A milestone reached: the shop is open!

In the first week of December a delegation of BEZA went to Lalibela to give a “training for trainers”. A group of 12 people from the target group of the Lalibela Foundation and BEZA was trained in making candles from beeswax. In the North of Ethiopia beekeeping is very common, hence the raw materials are locally available. The candles will be sold to tourists in Lalibela.

The objective is for these people to train other people from the target group.

A small group will also be taught English and an basic bookkeeping course will be given to keep track of income and expenses. After all, the ultimate goal is that these people will generate a small income from this activity independently.

In recent times we have worked hard on the design of the production location.

Currently, a mini shop is being set up at a suitable tourist location to sell the candles. The first candles have already been sold last week and the group is now working hard to build up a small stock.

The photos show how the pupils, who are mainly suffering from HIV, are working hard to master the professional production of the candles. At the end of a week of training, a certificate was awarded to each student during a beautiful official ceremony for following and completing this training. We are extremely proud of what has been achieved here since our visit in December 2017, and mainly under the guidance of local people.


Blind people and education

The education of blind students in Ethiopia is in no way comparable to that in the Netherlands. Teachers are not trained to help these young people, no Braille is taught, there are no facilities such as books in Braille, let alone digital information.
The education of the blind in Lalibela has been a main focus of our foundation for fifteen years. The first fruits of this are now being reaped. This summer our first two blind students graduated from university, as you can read above.
In August of this year, our volunteer and educational expert Teshome Asefa from Addis went on a working visit to Lalibela for us. There he met our eight university students and provided them with advice for the coming academic year. He also talked to the schools and the Blind Association to discuss how the guidance of blind students in the local schools can be better facilitated.

Our first blind graduates

We are very proud of our students Tarik Keffie Wosson (pictured) and Meseret Awoke Wubbet for having obtained their university degree in Sociology. They are not the first graduates from our Social Project, but the first blind students. Of course we sincerely hope that they will soon find a paid job.

This academic year no fewer than four blind students have moved on from secondary school to various university programmes. Thanks to our donors and a few donations, we were able to provide all of them with a laptop. As a result, they no longer have to pay fellow students to read their books.
At a later stage, the board will decide whether the other blind students are also eligible for a laptop. For this we will be looking for sponsors in the coming period. Would you like to contribute to this? You know where to find us!

With these four new students we now have ten blind students in our study project.
One of them – Habtamu Melese – deserves a special mention here. In addition to his Law studies, he has written and published a dictionary. Commonly used technical terms in Amharic are now available in English and vice versa.

Lalibela Foundation wins competition at Leiden University of Applied Sciences

The Lalibela Foundation was recently awarded a large donation from the Hogeschool Leiden (HSL). The donation is the proceeds of the annual competition organised for HSL staff. The board of the HSL donates an amount of 50 euros for each participating team. The total amount is then donated to one or more charities, with the goals being chosen by the winning team.

This year 72 teams participated. Team ‘Scotland’ won, meaning that the 3600 euros go to the Lalibela Foundation. The team wanted the contribution to the charity to cause a big splash instead of a droplet. To that end they opted for a relatively small foundation where no money lingers on personnel costs, but everything is run by volunteers. Moreover, the Lalibela Foundation uses the money very broadly. For social projects, microcredits, blind students and other initiatives in the fight against poverty in the Ethiopian town of Lalibela. The donation from Leiden is entirely for the benefit of the ten blind university students under the auspices of the foundation. To supplement their meager government grant, they receive a donation from the Foundation. Also, at the start of their studies they are given a laptop with speech software, without which studying would be impossible, and guidance from a local volunteer.The cheque was presented to the Lalibela Foundation by the winning team in the presence of the chairman and the deputy chairman of the HSL Executive Board.

Board members Jos van den Brink and Eric Maes (middle) received the cheque for the Lalibela Foundation in Leiden.

