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Half a century of working to lift the stigma of disability in Ethiopia

Daniel Brown/RFI
Text by: Daniel Brown
14 min

As many as nine million Ethiopians have disabilities - about 10 per cent of the  population. Yet, the population often misunderstands the causes of physical disability and some Ethiopians believe it is a curse from God. One NGO working to change attitudes is celebrating its 50th anniversary.


Cheshire Services is celebrating 50 years in Ethiopia this year, a remarkable feat given the upheavals the country has known in that period.

It is Ethiopia’s oldest international NGO

It has set up rehabilitation centres and services nationwide, as well as an ambitious outreach programme.

Special report in Ethiopia

These help thousands of people, mainly young people who have contracted polio or noma, a disease that disfigures faces.

Every November the 148-strong staff organise a sponsored walk to raise precious funds for their work.

The 38th walk from their flagship venue, the Menagesha Rehabilitation Centre, is situated in the picturesque mountains outside of the capital Addis Ababa. It has 90 beds to host up to 70 residential children for a maximum period of six months.

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