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Blein Center in Ethiopia

Origine del progetto

Progetto Continenti has been present in Hawassa since 2005.

In those years Hawassa was a typical medium-sized African city that soon would show all its complexity and its vocation to grow and expand out of all proportion.

The "wild" urbanization is a phenomenon present in many realities of the south of the world: entire populations leave the rural areas and emigrate hoping to find in the "urban mirage" new horizons and possibilities of survival, but finding then, in fact, other poverty and inequalities all "city".

The local authorities, due to the growing needs at the socio-health and economic level of the city, have asked us to be present and to launch a large-scale project that responds to the different needs and problems linked to the outskirts of the booming city.

After the signing of a framework agreement with the city administration and the allocation of 1.5 hectares of land in the outlying district of Tabor in Hawassa, Progetto Continenti has therefore started and implemented a multi-year and multi-sectoral program, with the aim of improving the living conditions of the communities present in the neighborhood, with particular attention to the most disadvantaged women and to the many resident children.

The Tabor district, in fact, reflects the strong contrast between an undeniable urban economic development and the presence of large areas of extreme poverty.

The Blein Center became operational in 2006. The name "Blein" in Amharic means "iris", the part of the eye that the Ethiopians consider most valuable.

The history of the Blein Center has seen a constant and faithful journey with the local population focused on activities and services that respond to the different needs expressed by the community, also in collaboration with local associations and NGOs, including JeCCDO and Shiny Days.

The Center stands in a rather large piece of land, in the heart of the Tabor district and therefore easily accessible and open to everyone during the day. It consists of a health center, a large tukul, small multi-purpose facilities, a nursery school, areas cultivated with small community gardens and ample recreational spaces for young people.

The Health Center offers, with a very wide daytime opening and at night availability, a clinic with basic health and first aid services, pediatric assistance, a labor and delivery room, family planning and education activities health on topics such as nutrition, hygiene and harmful practices, an analysis laboratory, vaccinations, health tests on site and in various communities and more peripheral realities.

In this way, our services have been able to guarantee the right to health for the entire community of the neighborhood.

With the nursery school, a concrete answer was given to the needs of the mothers of the neighborhood (often head of single families) that are able to work to provide for family needs knowing they could entrust their youngest children to a reality that takes care of them. The structure is spacious and functional and can accommodate up to 80 children from 3 to 6 years full time every day, providing them with a meal, welcomed in a safe and stimulating environment for their growth. The kindergarten teachers use the Montessori educational method.

Finally, by bringing into play its own competence and creativity, the group of young people of the Blein Center is committed to the community by creating, through street theater shows and popular education, educational and training courses on issues of social promotion such as the prevention of AIDS and the removal of sexual and cultural prejudices.

The activities of the Center are managed by local Ethiopian operators.

Description of the project

The Puglia Region has financed the project entitled "Integrated support for vulnerable families at the Blein Center", in Hawassa, Ethiopia, with a contribution of € 24.619,50. The activities started in March 2019 and will last 1 year.

The objective is to help improve the living conditions of families and children in vulnerable conditions in the Tabor district of Hawassa.

This general objective will be achieved by providing quality education, hygiene and health and food services to children and families in the nursery school of the Blein Center and by the creation of a psychosocial support desk where mothers can be taken in charge by the figure of a social worker and, at the same time, informed about the support opportunities made available by the local authorities.

To achieve the first objective it will be necessary to strengthen some resources (teaching materials, games) of the school, increase the productivity of the vegetable garden available for the cultivation of vegetables and fruit to be used for the school canteen. Finally, a socio-cultural aggregation structure will be built in which awareness-raising shows will be held for the families of the neighborhood.

Particular attention will be given to new mothers who give birth inside our clinic, who will be offered a birth kit containing clothes, food, soap, information material on the health and nutrition of the newborn. This will make it possible to encourage women to prefer health facilities that can assist in case of problems instead of home birth.

The Waldensian Evangelical Church (Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches) has approved the request for Otto per Mille  2018 (an Italian law under which Italian taxpayers devolve a compulsory 8 ‰ = 0.8% ('eight per thousand') from their annual income tax return to an organised religion recognised by Italy or, alternatively, to a social assistance scheme run by the Italian State) entitled "Consolidation of the promotion of maternal and child health for disadvantaged Hawassa women" for an amount of € 11,510.00.

The project takes place at the Blein Center and will last 12 months starting from December 2018.

The primary objective is to improve access to maternal and child health services and the health and hygiene conditions of disadvantaged women and vulnerable children in the district of Tabor (Hawassa).

The project activities aim to enhance the services offered by the existing clinical at the Blein Center.

The direct beneficiaries will be the inhabitants of the neighborhood and, thanks to the activation of an outreach service, also the population residing in the peripheral areas of the district. They will be able to take advantage of health education activities, the promotion of proper nutrition and hygiene, as well as vaccination services and prenatal care for pregnant women. Indirectly, this action will have a positive impact on the community and on the families of the beneficiary women who will see an improvement in their health, nutrition and their hygienic-sanitary and economic conditions.


C.E.I. (Italian Episcopal Conference), Liguria Region, Municipality of Salzano, Municipality of Rome, Province of Naples, Abruzzo Region, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Rita Levi Montalcini Foundation, Cassa di Risparmio Verona Foundation.

Furthermore, the project would not have been possible without the many donations from Italian volunteer groups and other private donors who supported it.

Blein Center in Ethiopia


BONIFICO BANCARIO con causale "Centro Blein", IBAN: IT26TØ5Ø18Ø32ØØ ØØØØ 1ØØ32Ø68

BOLLETTINO POSTALE con causale "Centro Blein", CC: 11770021 IBAN IT75P 07601 03200 000011770021