Buraka Memorial Foundation
Buraka, a resident of Arya Jawi (located about ten kilometers away from Nekemte), lived roughly from 1830-1900. He was the only child of Gurmu with neither brothers nor sisters. The tall and handsome farmer led a decent living standard although he couldn’t boast of an abundant material wealth. As a community leader and well-known horse man, his distinguished patriotic services were officially recognized by the then governor of Wollega, Dejazmatch Bakare Kumsa. In recognition of his public services, the governor decided to adopt one of his sons following a long negotiation through high level officials. The governor finally sent his representatives to select one of the promising boys and bring him over to his residence. Buraka who had high self-esteem would not accept this arrangement saying, “My children are not puppies” to be picked for adoption. He demanded the personal presence of the governor (adopter) if the contract of adoption was to be effected. Such was the audacity of Buraka who cared less for official position, abundance of material wealth and frowned upon ingratiation.
Surprised by Buraka’s self-respect and confidence, the governor visited Arya Jawi where Buraka gave him and his large entourage a big banquet at his residence. From among several sons, Gemeda Buraka who later became Fitawrari Gemeda was officially adopted by Dejazmach Bakare. Fitawrari Gemeda had served Wollega governorate general with distinction and dedication.
Buraka’s descendants who, today number in thousands, have decided to found Buraka Foundation in memory of Buraka of Arya Jawi whose exemplary and distinguished services were recognized far and wide.
The general objective of the foundation is to improve the general living conditions of the people of Arya Jawi community and its environs through awareness raising and resources mobilization. Arya Jawi community is presently languishing in deep socio-economic problems. The community is characterized by abject poverty, unprecedented environmental degradation, plummeting agricultural production, lack of safe water, inaccessibility to the main road, and overall neglect. It is obvious that these developmental problems cannot be addressed by a simultaneous action. The needs must be prioritized and key components identified. For overall development program, integrated interventions will include cultural/anthropological studies, preservation of culture, health education, environmental rehabilitation, road construction, safe water supply, agricultural extension services, capacity building activities, etc. The above program components reflect general needs to be addressed in phases as resources permit. The immediate need is awareness raising through social mobilization and capacity building followed by prioritized actions. Recommended strategy is self-help and self-reliance to reduce dependency syndrome.
As an entry point, Buraka Foundation, has decided to launch education component to reach selected children. 1.Education Component
Education is key to development. For years, poverty has limited the access of the community’s children to education. Despite the relative proximity of Arya Jawi, to Nekemte town, the rugged terrain of the area has made the community “near” but “remote” at the same time. The combined impact of poverty and transportation problems militated against children’s education. Limited efforts were made to open a primary school in the area but due to limitations of resources, it was not possible to provide access to quality education. Worse still, those who had completed certain grade levels could not continue their education in Nekemte due to lack of financial support.
In view of the above complex problems, Buraka Memorial Foundation aims at providing support (sponsorships) to promising but needy boys and girls so as to enable them to pursue their education at both elementary and secondary levels. The support package will be determined at the field level taking into account the local context. At any given time, 10-20 students will be supported; however, this figure is subject to revision in light of fund availability.
2. Project Implementation Strategy
2.1Identification and Recruitment of Buraka Descendants The success of the education project will heavily depend on the implementation mechanism that will be put in place. The most important exercise is identifying, convincing, and getting the unswerving commitment of Buraka descendants to the set goal. We find Buraka descendants spread out far and wide with little or no communication network between them. One of the bye-products of the Buraka Foundation will be to revive and maintain communication between the descendants with possibilities of dialogue on a good cause based on a common lineage as Buraka remains the common father of all. Arya Jawi shall remain the ancestral focal point for remembrance and visited at any time. It would be incumbent on the descendants to contribute to the overall development of the Arya Jawi community through their voluntary and sacrificial giving. In doing so, Buraka descendants will start upholding a common goal which will eventually lead to the appreciation of blood relationships and mutual support. Beyond a shadow of doubt, a hero of Buraka’s stature definitely deserves a Foundation.
