After twelve years of commitment to disadvantaged Ethiopian schoolchildren and around 275,000 euros in donations, Erdaw Miko ends his educational mission and dissolves the Sonnenblume eV initiative he founded.
With the help of more than 70 members and many supporters, the now 67-year-old realized the construction of two schools in the villages of Menjikso Tade and Chaffe Dunsa thanks to the donations that were painstakingly collected. “After the fourth grade, we used to have to walk 15 kilometers to the nearest school every day. But even that was not enough to get the Abitur. That required a trip to a big city like Addis Ababa, but there was no car, let alone money, ”recalls Miko, who as a trained mechanic received a university scholarship in the former GDR in the early 1980s and after a stopover in the USA has lived in Cologne since 1986.
“My drive has always been to create fair opportunities for all people. Every child should be given the opportunity to enjoy an education and at some point to study. We managed to do that in Menjikso Tade and Chaffe Dunsa and that’s why I’m quitting now ”, says the father of several families.
In fact, the volunteers succeeded in focused work to build buildings with a water supply, sanitary facilities and power supply from alternative energies, a library, accommodation for the teachers and an access road. In addition, a van was purchased for patient trips in the region.
In addition to hundreds of first to eighth graders, the schools have seen a large number of high school graduates who are aiming for a university degree. Time for the club’s founder to withdraw: “I wanted to give an impetus and lay the foundation for new paths. I want people to become independent and not become dependent on others. ”
The cosmopolitan advises social organizers to be transparent and honest, even if this is sometimes unpopular: “Of course there will always be many who are skeptical of humanitarian actions. You are wondering whether the money will actually get where it is needed. That’s why we never charged administrative costs. Everything was volunteer. Every cent went into our projects. Many of the donors and members of the association were personally on site and were able to convince themselves of the correctness of the measures, ”explains the Cologne-based resident.