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Lalibela, Ethiopia`s twelfth-century capital – “the Jewel in Ethiopia`s crown” - a 1978 UNESCO World Heritage site - is a remote town situated 2,600 metres in the Ethiopian Highlands with surrounding peaks approaching 4,000 metres. It is famous for the thirteen twelfth-century rock-hewn underground churches and has become the second most famous tourist destination and second most important Christian pilgrimage site in Ethiopia.. Lalibela Town`s population is about 25,000 with over 500,000 Ethiopians eking out a subsistence living in the mountainous, deforested, isolated catchment area. The rural population, exposed to climate warming and the ever increasing infertility and loss of topsoil, struggle to survive. It has been estimated that one million died in the 1984 Ethiopian famine which occurred around Lalibela.
"I used to worry about not having shoes on my feet until I met a man without a leg"

We first visited in 2003 and have returned fifteen times.

We have been amazed and humbled by charities, organisations, schools and people of all ages in Glastonbury and central Somerset who have contributed towards our projects. Increasingly, we receive donations from recent visitors to Lalibela who feel the need to help.

The indigenous rural population can give nothing in return except their thanks, their friendliness and their hospitality which they do in abundance. It is part of their culture, despite their desperate hardship, to share whatever they have and ask for nothing in return.

A visit to Lalibela is a life-changing and life-enriching opportunity - a rollercoaster of emotions -  which we thoroughly recommend.

We  returned from our last visit in October 2017.

May 2012 - Charity Commission registration as LALIBELA TRUST - number 1147147

If you wish to contribute to our projects, please click for donation form in Word or as a PDF
Our Ethiopian Experience

In April 2003 my wife and I, as tourists, visited the ancient historical sites of Ethiopia.
The itinerary included a forty-eight hour stop-over in the Ethiopian Highlands to explore the twelfth-century churches of Lalibela. Whilst preparing to leave Lalibela, we learnt that our plane`s departure was delayed for a few hours. Simply to “fill the time” we asked our guide if we could visit the local hospital. We were shocked by the conditions. My wife left in tears.

As one of our sons, who came with us in 2006, said in an article - "what my parents witnessed that day marked the beginning of a process that has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the people of Lalibela."

PLAN - UK      2005 - 2011.

Back in the UK, we approached Plan-UK, the only international NGO working in Lalibela. Plan agreed to initiate, manage and complete suitable priority mutually agreed projects on the understanding we could raise £10,000 annually.  £86,000 of our supporter`s money paid for thousands of insecticide-treated anti-malaria nets and a large supply of medical equipment for both the hospital and health centres.  Also forty-four post-obstetric fistulae women (accompanied by a relative) received transport, food and accomodation for surgery at the world-famous Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital or the nearer outreach Bahar Dar Hospital - all financed by Lalibela Trust.

Plan UK supports child-sponsorship.  Six local Central Somerset schools and five individuals became sponsor-parents

NORMAN AND CAROLE       2011 - 

In 2010 we joined forces with a London based couple, Norman and Carole.  Since 2000, they have visited Lalibela four times annually to discuss, prioritise, initiate, finance, manage and complete projects in partnership with the local Government Departments of Education, Health, Water and Agriculture.  Their achievements, detailed below, are hugely impressive. They are currently the driving force behind the new stand-alone maternity unit in Lalibela Hospital which is financed by Lalibela Trust.

In 2016, Norman and Carole came second in the annual award for the best international project sponsored by Rotary.  Although non-Rotarians, they were both awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellowships as a recognition of their outstanding contribution to humanitarian and educational programmes. 

Norman and Carole`s achievements since 2000 

Spring Improvement Projects - 74 completed, 2 under construction, 3 failed.

Schools - 22 classrooms completed.

Health Posts - 14 completed.

Irrigation projects - 2 completed.

Lalibela Trust contribution since 2011

2015 -  2017          The construction of a maternity unit in the compound of Lalibela Hospital (see current projects).

Seven of the fourteen completed health posts.

Ten of the sixty-two Spring Improvement Projects.

30 bench desks for rural school.

Millfield School - Lalibela High School link

Since 2004, nearly £40,000 raised by the pupils of the Millfield Schools, has installed safe water to the school, an electricity supply to the classrooms, three IT rooms with new computers, 100 bench desks, sports equipment, 1,000+ text and reference books.

In 2013, a staff-led party of twelve Millfield pupils first visited during the October half-term. In 2014 and 2015, sixteen pupils visited. The visits have been hugely successful and thoroughly enjoyed - as one student said - " a once in a lifetime experience".  The October 2016 visit was cancelled due to the state of emergency.  18 pupils visited in 2017

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