Ethiopia: ‘Where There Is Hope, There Is Life’

Tesfaye Gebremariam was born in 1982, in a place called Bale Goba, in Oromia State. Until he was, in his early years, Tesfaye was a healthy boy who used to run and play along with his peers freely, without any troubles.

However, after celebrating his sixth birthday, standing on his feet and playing with friends on ground has become a difficult task for him. Because of medical error that came to happen following his ailment, he failed to walk as he used to do in his early years.

However, this does not stop Tesfaye from realizing his childhood dreams which was conceived in his heart. Using his inner potential as a springboard, Tesfaye has achieved his target. Currently, he is the father of two and Managing Director of his own Multi Media called TDS.

Tesfaye was the eldest boy in his family. For that reason, he was the apple of the eye to his mother. Due to that, he was under a serious control of his mother. Fearing he might be stolen by someone or fear of “evil eyes” Tesfaye’s mother used to hide him in her house. One unfortunate day, Tesfaye was allowed to play with his friends.

However, at the middle of somewhere, he started vomiting and his mom took him immediately to the nearby hospital where he got an injecting that might help him to stop the spew. However, the injection he received to stop the spew complicated the future of young Tesfaye in trouble for his nerve was affected by the needle.

Due to a single medical error committed by a medical practitioner, Tesfaye lost his ability to walk like his friends. Following this unfortunate incident, his mother took him almost everywhere to get healed her apple of eye. However, things were not as easy as she thought. Finally, Tesfaye forced to use walking crutches.

Tesfaye’s mother has never convinced what happened to her beloved son. For that reason, she has kept knocking every door to get solution. However, all was in vain nothing positive happened to him. It was at this moment she decided to send him to school and attend his education assisted by crutches.

Life was not easy for the little Tesfaye. Attending class with his condition was very difficult. Due to that, until he reached grade six, he was not that much good at his schooling. One day, Tesfaye got a chance to read a book entitled “Bilichta Kehlina Maheder” literally mean “Glimmer of light within the mind”. The book is written based on the life of a certain man who lost both his legs and arms during WWII.

Despite all the hurdles, the person who is mentioned in the book has achieved a great position in America. This story inspired the young Tesfaye and he did not let his physical disability stop him from achieving his dream. Tesfaye was totally encouraged and energized by the internal strength of that man and he started to count on his own blessings instead of his limitations.

According to Tesfaye, that magical book has helped him to ask himself what he has got in hand and started to capitalize on the resources at hand. Starting from this moment onwards, the old Tesfaye totally vanished and the new, energized man came out of him.

Unlike the previous years, Tesfaye became among the top students in his class.

After completing his high school, he joined the school of journalism and communication where he encountered both fortunes and challenges. The challenge was the poor infrastructure system he bumps into everywhere. The fortune was a new hope that drives him to his destination.

Starting from high school, Tesfaye’s teachers used to tell him that he could be a good journalist if he capitalizes on his talent. The advice from teachers has inspired him more to attend the school of journalism for about three years.

After he graduated from school of journalism, Tesfaye did not sit idle and wait life to stretch its hand to him. Instead, he went towards it and embraces it with passion.

After he joined the world of journalism, he did not let himself to produce what his seniors ordered him to do so. Instead, he preferred to be the voice of voiceless. This was a good opportunity for those disabled persons who are forgotten by the media.

According to Tesfaye, when he started his carrier as a journalist, he had totally been saddened by almost all programs broadcasted by most media houses. “They have almost forgotten the presence of individuals with some types of disabilities.

This and other reasons pushed me further to be a voice to the voiceless individuals with disabilities and started my own program which is called, ‘And Demts’ or One voice, that focused on disability. The program was broadcasted via Fana FM and revolves on matters such as marriage, disability, love and other social issues.”