Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Awra Amba - Ethiopian Society

Awra Amba - Ethiopian Society
Awra Amba is a village in Ethiopia, Amhara region Fogera woreda of Gondar zone. The village was founded by Zumra Nuru. Zumra starting from his early life had a dream to make a place where women and men are equal in many aspects of life.

The place where Zumra was born women and men are not equal and there is division of work. Men usually work at farm but most of other work was a load to the women. Including taking care of children finding fire wood for cooking, collecting water and all the house sold activities. Even worse men beat women especially their wives for different reasons. Women were like slaves. Religion was also one of the major conflicts in that area.

Zumra used to ask why? But the answers from his family and his society was not satisfying so wanted to found a place where all women and men will be treated equally.

At the first since he was a kid he couldn't make it. Zumra said he had the dream of Awra Amba since he was 4. Due to his beliefs of equality of men and women his society thought he was mentally ill.But he didn't give up his dream. In 1972 he with his fellow people with the same idea and thinking were only 19 when they found the place Awra Amba meaning "Top of the Hill".

Even after all this things were not easy Zumra and his people was opposed by neighboring communities. Since Zumra wasn't willing  to gave up his beliefs they got chased out of their place even got killed and imprisoned but they never gave up their hope they keep fighting.

In Awra Amba every people work based on his ability and potential unlike based on sex or age. There are different institutions like school, health care and elderly care. People in Awra Amba work different kinds of activities like weaving. Most of the people work textile. Twice a year, the profits made from weaved products are shared equally between all community members.

Awra Amba
Awra Amba

While making any kind of decisions women and men have equal vote. Every choice is democratically made.

No religious institutions are allowed in Awra Amba like Churches and Mosques. But they live by good values like no bad habits, no stealing, no murder and so on.

Unlike other communities women are allowed to use contraceptives. Many family matters are based on the choices of both women and men. They can choose and agree on how many children they want based on their personal character and their economical status.

To be a member of Awra Amba you have to fulfill their criteria like being free from evil things, no conflict, no immoral behaviour, no stealing, no cursing and also you must be able to make the annual financial contribution to the community.

Zumra has asked to get more land to add other members to the community.

Every year Awra Amba receives  thousands of visitors from around the world. Tourists and even political and religious leaders come to study their way of life.

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