ePhoto: March 2016

Last month, PMC visited Awra Amba. In this Ethiopian village, there is gender equality, every child goes to school, and their neighbors are no longer trying to kill them.

Zumra Nuru, the founder and leader of Awra Amba pictured above in the green hat, wanted to create a community based on ideals he didn’t see reflected around him. He says, “I wanted to live in a place where women and men live as equals and where all of our children can go to school. I didn’t want religion and tradition to dictate every aspect of our lives. So I decided to create a place where everyone is respected equally, and works collectively, so we can stand a chance of coming out of poverty.”

Founded in 1972, the villagers of Awra Amba were scorned, hated, attacked, and forced to move. They settled in the Amhara region of Ethiopia and, as a group, decided to stop accepting food from an aid agency. They felt that if they were truly faced with death, they would be more resourceful. That’s when they started weaving and they have never stopped. Sales of their woven goods have served them well and allow them to provide aid to the neighbors that once tried to kill them.

When Population Media Center visited Awra Amba, it reinforced PMC’s belief that people have the power to determine what is “normal” and acceptable practice. This village has decided on a shared set of values that binds them as equals and builds a more just and harmonious community.

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See photos and more from PMC's inspiring trip to Awra Amba >

Photo: Photo by Stephanie Tholand

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