In addition to its work as a refugee resettlement agency in the United States, ECDC is also involved in humanitarian work in Ethiopia. One of its projects is the Axumite Heritage Foundation (AHF), a cultural and educational organization located in the ancient city of Axum. Created in 1993, AHF’s mission is to establish cultural and educational institutions that bridge knowledge of the past and encourage community stewardship of the future.
Our first project was renovating a historic building in Axum called the Inda Nebri’id, which had served as the home of the governor of Axum before being damaged in Ethiopia’s civil war. After its restoration, the building became the home of the AHF Library, the only major public library in Axum and its surrounding area.
Since the establishment of the AHF Library, usage of the library has grown along with Axum’s increasing population. The current building, designed as a residence and not for public use, can no longer adequately serve the community as a library. After conferring with local residents and civic leaders, ECDC/AHF decided the city needed a new, modern library designed specifically for the needs of a 21st century community.
The new AHF library will be a three story building with enlarged reading rooms and stack spaces, as well as an auditorium, classrooms, and a dedicated children’s library. Once completed, we will be able to hold educational and cultural programs for the public, including computer training, literacy and entrepreneurship classes, and public lectures on local cultural and historic traditions. ECDC believes that libraries are not simply places to read and check out books. They are centers of community development and engagement, and are critical building blocks in the growth of civil society. To read more about the AHF, please visit our website here.
ECDC President Dr. Tsehaye Teferra visited Axum in April to oversee the ongoing construction, and we are excited to share with you some photos from that trip.