The initiative, known as the Collaborative Alliance of Mentors for Overcoming Educational Barriers (CAMEL), was instigated by Ethiopian experts who hail from Jigjiga (Eastern Ethiopia) and have since established their careers and homes in various parts of the Diaspora. Driven by a deep-rooted desire to CONTRIBUTE to their native community, these professionals have embraced the modern reality of education's global reach and the enabling potential of technology in fostering remote work, including mentoring partnerships. This confluence of factors led to the inception of the CAMEL project – an endeavour shaped by their unwavering commitment to transcending geographical boundaries in their efforts to uplift the community they hold dear.
Karamara is an organized membership entity that has been primarily established to extend assistance to individuals in dire need of our support, as well as communities that have been adversely impacted by conflicts and drought.
The convergence of two prominent entities, Camel (a highly professional group) and Karamara (a membership group), has recently culminated in a merger that now operates under the unified banner of Camel (Community Awarness on Mobiliztion, education and Livelihood). This strategic amalgamation was driven by the realization of shared developmental objectives and the recognition of the formidable potential that lies in collaboration. The rebranded Camel stands as a diaspora-driven community-building organization, wholeheartedly devoted to providing unwavering support to the people of the Somali region, with a specific emphasis on the city of Jigjiga. Our foremost mission revolves around harnessing the resources of the diaspora to address the educational and healthcare needs of the broader region and, in particular, the city itself.
Functioning as a non-profit association, Camel relies on the dedication and contributions of passionate volunteers. The impetus behind the formation of this organization stems from a profound desire to alleviate the pressing challenges faced by our community within the greater Jigjiga area. Responding to the internal conflicts that unfolded during 2021-22, an Adhoc committee was established to raise funds for the internally displaced population. Thanks to the remarkable generosity of both Jigjigites and friends of Jigjiga, a substantial sum exceeding USD 5000 was swiftly donated.
Following this, we embarked on another fundraising campaign to aid the drought-affected individuals in the Somali region. Through the concerted efforts of a dedicated committee and the utilization of a social platform, we managed to raise over 500,000 birrs, which were then channeled into the region's government coffers.
These experiences underscored the need for a more expansive network to connect with Jigjigites and friends of Jigjiga across a wider spectrum. As a result, we determined that establishing this website platform would be instrumental in enhancing our outreach and augmenting our impact. This platform stands as a tangible outcome of our steadfast commitment to expanding our organizational endeavors and enhancing our ability to serve the community with greater efficacy.
Project: Drought Intervention
In the year 2022, the empathetic Jigjiga diaspora community rallied together to orchestrate an exceptional donation exceeding USD 10,000. This sincere offering was directed towards mitigating the monumental adversities faced by our fellow brethren in the Somali region, who were contending with the profound repercussions of a devastating drought. The benevolent gesture exhibited by the diaspora has catalyzed a remarkable and optimistic metamorphosis in the standard of living for those profoundly impacted by these trials. The fundraising initiative was masterminded by Karamara FB and facilitated through the San Diego Ethiopian Community portal. Recognizing this noble endeavor, the Somali Regional government has extended their gratitude by presenting an honorary certificate of appreciation for the substantial contribution.
Likewise, during the same year, in 2022, the compassionate Jigjiga diaspora community, in collaboration with supporters of Jigjiga, united their efforts and orchestrated a sincere contribution surpassing USD 5500. This heartfelt donation was directed towards offering assistance to the internally displaced individuals in Ethiopia. The donation process was facilitated through the Ayzon portal, and records of payment receipts have been shared on Karamara.org. This collective outpouring of generosity has assumed a pivotal role in furnishing essential aid and backing to those who have been impacted by displacement, bestowing upon them a sense of hope and respite during these trying circumstances.
Continuing the discussion of contributions, it's worth noting that our organization has made a generous donation of $500 to bolster the efforts of the "Ye Harar Lijoch Without Borders" charity organization.Project: Medical accessories donation
Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, our esteemed team member, Dr. Taddesse Delta, spearheaded an initiative to procure medical equipment intended for donation to the Debre Marcos University Teaching Hospital. Facilitating this endeavor, UPS was engaged, incurring a charge of USD 2500, to transport the items to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. Regrettably, it pains me to convey that the university has yet to take receipt of the donated items, and the embassy has been reticent in revealing the fate of the contribution. We possess indisputable documentation, including payment receipts and delivery notifications from UPS, attesting to the authenticity of the transaction.
Project: Educational Intervention
The concerning decline in the quality of education in Ethiopia prompted our organization to take action by providing off-season tutorials designed to prepare students for their school leaving examinations. For the initial phase of this initiative, we chose Saint Michael Church High School and worked with a group of 75 students as part of a pilot study. Over a span of three months, we consistently delivered tutoring sessions, culminating in the students sitting for their exams during the final week of July.
Project: JigJiga University and Hospitals
Our aspiration is singular: that our intervention will significantly impact the pass rate of these students. The success of this endeavour has propelled us forward, as we remain committed to the continuation of this program. Presently, we are in the process of selecting additional intervention sites. However, the sheer number of underprivileged students in need has presented a challenge, making it difficult for us to expand our programs as extensively as we wish. Nonetheless, our dedication remains resolute, fuelled by the potential to uplift the educational prospects of these deserving students.
Our endeavour to provide professional services to JigJiga University has encountered setbacks. Despite consistent communication and assurances of collaboration from the university, tangible progress has yet to materialize. Undeterred, we are committed to persistently reinitiating the dialogue and pursuing avenues for fruitful cooperation.
In a similar vein, our interactions with hospitals in JigJiga have been more encouraging. We find optimism in the direct professional connections we have established with members of our organization. This paves the way for substantial knowledge transfer in the years ahead. Notably, DebreMarkos University Teaching Hospital has notably benefited from our knowledge transfer program, exemplifying the impact we aspire to achieve.
Project: Rewarding excelling Students
Understanding the paramount significance of fostering student motivation in their educational journey, our pilot program encompasses a spectrum of incentives tailored to commend exceptional academic accomplishments. In line with this objective, students exhibiting remarkable scholastic performance will qualify for modest financial rewards, amounting to a maximum of USD 10 per month, throughout their pursuit of higher education.
In further alignment with our commitment to promoting gender equality and academic excellence, we have devised plans to extend additional incentives to our female students. This includes the bestowment of three (3) tablets to the most promising female scholars, along with two (2) additional tablets earmarked for the victors of literary competitions. These carefully crafted incentives are orchestrated to kindle inspiration and dedication among our students, empowering them to attain their utmost potential and triumph in their educational endeavours.
The selection of awardees will be entrusted to the local committee in JigJiga, ensuring a fair and equitable process. The culminating decisions will be reached during the initial week of September, setting the stage for a new chapter of motivated and empowered learners.
Project: Goggles and Masks
Camel has successfully acquired medical accessories from one of its member and is currently in the phase of arranging their shipment to hospitals in JigJiga. The assortment of accessories includes a significant quantity of goggles and N-95 masks, aimed at bolstering healthcare efforts.