“We all need to protect one another by washing our hands & keeping the distance”

Articles - Q & A

Today, we talk to Simret Weldekiros, who has been working as a welder for nearly thirty years. When he was young, Simret took lessons and inspiration from his father who ran his own metal workshop business for years. Simret talks about how impressed he is with the metal that he has worked on many inventions that would help the society. Now, when the world is suffering heavily from COVID-19, he has come up with a wash tap that works just by pressing a pedal with the foot to wash one’s hands, thereby reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

  • Would you please share something about yourself with our readers?

The profession I have today came from my father. I feel this profession has allowed me to work with things I think can provide a little help to the community. I grew up learning the different techniques of metal welding at my father’s shop. But I always wanted to do some work that would help in the daily lives of our society. Over the years, I have worked on grinding machines, wood cutters, and plying materials for kids. Besides the works I have done privately, I have also have been doing numerous works with Governmental and Non-governmental institutions.

  • You have exhibited your works at the national festival. What did you benefit from that?

No matter how creative you are, people should know what is being done and how it works and how it can affect their daily lives. Ever since I presented my works, people have been impressed and ask me questions. This is how we can upgrade ourselves and the community. For instance, in the past we didn’t have upgraded swings and electronic trains for kids to play with. I thought about what we could do and I did a little upgrading and came up with the electronic rolling swings with different shapes. This is something that kids enjoy during the national festivals.

In addition, exhibiting your work means you are competing with others and therefore work even harder to achieve greatness. Incidentally, I was able to win with three of my products at the national festival competition. One is the cycling pedal lock I worked on as a cyclist. Pedal locks weren’t available at the time, which was one of the biggest challenges. I wanted to bring up something that would serve as a substitute. I think it was helpful. Also, I was fortunate enough to work with the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students and presented a gift for our President.

  • Let’s talk about the tap that you have invented this time?

I thought about making it when COVID-19 got to Ethiopia. It was just a matter of time for the virus to be here. Instead of opening and closing the tap with your hands, you press a pedal with your foot to get water and soap and wash up. I believe it can be of great help and is way safer with the situation that we are all in. It hasn’t been distributed widely yet, but hopefully people will use it everywhere.

  • Is there something you would like to tell us before we conclude the interview, Simret?

At a time like this, we all need to look out for one another. We all need to do what the Ministry of Health is telling us. This virus has controlled the world and we all need to protect one another by washing our hands, keeping the distance and staying at home for a while.

Again, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in my profession. I am grateful.

One of the award winning innovations at the National Festival.

Kids riding on the electronic swings during the National Festivals