March 2020: Ethiopia / Addis Ababa: renovation of VDI center

Overdue renovation of our VDI center for street people in Addis Ababa

VDI is an association of some Catholic lay people in Ethiopia. They voluntarily serve the poorest, the old women and men, in Addis Ababa. The center is in the city, actually a very expensive place. Street people meet there in large numbers every day. Otherwise they spend their time in extreme poverty and loneliness in the corners of this metropolis.

The dilapidated area is rented to VDI by the Catholic Archdiocese. This creates additional problems for Terfa Dinka, the founder and director of this meeting place. He greets each guest personally, provides warm meals (injera) and – as far as possible – a bed. Everyone can wash themselves, use the toilets and if someone is sick, they can count on medical help. In an emergency, an admission to the hospital of the sisters of Mother Teresa exists.

On average, 50 to 70 people meet Terfa every day. Neither questions about denomination, origin or age are asked. People share with each other. They all have a similar fate: loneliness and life on the street.

The makeshift bedroom in Addis for two dozen people needs urgent renovation. Terfa knows about the great demand from people with very special ailments. However, he can only remedy this to a very limited extent.

Terfa also cares for people in other areas of Ethiopia, e.g. B. Durame, where Abel Yonas lives. He is currently in Germany (Bielefeld), where he is studying sociology. Ten years ago, Abel Yona’s PBF drew attention to his friend Terfa. Since then we have been supporting him regularly (currently CHF 2000 per month). The VDI “program” records around 300 people in need in various regions in southern Ethiopia.

PBF organizes small transports with travelers from Switzerland. The suitcases collected here include used warm clothes, shoes, knitted woolen clothes of all kinds and in almost every size.

For PBF, this meeting place in Addis Ababa is becoming an increasingly high priority and Terfa Dinka finds it a great role model for genuine Christian action. Despite his advanced age, he devotes time and energy supported by his wife and some volunteers. According to his own statement, he finds strength, courage and confidence in his faith and in prayer.

The center is currently being renovated with the help of PBF. Contacts with the local church and the cardinal of Ethiopia showed that the repairs can be started. With this permission, we all hope that the center can remain in its current, very central location for a long time.

Please note:

2018: Teletop Die Peter Bachmann Stiftung in Äthiopien,
Teil 5: „Eine Herberge für Obdachlose“