Today's Toronto Star has a story about Samuel Getachew, who doesn't like to exploit the poor people of his country to raise funds. Instead, he has been using cultural events to raise the money.

Getachew explains the need for the ambulance to Toronto Star reporter John Goddard.

"Using an ambulance is a luxury in Ethiopia," he says. "Most people ride to the hospital in taxis or wait for a bus. In villages, to transport very sick people, they even use a donkey."

The City of Ottawa typically sells five used ambulances a year for $5,000 each. The city once gave an ambulance to Ghana.

"I have known (Getachew) for quite a while from some of the other work he has done around the city," says Ottawa city Councillor Diane Deans.

"When he wants to do something, he puts a lot of energy behind the project, and I felt it was one the city could and should support."

Last summer, Getachew visited Ethiopia and met Abebech Gobena, a woman he intends to nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1984, Gobena adopted two children left orphans by the famine and now runs orphanage schools serving more than 5,000 children. Videos of her work are on YouTube.

"I'm going to send the ambulance to her headquarters in Addis Ababa and she will decide what village to send it to," Getachew says. "She has made a commitment that it won't be used only for the middle class."

Friends of Ethiopia must still raise $6,000 toward shipping costs. Getachew says anybody interested can call him at 647-210-5538.

No comments: