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    ROTARIANS IN FOOTSCRAY MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE HORN OF AFRICA

    Date:

    – the Rotary Club of Footscray’s journey sending life changing medical and school equipment to Ethiopia

    Three containers of life changing medical and school equipment have been shipped to Ethiopia. The Rotary Club of Footscray worked in conjunction with Rotary’s Donations in Kind to make this possible.

    Aware of the availability of medical and school equipment at Donations in Kind, Jama Farah, President of the Rotary Club of Footscray (2021-22) saw an opportunity for sending goods to his homeland, Ethiopia.

    Donations In Kind, located in West Footscray, is a volunteer based recycling facility that collects and redistributes goods, principally donated by Victorian hospitals, aged care and educational facilities, preferring to see their surplus equipment serve a second useful life rather than end up in land fill.

    During his year as President, Jama committed to sending three containers of goods to Ethiopia’s second largest state, Somali Regional State. Jama had grown up in Jig-Jiga the state capital and in the absence of Rotary there, it was necessary for him to establish reliable contacts to identify needs and facilitate the reception and distribution of equipment.

    Equipment most needed and available at Donations In Kind, included hospital beds, dialysis machines and wheelchairs including motorised scooters. Additionally, medical texts, educational needs and clothing were available.

    The financial resources to purchase and ship each container 10000km were considerable. A Chuffed.org crowd funding facility was created to raise $7000 for each container. Within four weeks $22,126 had been raised with contributions from Rotarians, friends and especially via Jama’s networks within the Somali and Harari diasporas of the Ethiopian Community.

    Contending with container shortages and shipping delays during the global pandemic provided for more than a few sleepless nights for Jama on a seemingly never-ending journey.

    However, the goods duly arrived at the port of Berbera and were transported to Jig-Jiga, and handled by local authorities including the Mayor of Jig-Jiga, City Administrator Abdifatah Ibrahim Ismail and the Somali State Olive Welfare Association, a large non non-government organisation that acted as consignee.

    The containers were officially received with much fanfare via press and television coverage of the welcoming ceremonies attended by the mayor, and local politicians.

    Despite the rising incidence of chronic kidney disease in Ethiopia related to high blood pressure and diabetes, dialysis had previously been limited to private hospitals. The recycled equipment has allowed the establishment of two public dialysis services in Harar and Jig-Jiga.

    Recently the dialysis service at Jugal Hospital (Harar) and Sheik Hassan Yabare Referral Hospital Dialysis Center, at Jig-Jiga University Hospital, were officially opened and attended by Somali Clan Leader, Garad Kulmiye Garad Dool, Harar State President, Ordin Bedri and Somali State Regional President, Mustafa Muhummed Omer.

    Two motorised scooters have been provided to people with limited mobility. In expressing gratitude one of the recipients who previously mobilised by shuffling on hands and buttocks stated that his circumstances had been transformed and allowed him to ‘live in the future’.

    A very successful project resulted from Jama’s vision, support from Rotary, Donations In Kind and the community, resulting in goods valued at over $1m arriving in Jig- Jiga, achieving significant outcomes for renal patients and for those with mobility issues.

    For more information on the Rotary Club of Footscray and Rotary’s Donations In Kind visit: www.rotaryfootscray.org.au & www.rotarydik.org.

     

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