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Feature: Chinese charity wins acclaim for lifesaving endeavors in Ethiopia


ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Deila Zerga, a mother of six, is feeling relieved courtesy of several rounds of cash donations she received from the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA).


The 50-year-old woman, who lives in a low-income neighborhood in the northern side of Addis Ababa, is one of 30 heads of HIV positive households that received three rounds of cash handouts.


The cash donation of 4,720 Ethiopian birr (about 131 U.S. dollars) given each for three rounds of donations by CFPA, the latest of which happened on Tuesday, are meant to cover the everyday needs of low-income households.


"I bought a full dress with the first round of cash handout. The second round of cash came during the early days of COVID-19 outbreak in Ethiopia, while I was idle and didn't go out of home, so I used it to buy food items," Zerga told Xinhua on Tuesday.


"The third round of cash handout came just as I was short of cash to buy teff (Ethiopian staple crop). I'm happy the money came during this difficult period," Zerga added.


Zerga's 11-year-old daughter Ekram Bashir is also an indirect beneficiary of CFPA cash donations.


"My mother has bought me shoes and clothes with the cash donation. She has done for me everything I asked," said Bashir.


Another beneficiary of the CFPA is Kibu Teku, a shy 17-year-old teenager, who is excited to have received the cash donation just in time for the Ethiopian New Year, which falls on September 11.


"Today, I collected 4,720 Ethiopian birr. I plan to buy clothes in time for the new year and with the rest of the money to cover my household cost," Teku told Xinhua.


Teku further said the cash donation has given her the confidence to continue her studies, with the goal of one day being able to support her 80-year-old grandmother who lives with her.


Teku's parents live in the countryside, partly because limited work opportunities and the high living cost of Addis Ababa has prevented them from having permanent residence there.


"CFPA committed to supporting the most vulnerable sections of Ethiopian society," Teku said.


The CFPA since 2015 has been undertaking activities to help support the most vulnerable sections of Ethiopian society.


They include the Smiling Children School Feeding Program, the Panda Pack Project, Water Cellar Project, School Water Purification Project, and Women Economic Empowerment Program in Ethiopia.


Established in 1989 and having commenced its support at international level since 2004, the CFPA has carried out aid projects in more than a dozen countries.


Speaking to Xinhua, Daniel Worku, Project Manager at CFPA, said the cash donation program to HIV positive households is a continuation of other pre-existing programs including a school feeding project being done in various parts of Ethiopia.



"Today we're here for the cash support program for HIV positive beneficiary students. We call it HIV positive beneficiary students because we support kids living with HIV virus," Worku said.


"In this project we give priority to those students who have HIV in their blood and also parents living in the same household who are HIV positive," Worku added.


Worku said with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing schools to be shut down, the cash donation to low income households serves as a kind of food security to households with children.


"The main aim of this support is to help students who were part of the school feeding project but now due to COVID-19 lockdown can't access this program," he added.


"We believe that the kids and parents or guardians can buy different kind of food items and they can feed themselves at home with these cash donations," said Worku.


Worku is keen to emphasize CFPA's commitment to help Ethiopia's most vulnerable even in the midst of social and economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19.


"All nations all over the world are affected by this pandemic and we're trying to do our best to support elementary schools located in Addis Ababa and neighboring Oromia regional state," Worku said.


"We are doing this with the special support of regional education bureaus and we're trying to upgrade and improve our support to elementary schools in Ethiopia," Worku said.