Payless service for self-satisfaction

Haile Dejene is a graduate from the department of Chemical Engineering at Mekele University. He was an orphan brought up by his grandmother. She was not able to provide him with all the necessary school materials and basic needs.

He was provided support when he was in grade four by Mary Joy Development Association. At that time the support was educational materials like exercise books and clothes, shoes and fifty birr.

In addition to the material supports, later on the association provided him some 200 Birr pocket money per month during his university stay though not enough to cover all the youth wants beyond photocopies. Based on the sponsor funded assistances, he completed his first degree.

Now he is a public servant as a professional in Addis Ababa. He is leading and funding his life himself now. He is very thankful for those who played roles in the association to fund him and his childhood friends. “Without their assistances, I would have not completed my degree. They helped me with no expectation from me.”

This is a really voluntarism. Voluntary work refers to activities performed willingly and without pay to produce goods or provide services for others outside the volunteer’s household or family. Volunteer work plays pivotal role in countries, contributing to production and economic output, particularly in the non-profit sector and to community development, social cohesion and civic participation.

As a free of pay service, one of the positive aspects of volunteering is to gain a sense of satisfaction. It will be accompanied by the importance of developing the country’s economy by rescuing governments with high resources.

According to Wikipedia, Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”.

Similarly, in the prior year’s discussion with outstanding graduates, Prime minster Dr, Abiy Ahmed underlined about the essence of voluntarism. He stressed that it is their time to repay for the society that paid every sacrifice upon their success.

He has been calling on especially university graduates, secondary and preparatory students, youths and members of the community to participate actively by giving volunteer service. A massive number of volunteers and institutions replied to the call, taking part in rehabilitation, blood donation, educational material supply and the likes.

Civil Society Agency Communication Director Mesfin Tadesse says that the government motivates volunteerism through legal frame works. The local and international non-profit, non-political and non-governmental organizations are guided by the new civil society proclamation. “We control and support the nongovernmental organizations according to the law.”

“We collect their annual performance and budget plan, and annual work performance; and by observing annual report, we assess their performance and budget use and source. Then we provide feedbacks.”

Budgets and materials collected from volunteers should be implemented directly to the purpose, but should not be corrupted. Therefore, follow ups and guidance are essential in practicing volunteerism.

Mary Joy Development Association is one of the non political, non-religious and not profit-making nongovernmental organizations in Ethiopia. It was established in 1994 and counted 25 years. Its main issue was children’s but now has broadened it to elders and other needy mothers.

And Mesfin confirms that it has been one of the nongovernmental organizations assisting youth through coordinating volunteers.

Besides this, it has been contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal and GTP 2020 through engaging itself in livelihood. It is involved in provision of vocational skill training, income generating schemes, training on basic business skills; promote working culture targeting women, youth and elders.

It is also taking part in education through school expansion, educational material support, construction of new libraries and furnishing with necessary facilities.

In the same way, it is playing important role in health and cross cutting issues like child protection, HIV/AIDS, gender, environmental protection and inclusiveness.

Association Senior Program Officer, Wondwosen Messele said that currently the association covers more than 112 Kebeles and has been benefiting over 1.6 million people directly and indirectly by only 179 employees.

The target areas are Addis Ababa, Southern Nation Nationalities Peoples State (Sidama, Gedio, Gamo Gofa, Hadiya,Wolayta and Kenbata Zones, and Hawassa city). And on process to work on peace, migration and rehabilitation issues start in Afar State.

Likewise, its funding partners are Save the Children International, CORDAID, FHI- 360, Mary Joy Medical Centers/Clinics, UNFPA, IOM, Private sectors, companies, business community and individuals. In this year, Mary Joy has a plan to earn 49,809,884 ETB from different partners.

Association Sponsorship Officer, Tsegab Demeke says, “all our support is community based not institution based. We help them at their homes.”

There are three supporting methods: sponsorship, donation and membership. “The main thing is that the support is Ethiopians to Ethiopians. The government budgeted 360 birr for one child or elder per month.”

Used or outdated clothes and shoes, books, pens and other materials are collected from schools, companies and individuals of all age levels and handover to the needy, Tsegab reiterated.

“Membership fee is 50 ETB per annum for students and 50 ETB per month for employees,” he added.

Those all supports will allow children under 18 and elders over 65, but it depends on the sponsors.

Volunteer Yonas Alemu prepares fund raising program every year in America by organizing music concert, he sponsored some Artists to go there and make them contribute by selling t-shirt and tickets to collect money for charity of Mary Joy.

He says, “I joined Mary Joy before 6 years. I and Artist Zenabezu Tsegaye agreed to start this kind of fund raising program in America. Volunteer artists like Mekdes Tsegaye, Tewodros Teshome and others are working with us. This is our fifth round and we start the process to go there with volunteers Yegerem Dejene, Tigst Girma and Abrham Gezaw.”

At last, Volunteer Journalist Abrham Gezaw, says “we all have to know we can change every huge problems if we work together. We all Ethiopian people have to support each other; real Ethiopian culture is supporting one another for free. We have to stand together for the needy!”

The Ethiopian Herald July 26/2019


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