Chinese firms offer donations to needy locals as Ethiopian New Year approaches

(Xinhua) 13:58, September 09, 2023

ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Aster Mamo, a mother of four, is one of the 2,796 poor and vulnerable community members who have received a variety of handouts in the Eastern Industrial Zone (EIZ) in Dukem town, about 37 kilometers east of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

"I am really grateful for those who made this donation possible," Mamo said, noting that the donation she received from the Eastern Industrial Zone Investors' Association on Thursday will enable her to celebrate the upcoming Ethiopian New Year.

The donation came as Ethiopians are preparing to celebrate their New Year, which is to fall on Sept. 12 this year, by wearing traditional attire, slaughtering animals, making traditional drinks and delicacies, and performing dances and music.

Lu Qixin, deputy director of the Management Committee of the EIZ, which hosts largely Chinese enterprises, said the New Year donation is part of the investors' commitment to fulfilling their social responsibilities and improving the life standards of residents living around the industrial zone.

According to Lu, the EIZ, along with the enterprises, has been providing water and electricity for the local community for free, apart from granting plots of land to nearby farmers to help them grow crops.

"The EIZ and its enterprises consider the local community as family members. We should care and help them improve their living standards. It is our responsibility to promote the prosperity of the local community," Lu said.

The beneficiaries include 300 elderly people, 1,500 pupils, and 996 orphans.

The elderly people received 25 kilograms of flour which is used for making Injera, a staple food in Ethiopia, cooking oil, spaghetti, blankets, T-shirts, trousers, and sports shoes, among others. The 1,500 pupils, who came from low-income families, received stationery for the new academic year, while the orphans received 13 kilograms of wheat flour and 10 kilograms of rice, among other basic commodities.

The much-needed support brought smiles to the faces of those in need.

Abdu Mulatu, a father of seven and one of the beneficiaries, spoke of the significance of the donation, which came amid a shortage of food products and their soaring prices.

"Now my food requirements for the holiday are fulfilled, and I will be having a wonderful New Year celebration thanks to the donation," Mulatu said.

The EIZ has been in operation since 2007 in Dukem town in the Oromia region. Currently, 149 enterprises operate in the zone in different sectors, including the construction, textile and garment, automobile assembly, metal processing, and food industry.

Awel Hassen, administrator of Dukem, told Xinhua that about 127 Chinese companies are engaged in the town, which is referred to as a hub for Chinese-run industries in the East African nation.

According to the administrator, the Chinese-run enterprises have created job opportunities for more than 25,000 needy Ethiopians and played a significant role in import substitutions.

Appreciating the voluntary activities of the enterprises in the EIZ, Hassen said Chinese companies have proved to be reliable partners to Ethiopia in its move toward industrialization.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Sheng Chuyi)


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