Monday, April 14, 2014

Awra Amba: Utopian, egalitarian village in Ethiopia

Zumra Nuru, the founder of Awra Amba was not able to get an education. That is why he wants all the children in the community to be educated.

40 years ago, in the rural region of Amhara in Ethiopia, a young, illiterate farmer decided the patriarchal society in which he lived needed to change. Zumra Nuru imagined a place where men and women would make decisions together, both at home and in society. A place where working hard and helping one another was the norm and where the proceeds from work would be invested into education and social welfare. 

Armed with these big ideas he found 19 like-minded young people and together they founded a village that they called Awra Amba. Their beginnings were not easy. Zumra and his friends quickly became unpopular with surrounding villages and the government, because of their forward-thinking ideas on equality and religion. They were attacked, branded as mentally ill, driven from their village and Zumra was imprisoned.

Despite being ostracised for decades, Zumra and his friends remained committed to fulfilling their dream. 40 years on, having persevered and overcome many obstacles, the progressive ideas that started in Zumra's imagination, now form the foundations of a very real and thriving community. 

Today in Awra Amba, men and women are equal and work is shared according to skills rather than gender. Local governance is led by democratically elected committees. 

There are no churches or mosques in Awra Amba. Instead, people show their faith through hard work and doing good things to each other.

All children go to school.

Residents have access to healthcare; women's health is protected and family planning is the norm.

And a sustainable weaving business has allowed the community to free itself from the burden of poverty.

Watch the inspiring video here.

Awra Amba want you to see the way they live; they want you to discuss and debate the important social issues that they have been tackling in their community. They want the rest of the world to see how they have taken control of their future, discuss ideas of how to improve things further and help other communities around the world to improve their lives.
The Awra Amba Experience is a collaborative interactive documentary that tells the story of Awra Amba, a socially progressive community in rural Ethiopia.

e help make this project a reality, by purchasing one of our fantastic perks or donating whatever you can and sharing this story with your friends, family and colleagues.

Contribute to this wonderful effort and be sure to "LIKE" their Facebook page!

A young girl in Awra Amba, where there is no female genital mutilation or early marriage, and where all girls are educated.

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