Assisting families of the fallen heroes and rehabilitating war disabled veterans through various schemes have been some of Eritrea’s priorities aimed at redeeming the scourge of war. Eritrean nationals inside the country and abroad support efforts of the Government by making financial contributions to the martyrs’ trust fund and initiatives are taken by the Government and national associations to assist families of fallen heroes and veterans.
The Government, the National Association of war Disabled Veterans (NAWDV), Eritrea’s Crops and Livestock Corporation (ECLC), the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) and residents of Tesenai sub-zone have taken initiatives in rehabilitating war disabled veterans and improving their living standards.
As part of its mission to rehabilitate veterans, in 1994, the NAWDV resettled around 1,200 veterans in 10 administrative areas of Tesenei sub-zone, particularly in Aligidir farm. Out of the 1,200 veteran members of the association, around 750 work on farms at Tesenai-Aligidir farm projects while the rest engage in small-scale trade. The association provides its members with micro credit schemes to help them start up their undertaking and maintain it. What is more, the Government gives priority to the veterans in Aligidir, Talatasher and Tesenai farms when it comes to the provision of tractors and services. The association also opened bakeries and mill houses in Tesenai and Aligidir that gave job opportunities for women veterans.
Mohammed Nur Ali Seid, head of NAWDV’s chapter in Tesenai sub-zone, said that the war disabled veterans have been productive in whatever sector they have engaged in. Despite physical challenges, they never give up and they do everything with a ‘can-do’ spirit and their perseverance in addressing difficulties is very encouraging. Mr. Mohammed Nur reiterated that though they are advancing in age, the veterans are role models who are always committed to overcoming challenges.
Eritreans won their independence through collective efforts and all kinds of sacrifices. The country’s independence and the safeguarding of its sovereignty demanded precious lives. As a tribute to Eritrea’s heroes and heroines for their selfless sacrifice, Eritreans inside the country and abroad are always ready to complement rehabilitation programs charted out by the Government.
In line with the collective efforts being made by all nationals, the people of Tesenai sub-zone always give tribute to families of the fallen heroes by extending support to war disabled veterans. For instance, the benevolence of the residents of Tesenai in rehabilitating war disabled veterans in their sub-zone is a reflection of the tribute to the sacrifices the veterans made for the common cause.
Mr. Mohammed Nur said that the respect the residents of Tesenai have for the war disabled veterans is commendable. Owing to the hospitality and support of the residents of the sub-zone, war disabled veterans who moved to Tesenai to engage in farm or trade have been improving their living standards.
To assist war disabled veterans in a systematic way the residents of Tesenai set up committees and built residential houses, gave financial support, provided technical assistance and worked in the farms. Government institutions and members of the Eritrean Defense Forces also participated in the construction of the residential houses for war disabled veterans in Tesnai sub-zone.
NAWDV has created a viable venue to give micro credit to the veterans who have plans to work in agriculture, trade and others as individuals and in groups. According to the Mr. Mohammed Nur, the association is currently working to give micro credit to over 40 members who have asked for assistance.
Luchia Ghebrehiwet, Yeshu Hayelom and Shewhat Ghebreyesus, members of both NUEW and NAWDV, are war disabled veterans who have engaged in Tesenai-Aligidir farm project since 2009. In collaboration with NAWDV and ECLC, NUEW has given its members assistance based on their request.
In 2009, a group of ten women from Tesenai sub-zone were organized to work in agriculture and NUEW and NAWDV, in collaboration with ECLC, provided them with fertile plots of land and essential technical assistance, Ms. Luchia said. The number of the group has now risen from 10 in 2009 to over 60 in 2021. As regards the unity that exists among the women farmers, Ms. Luchia said, “The 60 of us have been working like one family.”
The women farmers in Tesenai-Aligidir farm projects are satisfied with their bountiful harvest. Ms. Luchia adds that the administration of the farms has been instrumental for the success of the projects.
By working in the farm projects, the women have been able to improve their living standards and educate their children with ease. The association and ECLC have always been supporting the women farmers and everything they needed has been provided before they set out to work on their farms.
Ms. Yeshu said that working on farms is quite satisfactory and has enabled them to become self-reliant. She added that the assistance from the Government has been the reason for their success.
As regards the assistance provided by NUEW and the administration of Tesenai-Aligidir farm projects, Ms. Shewhat said that the NUEW has always been by their side and has boosted their confidence from the time they set out to work on the farms. The assistance has been given to single parents who come from families of fallen heroes and to war disabled women veterans. “The Government never fails us in providing tractors and other technical assistance,” Ms. Shewhat added.
What has been achieved to date in rehabilitation is the result of a concerted effort of the Government and the people of Eritrea and the strong commitment of the war disabled veterans. The effort in rehabilitating families of the fallen heroes and in rehabilitating war disabled veterans is one means of paying tribute to the selfless sacrifice and bravery of all gallant nationals.