Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Today I had the opportunity to visit two of the communities where HelpAge International operates its Sponsor A Grandparent Program. This program allows sponsors to support destitute older people through a variety of programs and support while learning about the community and the older people they sponsor.
We first visited the Eneredada Elder People Association (EEPA). ‘Eneredada’ means “let us help each other.” The Eneredada Elder People Association was established in 1997 by Negat Asfaw who was moved to see older people begging on the streets or who were bedridden and could not help themselves. They began supporting 10 elders, seeking to empower them, by teaching them to sell plants. Today, they have sponsored 100 older people and serve over 800 elders and over 1,600 grandchildren. They pull and weave cotton, continue to sell plants, and provide a community centre and meal program.
We also visited the Community Based Sustainable Development Organization (CBSDO) which HelpAge supports through its sponsorship program. The organization is located in a poor part of Addis Ababa with serious infrastructure, housing, sanitation, and water issues with acute social problems including child and elder abandonment. The Community Based Sustainable Development Organization provides one hot nutritious meal per day for older people, for whom this remains their only meal each day. The CBSDO also delivers meals to older people in the community who are unable to leave their homes.
I also spoke with Bezawit Alemayehu Abera, a Project Officer at the Eneredada Elder People Association about her experience working at EEPA.