International Day of Persons with Disabilities Celebrated at Jimma University

Jimma University in collaboration with the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD) celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) at the main campus on 16 December 2022.
At the event, two members of the National Union of University Students in Finland (Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto – SYL) participated — Ms. Sinituuli Suominen, Development Policy Advisor, SYL and Mr. Likka Sorvali, SYL board member. SYL funds the EMPOWER project that’s being implemented by ECDD at three universities in Ethiopia, one being Jimma University.
Mr. Jaffer Lola, Vice Director of the Special Support Center of Jimma University, welcomed all the attendees for their participation. The event was then officially opened by Dr. Tadese Habtamu, Academic Affairs Vice President of Jimma University. In his speech, Dr. Tadese stressed the importance of removing all barriers that hinder the inclusion of students with disabilities.
Dr. Getahun Semone, executive Director of ECDD, explained the program priorities of ECDD and shared his personal experience to the participants. Mr. Yohannes Tekly, the Inclusive Education project coordinator from ECDD, also gave a speech on how the EMPOWER project has been proceeding the last four years and the changes he has observed. Ms. Sinituuli Suominen, Development Policy Advisor from SYL, also delivered a brief speech.
Leaders of Association for Persons with Disabilities at Jimma zone and Jimma town shared their valuable experience on behalf of students with disabilities. One special highlight of the event was when students with disabilities performed music to the admiration of the audience.
The event was attended by more than 200 participants including students with disabilities, leaders of Jimma University student union, non-disabled students, university officials, leaders of Association for Persons with Disabilities, and some persons with disabilities from the community.
The SYL members and ECDD team visited the Special Needs Support Center, Library for Blind Students, and other modified service areas for students with disabilities in Jimma University. They also held discussions with the Center’s Vice Director, university leaders, and students with disabilities.