Abebe Engdasaw of Ottawa witnessed firsthand the drought affecting Ethiopia while visiting relatives in January.
It was the shortage of water that was most evident, he says.
“People were walking for hours and hours, travelling from one place to another, to search for water.”
He visited a food distribution centre and a maternal and child health clinic, where he learned that many of the patients over the past year were malnourished children.
Upon returning home to Canada, Abebe heard news reports about the scale of the crisis, including the warning that it could be worse than the 1984 famine.
What he had seen and what he learned upon returning home moved him.
“When I put all of this together, I had a strong indication that I had to do something,” says Abebe.
Others in the Ethiopian community in Ottawa were following what was happening in their home country, and were also looking for ways to help.
Abebe formed a fundraising committee with his fellow members from St. Tekle Haimanot Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and from Ottawa’s Ethiopian Community Association.
They set a goal of raising $10,000 and gave their campaign the slogan, ‘I care and I share.’
Father Senay Admasu, Head Priest of St. Tekle Haimanot Church, announced the fundraising initiative on Easter Sunday.
“As Ethiopians, as Christians, supporting those who need our help is a top priority for us. Whatever we have, we share,” Abebe said in his remarks to those gathered at an event on May 28.
Abebe credits Father Admasu for the overwhelming response they received. In his sermon each Sunday, Father Admasu associated Christianity with giving.
The committee knew they would reach their goal when in the first week they received $5,000.
Two months after fundraising began, the goal of $10,000 was reached.
The funds have been donated to the Foodgrains Bank for its ongoing Ethiopian drought response.
To learn more about the African drought crisis or to donate, visit our African Drought Appeal page.
–Stephanie McDonald, Public Policy Advisor