The Ethiopian National Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy (ENAPAL) is one of the most impressive organizations of its kind. With 70 branches around the country and some 20,000 fee-paying members, it works to eliminate discrimination and exclusion and enable persons affected by leprosy to participate fully in society.
En route to Comoros, I made a stopover in Addis Ababa, where ENAPAL’s managing director Tesfaye Tadesse (photo) briefed me on its recent activities. These include an income-generation project involving the production of cooking stoves and fire guards, collaborating with schools to engage pupils in early case detection, and creating employment opportunities for children of persons affected by leprosy.
The most exciting news was that ENAPAL has received a 1,500-square-meter plot of land from the government on which to build a new headquarters. The planned four-storey building, which will serve as ENAPAL’s center of operations, will include office space, accommodation and training facilities. ENAPAL intends to rent out the ground floor to commercial enterprises for income-generating purposes as it looks to find a path to sustainability and self-reliance. Work on the foundations was due to start soon after my visit.
“The new office will help us reach all over the country and beyond—we want to work without boundaries and help those in neighboring countries, too,” said former ENAPAL chairwoman, Birke Nigatu. “We will be able to reach many people through this building.”