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Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia receives an award for its work with leprosy patients

On May 18, 2008, Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia was awarded a certificate of appreciation by the Ethiopian National Association of People Affected by Leprosy in recognition of its contribution to the Dessie affiliate – namely the South Wollo Associations for ex-leprosy patients. The award came at the right time for Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia, as the national organization prepared for its milestone 1,000th house celebration at the end of June 2008.

Example of poverty housing in Ethiopia


Dessie Habitat village row of houses where ex- leprosy patients integrated

The event was held at the assembly hall of the ENAPAL in Addis Ababa. This marked the closing ceremony of the three-day long ninth annual assembly of ENAPAL. Among those in attendance were: the chairman of the board for ENAPAL, Ato Lulseged Birhan; Ato Ahmede Mohamed, managing director of German Leprosy Association; chairpersons of Regional Branch associations; Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia representatives; members of the executive committee for ENAPAL; as well as national and regional staff. The first HFHE homeowner in Dessie, Ato Sisay Mesele, was also present.

Several people addressed the crowd in recognition of the awards, including Ato Hahmed Mohamed, managing director of German Leprosy Association. “We are very happy that Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia has joined us in the efforts we make to change the lives of people affected by leprosy,” Mohamed said. “We should be visiting their offices and discussing how we can better strengthen our relationship to serve more leprosy patients.”

Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia started its support for these groups of stigmatized people by supporting their first homeowner, Ato Sisay Mesele, like any other member of the community. They continued their support for more families with the intention of reintegrating marginalized and vulnerable groups into the larger society supported by a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland. The municipality of Dessie provided land in different parts of the town and to date HFHE had built 12 houses, with another 20 currently under construction.

When asked what this recognition means for Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia, Kebede Abebe, the national director for the program said, “This prize showed us what we can accomplish in such a short period of time. We have managed to impact the lives of these marginalized groups and at the same time create a name for ourselves. The award also tells us that with the continued support from our donors we can bring more impact at greater scale by helping these marginalized groups of people.”