June 2022: Ethiopia / Lalibela: New Initiative in Lalibela

After the war: New Initiative in Lalibela – a mill for the poorest

During the war between the Federal government and the Tigray region, most infrastructures such as electricity, water and health services were completely destroyed. Even after the end of the war a few months ago, these basic services are still not available in sufficient quantities to provide for the population.

Even though Lalibela is now free, the power cut will continue for a while as the power plant in Alamata (240 kilometres from Lalibela) is still controlled by the Tigray fighters.

The people in Lalibela have difficulty preparing their normal food of teff, wheat, maize and barley. Even those with hardly any shoes have to walk 70 kilometres or more to reach the few diesel posho mills for their grain.

Some private posho mill owners have converted their electric mills to diesel power, but it is still not enough. Oil prices have gone up, as has the cost of living across the country.

Having recognised this major problem, the PBF initiated its own mill project to supply people at a reasonable price to save the already poor and suffering population from long journeys to the mills and exploitation by traders. You can imagine what it means for our elderly, sick and disabled to walk a long distance just to have a kilo of grain milled. They do not have the opportunity to buy in bulk, as their lives depend on the little they receive from the welfare and goodwill of their neighbours.

The project was realised under the responsibility of Sisay Amare, who wants to run the mill and make it available to the public at a modest price, apart from the support we give to the beneficiaries every month. Through the mediation of Messay and Sisay, the local municipality offered a free plot of land in a central location near Amanuel Village, which was built a few years ago for homeless families. The mill started operating a week ago and serves an average of 100 people a day with a 20 per cent reduction in price.

This project is just one of the many initiatives PBF is implementing in Lalibela to alleviate the widespread post-war suffering caused by the lack of clean water, health services, electricity and food.

Sisay and Messay, PBF Trustees in Lalibela

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