Young, talented and full of ambition


Ephrem Nigatu explains his idea in a self-assured way. He wants to invent a new kind of washing machine, the 25-year-old explains, equipped with an easy-to-repair, dust and heat repellent engine that even works during a power outage and saves water, too. In short: the ideal washing machine for rural Ethiopia.

Ephrem Nigatu is a student in his third year at the Menschen für Menschen Agro-Technical Training College in Harar town. In 2009 a total of 869 young men and women graduated from the ATTC as skilled metal workers, car mechanics or electricians.

"Ethiopia will only develop if young people find an alternative to agricultural farming," says Karlheinz Böhm. However, home education lacks qualified teaching personnel, teaching and training facilities. Machines and instructional material are expensive and the training is often limited to theory. At the ATTC, however, teaching is based on German standards and theory only makes up one third of the training.

During his first year Ephrem had to concentrate on filing metal pieces accurate to a millimetre while at the workbench. In his second year, he had to get acquainted with turning lathes, grinders and plains labelled in German – most of them donations in kind.

Bright outlook

Ephrem does not have to worry about not getting a job later, as the ATTC enjoys an excellent reputation. Governmental and private enterprises such as power stations, cooking oil manufacturers and breweries offer employment to the students on the very day of their graduation. Ephrem would prefer to set up his own business. He will have to tighten his belt for some years while still employed and save every penny to invest in his own business to finally make his dream come true. But will Ethiopia be first and foremost in need of washing machines? The young man asks in return: "Is it luxury to have a washing machine in Europe? No? Then it is not luxury to have a washing machine in Ethiopia."

He wants to make sure that women will no longer have to do their washing in dirty watering places with their backs bent and knuckles bleeding from scrubbing. "I want to do my very best, not for myself but for my country," he says.

This is a remark you often hear when talking to dedicated young people in Ethiopia. Their incentive is to bring forward Ethiopian society. “You people in Europe can lead your own lives because your fathers and grandfathers have cleared the path to prosperity for you. My grandchildren will be as free as you are now. Until then, my generation has to work for our common welfare. This quotation explains the ambition that makes the young students at ATTC master their training. Whoever graduates will secure a better level of living for their families.

Just as her inmates, Trion Gebrehauariat does not allow herself more than two hours of spare time a day, to chat with her girlfriends, to play volleyball and to attend mass four times a week. However, after eight o’clock at night, the twenty-four-year old trainee of the electricity department concentrates on books and texts until midnight.

Jobs at universities

In their third year, the 32 students of the electricity department learn how to steer a computer driven machine. Each student works with a modern flat-screen computer and automation technology modules – working conditions that students at other colleges can only dream of. Tsion is one of the best of her class. In about four months’ time she will graduate. "I am willing to take any job," she says, "however I would prefer to become a teacher". This is not a remote likelihood. Last year one in three graduates became assistant professor at a state college or even state university. Clear evidence for the high standard of training at the ATTC!

CHF

Beneficiary:
Donations account:
Account Number 18180018
Bank Code 701 500 00
BIC SSKMDEMM
IBAN DE64701500000018180018
Donations account:
Account Number 18180018
Bank Code 701 500 00
BIC SSKMDEMM
IBAN DE64701500000018180018
Spendenkonto:
Postkonto 90-700000-4

Stiftung Menschen für Menschen Karlheinz Böhms Äthiopienhilfe, 8002 Zürich

IBAN-Code:
CH97 0900 0000 9070 0000 4
BIC SSKMDEMM
IBAN DE64701500000018180018
attc