By Tsehaye Alema & Ziade Hailu
With the arrival of social networks the Irob labha (both male and female) are participating on issues related to the society more than ever. It feels good to be part of something and the idea of belonging to a community is an innate need that has to be met. As much as we are concerned with dying coral reefs, melting arctic ice and problems in Syria and Libya (the people want to bring down the regime or in Arabic- Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an-nizam), we are worried about the less than acceptable level of educational achievements of Irob kids or even worse, the failure of talented once due to lack of financial support.
The conversations are fitting for we know no community that experienced all the misfortunes of existential threat than ‘little Tibet’. After having followed sometimes nasty, sometimes civilized, face book conversations (we are card carrying face book cadre) we have come to conclusion that everybody wants to have his/her voice and that is the beauty of social networks. Unlike some people who equate differences of opinion as enmity and a valid reason to declare war, (blame history-stupid) we beg to differ as such debates are creative. Isn’t oneness uninteresting? It is boring and we don’t want to go there.
It is undeniable that face book groups suffer from ‘tirnafe’ (organizational) problem as many such cyber based advocacy groups experience. Uncoordinated, idealistic initiatives are not in short supply in Goron land. Perhaps Irob land is a reflection of Goron land or vice versa. The good thing about the virtual land is that there is no specific control and monopoly of truth and knowledge. Denied in the real world, the habitants of Gorn land believe in existence of multiple realties. At least in Goron land truth is relative and there are no holy cows. People can question everything and conventional wisdom is put upside down if needed. We find more naturalists than positivists on face book groups. Long live face book dissent, of course until it becomes destructive and irrelevant. However, dissent is not unique to this generation.
In a nutshell, we have many types of members on those sites: those who try to bring novel ideas and strive hard towards making it real, those who bring new ideas but insist their names are written on gold plated statutes, and others who try to participate but withdraw with slightest disapproval. And yet there are other few ‘labha kinoka’ whose job is just opposing for the sake of opposing. We would prefer who do something and make error of judgment than those who judge. The good news is that ‘labha kinoka’ are few.
All types of labha have come with all types of initiatives (boundary to abductees to poverty alleviation) to solve community challenges with good intentions at heart. However, they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Lately, though there seem to be convergence towards some simple, measurable, achievable objectives: setting up educational endowment fund. Setting up Education Fund can be a way to give back to our community. (You probably heard more than often repeated -sayimar yastemaren hizb-). Besides, there is a big joy in giving. “Giving takes you out of yourself. You expand beyond your limitations” so says Dipack Chipra wellness guru.
May God bless search engines (death and Google are great levelers) we were trying to look into how to setup education fund. Here is what we got and thought interesting for our work. First, it is imperative to decide on the objective of the fund. In our case we propose privately operated, nonprofit organizations established to assist Irob schools and students help earn the education they want and deserve. Second, establishing the criteria for the award (who gets the award, how do they get, for how long), third, name the fund (Irob Educaiton fund?-IEF), fourth, nominate advisory board and fifth, meet the legal requirements by Charities and societies (CSO) law and get registered and raise funds for the purpose. The fund administrators often implement the scholarship administration process and procedures. IEF Administration includes such tasks as: promotion, the application process, selection and award process, student monitoring and fiscal reporting requirements.
Some ‘labha labha’ deserve honorary mention for they are toiling to make this idea come true and it is our duty to tell our dear readers that we are not trying to hijack people’s ideas and we are not by any means the architects of this initiative. Some names then: well the two lions of Aiga Onna Adex Weldegiorgis from the Australia and Onna Daniel Tesfay from land ‘of scenic splendor’ who live ‘seven oceans apart’ but the Irob cause is right in the middle of their gentle hearts; Huluf Weldesilasie his inner memo was outstanding and included some original ideas on how to set up the fund; Yohnnes Tesfay, the most energetic prominent social activist on Irob blogosphere; this website, irrob.org and its administrator, and hundreds of others who are willing to contribute and wish the initiative success. This time it seems our fear that many associations that are formed are either a complete failure or waste of time will have to be revised.
This ‘little Tibet’ - a reference to Irob by Paul Henze- needs our support and we have moral responsibility to help. To borrow a line from Eritrean Self help music - eza menbere timurat, eza deki hade libi- deserves support and we owe it to the people. By the way, a little distraction is warranted here. Do you follow Eritrean music these days? It repeats a continuous narrative that bad days always precede good days and those days are coming, with only one problem that they are nowhere to be seen. Never mind, it is just a music replacing the role of a counselor and ‘abat nefse’ and it serves well when you have a real bad dictator. However, Abrham Afeworki albums may not sell well in Irob land. If we don’t act now we shall not sell hope and it is a distressed market. An opportunity of saving a generation is upon us. we act or we don’t.