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Ethiopia, Africa

ETH02k - Blind Youth Education Scholarship

Partnership Ref.:



Worku Tafete



Funding Status:

Completed - Self-sustaining

Partnership Type:

Orphans & Vulnerable Children, Training / Education

Funding Size:

$0 - $2,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 0

Connected To:

ETH02a , ETH02b , ETH02c , ETH02d , ETH02l , ETH02m , ETH03


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Funding Contact:

No funding required


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Population: 85.0 million

Life Expectancy: 54.7 years

GDP: US$333 per capita

Unemployed: 50.0%

77.6% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact

9 families are being assisted

9 children are being supported into schooling

9 elderly, disabled or chronically ill people supported

Partnership Overview

changed livesThere are many young people in Ethiopia whose sight has been severely compromised. There are many reasons for this, poor eye care, rural accidents, mineral deficiencies and congenital problems. All the ones on this programme developed eye issues as children or young people. 

It is very hard for them to become self-sustaining in rural communities so if they stay they have unfulfilled lives and if they come to the cities they end up on the streets begging. Whatever they do, they are vulnerable.

There is an organisation that looks after blind people, however they have no funding and can do very little. A partnership has been developed with this organisation to assist a group of young people. The organisation has some very low cost buildings. These are being rented at minimal cost for the 10 young people in the programme. Only 10 can be accommodated at the moment and the plan is to support them through education until they are self-sustaining. As they graduate out of the programme others will be added. 

History of Partnership
Since 2006 BHW has been actively involved with partners in the north of the country, based around the city of Gondar. In the process of caring for widows and vulnerable people, many blind young people were discovered. 

being given a chanceBeneficiaries
Initially 10 young people are being developed. They came from the streets or were referred by others. As the project develops and if more resources become available, the numbers will grow. This is a long term investment in these young people. 

What We Like About The Partnership
These are the sort of people BHW most wants to work with, the poorest of the poor. There are many who can be helped and Worku, our partner, has a real passion for the vulnerable like this. Significant change for these children comes quickly.

Key People
Leadership Profile
great guyWorku Tafete is the key person in Ethiopia and the developments here came about as a result of his vision. He left Ethiopia as a refugee teenager, fleeing the internal conflicts of the day. On his dangerous journey through three countries he became a follower of Christ before eventually ending up in New Zealand.

After some time in his new country he had a growing sense that he should go back to his people with the faith he had discovered, to meet the many needs of the poor and to contribute to the development of the country of his birth. He is a single man and many of his siblings live in the West. He now spends much of his time in Ethiopia, overseeing the work that has developed and building and growing a school to generate resources for ongoing development. His parents still live in Ethiopia, in a village just outside Gondar.


Vision And Annual Strategy

The vision is to equip as many blind young people as possible so they can become self-sustaining and contribute to society.

The strategy is to work with the Blind organisation to develop these young people. The students are taught to read Braille and then they are supported in education in local government schools. They quickly learn Braille and the schools are happy to have them in the classes once they can read. 

They have their basic needs catered for as part of the scholarship; accommodation, clothes, food and school expenses. 


Personal Testimony
Real "Life Change" Stories
changed livesThis programme commenced in 2011 and those involved are making wonderful progress. They are all towards the top of their school classes. They consistently get well into 90%+ for their examinations. One boy has gone from not being able to read and entering the school in Grade 2, to within two years being in Grade 6, jumping four classes.

The teachers cannot believe the progress they are making. It is wonderful to interview them and see the huge smiles on their faces as they tell their stories. It is very inspiring. They all have aspirations to continue learning in the arts area as science and maths are particularly difficult subjects for blind people.