February 2024: Ethiopia / Addis Ababa: Challenges at the VDI retirement cente

Challenges at the VDI retirement center in Addis Ababa

Today, February 12, 2024, I visited the VDI retirement center VDI in Addis Ababa. VDI was founded by Terfa Dinka many years ago in the center of the metropolis Addis Ababa for people who live on the streets. It was often written about on the website, and some personal visits from Switzerland are vividly remembered by the homeless people there. They survive on the streets and have been coming to the center every day for years. Because of their susceptibility to illness and the risks of street life, the VDI also offers some accommodation.

Terfa, his deputy Teshome and the team on site are doing their best to protect these elderly people. Every day they provide meals and strive for health and safety. Despite extensive renovation work in recent years, it is difficult to maintain the center, especially the sanitary facilities. There are usually a few dozen people using the showers and toilets every day. The center is therefore in constant renovation. The team faces enormous challenges every day. This doesn’t just apply to the many meals that PBF has been involved in regularly for more than a decade.

During my visit this Monday, I discovered that one of the main problems is inadequate hygiene. Despite great efforts to ensure as much cleanliness as possible and the necessary maintenance, the facilities are seriously affected by heavy use and also by the weather. This is what these pictures show. The entrance gate and the doors to the dining room are also damaged by age and weather and require replacement.

But the current enormous inflation in the country makes the situation in the VDI even more difficult to obtain the necessary materials and resources. Terfa and Teshome are confidently fighting the rising costs of food, sanitation and other essentials. They are constantly looking for ways to overcome these financial bottlenecks and, out of a deep religious conviction, try to continue to offer these people appropriate, humane support.

PBF plans to remedy the situation immediately: showers will be replaced – once again – as will the toilets and the door to the dining room. There is still a lot to do! See also previous reports:


Getachew Sale

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