S.O.B. and Reba Packaging b.v. support Lalibela Foundation

Under the flag of Stichting Ontwikkelingssamenwerking Boxmeer (SOB), 13 Private Initiatives (or rather foundations) work together in the municipality of Boxmeer. This platform enables the foundations to meet 2 to 3 times a year to exchange information about each other’s projects, to follow workshops, to learn from each other, to work on the awareness of the Boxmeer community.
Every year the municipality of Boxmeer makes an amount available to support the projects. As a foundation you can submit a motivated application to be eligible for (partial) support.
This year we have submitted an application for the co-financing of a collective business building in Lalibela. Together with Beza (see elsewhere on our website) we will organise activities for our people in Lalibela.

We are pleased that on October 4th we received the pledge for an amount of €900.

Besides the SOB, Reba Packaging BV also came from Dongen with an unexpected contribution of €500 as a result of enthusiastic reports about the ongoing activities of the foundation.

Autumn 2018 promotion: unique Christmas cards, order now!

Four gorgeous postcards by the artist Mikiyas Sewnet, who studies with a grant from our foundation at the Art Academy in Addis Ababa.
€ 1.00 per piece
€ 3.50 for a set of 4 cards
€ 8.00 for 10 cards of your choice

Autumn 2018 promotion
€ 0.50 each for orders from 10 cards, expires December 31st.

If you would like to purchase these cards or something else from the assortment in our webshop, please send an e-mail to

Built jointly!

The business plan we developed back in October 2017 in collaboration with Beza (see earlier news release) has resulted in the construction of a community building that serves as a base for activities, including the production of various items by the target groups of the Lalibela Foundation and BEZA.

From Beza’s local representative Mr. Melese we received pictures of the building that is now nearing completion and hopefully can be put into use soon.


Proceeds from 2018 Elzendaal School Sponsor Run

After an interesting lesson about Lalibela in April and a successful sponsored run back in May, the revenue collected was announced on 12 June in the presence of of the Foundation secretary Stef Pennings and the class. The fantastic amount of 426.17 euros will soon be deposited into the account of our foundation.
Stef told the class that this money is due for spending on their blind peers in Ethiopia. By using voice recorders and laptops, our blind pupils/students can follow education better.
Thank you all for your commitment and we hope to be able to come back next year.

Laptops for our blind students

Teshome Assafa — our steady support regarding our blind students and students.

In close consultation with our friend Teshome Assafa – deputy director of a large school in Addis – and for years our support regarding our blind students and students, we have decided to provide our (future) blind students with a laptop with a speech program.
Until now, blind pupils/students had to do without braille/voice, and our student grant (800 Birr per month) is often paid to a reader. In this way, they have to assimilate their learning material. The facilities for blind pupils/students are minimal in Ethiopia.
Thanks to a few donations, we were able to provide the current blind students with second-hand laptops.
We continue to count on your support!

This month we received the following thanks from two blind students.

My dear helping sponsors, how are you doing? I am doing well thanks to God. I want to say thank you to for your genuine aid over the past 10 years since 2008-2018 that I hold my first degree in university. Thank you is not enough to express my feeling towards you due to the fact that without your great aid, I couldn’t have achieved what I have. So, I shall say God bless you!
Yours sincerely, Meseret Awoke.

Hi members of Lalibela Foundation, how are u? I am fine. Sorry for not writing a letter to u before. I was busy and searching a friend to help me to mail u. I want to thank u more,  I get the money that u transferred to me. Thanks…
My graduation research is already at a final stage and I am studying for the final exam.
Goodbye and I will mail u next time.
Tarikua Kefyalew

Successful visit to Lalibela

Our board member Desiree went to Ethiopia in December to visit our old and new friends.

It was planned to discuss current affairs with Setechign, our local coordinator, and an intake with four new blind candidates for our social project. She also met with Sentayu, formerly a member of our social project and now a high school teacher. He will support Setechign in her tasks.

In addition, Desiree and Bas Hollink of the Dutch Beza Foundation started a conversation with the team of Beza Lalibela (Beza is Amhaar for ‘shoulder to shoulder’), a self-help organisation for more than 1000 people with HIV. They discussed the possibility of creating a social workshop, in which both the members of Beza and the supporters of our foundation can work. The aim is to promote self-reliance and to make people with disabilities contribute positively to the local community.

The plans have been tightened up and are currently being approved by the local government.