A Humble start….and ongoing developments.
The idea was initiated in London on the 7th August 2018 during an unexpected coincidental meeting of Ato Yosias, Dr. Belay & Dr. Merid, when they reflected on the need for more supportive community networking. The little chat they had then subsequently paved the way for the formation of Ethiopians for Ethiopians (E4E) group. At the next planned meeting, they were joined by Eng. Wondimu. These four further discussed the need for the formation of an all-inclusive & politically neutral group. There was also the need to clarify the uniqueness of the objectives of this group, and have an understanding of the level of commitment needed to ensure the continuity of services. Networking and capacity building were seen as the next areas of priority.
Other interested community members were invited to the group, and monthly working group meetings were set-up to take place at the Advent Centre near Edgware Road. The working group worked on the mission statements and naming of the group. It also elected its chairperson ( Dr. Tsehay) and secretary (Eng. Sileshi).
E4E started its first public engagement through a mental health awareness at the time when mental illness posed a great challenge in the lives of many in the UK, and within the Ethiopian Community with tragic losses of life. There was an obvious need to empower the community to avert such needless loss of human lives.
E4E mobilized Ethiopian consultant Psychiatrists (Dr. Daniel, Dr. Yohannes, & Dr. Henock) and mental health researchers ( Eng Wondimu), to conduct a one-day workshop on Mental health. This very first outreach mental health workshop was held at the Ethiopian Embassy on the 7th of April 2019, and was well attended by members of the Ethiopian community.
The second public engagement on mental health awareness and support was held at the Ethiopian Community in Britain (ECB) in Finchley on the 28th of September 2019. The emphasis at this workshop was more on specific and common mental health problems including -Anxiety, Neurosis, Depression, and Substance Use and Abuse.
Both events were well attended and appreciated by the wider community members. There is a need for ongoing mental health awareness and establishing a voluntary community-based support mechanism.
There is also an obvious need for a voluntary mental health support group within our community. This should include young members of the community.
The pandemics of COVID19 brought another greater threat to public health, and the need to support the community through such challenging times. E4E UK planned and conducted a series of successful virtual campaign broadcasts in collaboration with members of the Ethiopian Medical Doctors Association in the UK (EMDAUK), and a community-based media organization (ARADA TV).
E4E endeavours to go from strength to strength by mobilizing the talents, professions and human resources within the community, and galvanizing all positive energies towards a better existence. It also hopes to enable the Ethiopian diaspora to have a greater impact on the wider cosmopolitan communities in the UK.