Berhan Lehetsanat - Light for Children, Ethiopia
Berhan Lehetsanat (BL) was founded in 1994 as ‘Handicap National – Action for Children with Disabilities’ and started work by identifying and supporting children with disabilities and their families in Lideta sub city in Addis Ababa. Over the years they have expanded their inclusive projects to Gondar in the north, Dessie, Debreziet (Bishoftu) and in Hawassa in the south, where DDP’s current projects are being implemented.
Our partnership began in 2003 with sponsorship for the training of 5 BL staff in orthotics and rehabilitation therapy at Mobility India’s Bangalore based Research, Rehabilitation and Training Centre which DDP helped to set up. This core trained team provided orthotics services and rehabilitation therapy at BL’s rehabilitation workshop, which we also helped to refurbish and equip. with technical support from Mobility India.
In 2005, we trialled with BL in Addis Ababa new light weight pre-fabricated calliper components, developed through a DFID funded ‘Research and Knowledge’ project with Mobility India. Children and young adults suffering the effects of polio were largely still using very heavy and cumbersome callipers.
In 2010, we were keen to develop and apply our experience of inclusive education gained in India to the Ethiopian context and BL too was ready to tackle the issue of disabled children's exclusion from education.
DDP’s current partnerships with BL include the five year Comic Relief funded ‘Education and Livelihoods for Girls and Women’ (ELGW), the four year ‘From Childhood to Livelihood’ (FCTL), with companion projects setting up a dedicated women and girls' centre in Tulla sub city and raising achievements for boys and girls at Tulla High School.