2.2 Management Structures
The structures proposed below are subject to revision in response to alternative approaches or suggestions. Three bodies have been proposed.
2.2.1 Executive Committee in Diaspora
This consists of members who co-ordinate activities on behalf of Arya Jawi.
Duties and Responsibilities
·Facilitate election of executive members ·Carry out advocacy activities on behalf of Arya Jawi ·Collect annual contributions/donations and transfer them to Ethiopia. ·Receive feed-back from members and take appropriate actions ·Explore possibilities of annual/bi-annual meetings of general membership or use modern communication technologies to conduct businesses ·Run “Arya Jawi: News and Views” Newsletter ·Sensitize and motivate the general membership to be up to date in their annual contributions ·Review reports on Arya Jawi and take appropriate actions through Addis Ababa Committee. ·Carry out related activities that will be in the best interest of Arya Jawi
2.2.2 Addis Ababa Executive Committee
This consists of members who co-ordinate activities on behalf of Arya jawi.
Duties and Responsibilities
·Facilitate election of executive committee members ·Carry out advocacy activities on behalf of Arya Jawi ·Collect annual contributions/donations and transfer them to Nekemte ·Receive feed-back from members and take appropriate actions ·Encourage the general membership to visit Ayra Jawi if and where possible ·Explore possibilities of annual/bi-annual meetings of general membership or use modern communication technologies to conduct businesses ·Run “Arya Jawi: News and Views” Newsletter ·Review reports on Arya Jawi and take appropriate actions through Addis Ababa Committee ·Sensitize and motivate the general membership to be up to date in their annual contributions ·Carry out related activities that will be in the best interest of Arya Jawi
2.2.3 Nekemte Executive Committee
This consists of members who execute and monitor day-to-day activities at the grass- roots level in collaboration with the church elders at Arya Jawi and the Director of Arya Jawi School.
Duties and Responsibilities
·Facilitate election of executive committee members ·Work Closely with parents/guardians of beneficiary children ·Develop detailed child selection criteria ·Develop code of conduct for beneficiaries to ensure that the sponsored children get maximum benefit out of the sponsorship program. The code of conduct shall cover conditions under which a beneficiary may forfeit the sponsorship. ·Ensure that there will be transparency and accountability in the management of funds ·Prepare and submit periodic financial and performance reports to be reviewed and used by Addis Ababa and Diaspora committees. Accounts shall be audited every year and reported to appropriate bodies. ·Keep good records on finances and beneficiary children ·Submit any information that may be requested to Addis Ababa Committee ·Receive, host and brief visitors on the sponsorship program ·Create conducive conditions for the sponsored children in secondary schools in particular to play leadership roles in the community ·Conduct literacy classes for adults with focus on women groups ·Organize discussion forums on subjects such as child rearing practices, Buraka Memorial Foundation, health education, etc for the community members. ·Carry out related activities that will promote the best interest of Arya Jawi community
The education program will be financed by the contributions of members at Diaspora and Addis Ababa level. The Nekemte committee members have been exempted on account of their services in kind. The members of the Diaspora Committee are expected to contribute voluntarily USD 20 per month (USD 240) a year. Donations are also highly appreciated. Modalities of collection of funds and transfer will be worked out by the Executive Committee.
The members of the Addis Ababa committee will contribute Birr 20 per month (Birr 240) a year. Modalities of collection of funds and transfer will be worked out by the committee.
4. Fund Management
Monies collected and transferred to Nekemte will be deposited in a designated bank account and operated by two individuals who are members of the Nekemte Committee. Use of checks is highly encouraged. Proper financial records shall be kept for annual audit which is mandatory. Nekemte committee shall prepare guidelines in financial management with the assistance of Addis Ababa Committee.
The names of participants (descendants) at different levels will be circulated at a later date. Interested individuals and well-meaning organizations are always welcome to support the Foundation. During the take off stage, election of office –bearers may be waived in favor of individuals who volunteer to spearhead the activities of the Foundation.