Aclem donates 3000 CHF to help Tesfaw Girmay Ayalew launch his Tuktuk business since he was not able to gather enough funds from his poultry business.
He is a 30 year old ambitious man who have touched our hearts. His life story is beautiful:
“My name is Tesfaw Girmay Ayalew, I was born in 1990, in a small village called Densa 8 km south of Lalibela, Ethiopia, I have two brothers and 2 sisters I am the 4th child for my family, by profession my father is a priest and farmer we used to earn most of our living expenses from agriculture by farming different crops, my mother was a housewife, doing all the housework which was a tough job. My mother died when I was 9 years old. I was just started school, from the place I was born, I studied for six consecutive years, then I was supposed to leave the school because the highest level in school was grade six and I was already in the highest, In order to continue my education it was a must to go to Lalibela for higher education. For a year and half I used to walk a 16 km round trip from my birth place to lalibela. After I promoted high school I decided to live in Lalibela and consult one of my classmate, if he could find me half time job, fortunately his mother used sell local birr, next morning he told me that they can offer me food and shelter for two months If I agree to help them before and after school I agreed by the offer and stayed with them for a month and half after that my friends mother found a job for me in a hotel and she advised me to switch my school from regular to extension (night) section, I accepted her advice.
My job in the hotel was, cleaning the hotel ground every morning in my spare time started working as shoeshine (cleaning shoes). In April 2006, it was a rainy day and I was completely wet while I was doing my regular job and as I was walking in the compound of the hotel, I saw two young tourist from Germany. We start to talk and one of the young man went to the room and brought back a sweater, he then hand it to me as gift. I was overwhelmed! Soon after, I said good bye and went to school. When I came back from school we met again and start our conversation again. Finally we exchanged addresses and the following day they left to Addis Ababa. Back during that time there was no internet and bank in Lalibela and the closest town with a bank and internet access was Woldia, 180 km away. We hadn’t kept in touch for a couple of months but onces I went to the post office to pay a bill, I saw my name listed on a paper, after hesitating I asked the officer if there was something for me. As I didn’t have my ID with me, I went back to school to get it and return to be nicely surprised by a letter from one of the German tourists. We started exchanging via post card until the internet and banks were introduced in Lalibela. He then started supporting me financially on a monthly basis for my schooling……. After a year and half I took the national exam and got good result, then I decided to go to college in Addis Ababa in order to join a Tourism College. I decided to study Tour Guiding and Tour operator which took three full years to get my vocational degree. Right after graduation I found a job in a tour operator company as Junior tour programmer. I worked there for half a year then I terminated my working agreement to return Lalibela. I took an entrance exam to be a guide in Lalibela, joined St. Lalibela Tourist Guide Association, and in 2016, I hosted Rosario’s family and since then we became family.
In mid-2017, I took another exam to be a tour leader and tour organiser throughout the country. Since 2017, I am a tour leader and tour organizer throughout Ethiopia.
Late 2019 when the COVID-19 hit us, we all thought it was manageable like any other pandemic, none of us imagined it would affect the world so badly. We loss lots of life from different parts of the world. Gradually it became panicking and in the middle of March I was informed the cancellation of the 2020 bookings. I tried to search for a job at least as a driver, but couldn’t find anything. In May, a colleague and myself decided to submit a proposal to the local government to give us a loan but it was not as easy as we originally thought it would. We had a meeting with the local tourism office and they said if we would be able to submit a guarantee letter from a bank which shows half of the amount mentioned in the proposal, 50% would be granted with a low interest rate from the government. So I then requested for any possible financial support from my friends and families including Laura and Rosario. They were quick enough to support me with what they could but it wasn’t easy to wire the money to here.
At the beginning of this week I received 3000 euros, from ACLEM FOUNDATION which was a huge amount of money, unfortunately my personal project proposal was in poultry which inquires a huge amount, as a plan B I am thinking to buy a shared Bajaj (Tuktuk) with a friend which is very common in Asia and of course it became common in Ethiopia as well. Bajaj has three wheels, 200-250 horsepower and seats for 3-5 people including a driver. The bajajs are assembled here in Ethiopia, and the maintenance and fuel cost is relatively okay.
FYI, the school system in Ethiopia is based on grades not based on age so when I started school I was the youngest in the class and oldest was 24 years old because back during that time the government was promoting the value of education and making campaigns in the area. The education system was divided mainly into two sections, morning section and afternoon, but a towns with electricity had three sections, morning, afternoon and extension or night section.”