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Caring For Families Of Fallen Heroes: A National Priority

Eritreans have paid huge sacrifices for the common cause of liberating and safeguarding Eritrea. This commonality of giving their lives for the noble cause enables them to cooperate in every aspect of their day-to-day activities. Supporting families of martyrs both financially and morally have been notable characteristics of the government and people of Eritrea.

The Eritrean government has issued Martyrs’ Survivors Benefit Proclamation No. 137/2003 to financially assist the families of fallen heroes with regular benefits amounting to Nakfa 500 per month. Since 2004, above three million Nakfa has been dispensed annually which constitutes a total of over two billion Nakfa over the past six years. Besides the government’s monthly benefit scheme, individual Eritreans inside the country and abroad have also been making due contribution in improving the living standards of families of fallen heroes.

The financial assistance program initiated by Eritreans abroad had been initially planned to go on for a period of two years. With this regard Mrs. Asmert Abraha, Director of Communal services at the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare says although there have been goodwill initiatives at individual levels to continue lifetime assistance, the government has been considering rehabilitation programs in a way that brings about a lasting solution of making them self-sufficient citizens.

Every Eritrean has been contributing his/her share in different kind in the patriotic act of supporting martyrs families.  Owing to the initiatives taken by nationals inside the country and abroad, the life style of the martyrs’ families has been positively changed.

Community based rehabilitation program has been the major support that has been showing good advancement. At this preliminary stage, the program has started in the Central Region, following which the program is bearing fruitful outcome in Tessenei, Gash-Barka Region.  According to Mrs. Asmeret 300 families have become beneficiaries of community based rehabilitation in the region. Some of them have been rehabilitated through livestock breading. Others who are physically capable to join small-scale business ventures have been materially supported. “The program is showing encouraging outcomes and needs to be extensively introduced throughout the country,” she said.

Apart from the above-mentioned endeavors, donations to the Martyrs trust fund has been evermore growing.Eritreans who have been supporting the families of martyrs in different forms, have developed intimate ties with the respective families they have been assisting. Irrespective of geographic barriers, Eritreans abroad want to visit the families of the fallen heroes even if they reside in distant rural areas so as to establish strong acquaintances. Apart from the material support, the ties created among them have been the leading factor in providing the families with moral support. They feel as though they are members of the extended families and develop sense of empathy, affinity and strong connection among each other.

Children of martyrs have also participated in different vocational training programs. This in turn is expected to enable them to become dynamic, competent, and self-supporting citizens. In this respect, different institutions have been collaborating to give diversified training programs. According to reports from the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, most of the trainees have been deployed in different work places. Every possible measure has been taken to change the lives of the children of the fallen heroes for the better.

The cooperation among the people is in fact an enviable culture that is quite hard to find in any other part of the country. The families of martyrs have been assisted through communal participations that include ploughing their farmlands, harvesting agricultural yields, and building and repairing their houses and the like different forms of assistance.Answering whether there have been programs aimed at bringing a lasting solution to the financial problems of the families of martyrs Mrs. Asmeret said that studies has been underway to closely observe the fundamental shortcomings of the families under the benefit scheme and therefore to assist them accordingly.

Although financial support plays a crucial role in solving the economic problems of the families of the fallen heroes, above all honoring martyrs trust and remembering their sacrifice in every step of our daily activity is the best of all that makes the families of martyrs feel honored..

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