Sun. 8 October 2023 – 20:00
Jan Willem Baljet

For Tigray (LIVE & STREAM)

Rekindling hope through education in war-ravaged Tigray (Ethiopia)

A horrific war that decimated Tigray has supposedly come to an end with the 'Cessation of Hostilities Agreement' signed in November 2022. But Tigray and Tigrayans remain in great agony. Tigray remains surrounded and largely in siege, violence against Tigrayans continues, close to 30% of Tigray’s teritory to which more than a million displaced Tigrayans should return to remains occupied by enemy forces, and Tigrayans are left to contend with the devastation of the war alone with almost no support for rehabilitation and healing. The challenges Tigray and Tigrayans face look insurmountable. The fight now is also between hope and hopelessness. Despite the enormous challenges, the people of Tigray are desperately trying to resume normal activities with whatever they can find in the ash left by the war.

Let’s take the education sector and the efforts to resume it. Education in Tigray stopped when the COVID-19 pandemic started and continued through the war on Tigray, making Tigrayan students and children out of school for more than three years. A 2021 study on the education sector in the part of Tigray that is under Tigrayan control found that 88.3% of classrooms have been severely damaged and 63% of books have been damaged. On the part of Tigray under enemy control, the numbers are certainly much higher. But the most shocking is the impact on Tigray school children. A 2023 study on this found that 70% children thought they would die from hunger, 72% experienced shooting at a very close distance, 62% expected they would be killed, 44% saw a dead body, 29% saw someone being killed, and 80% teachers experienced PTSD. These studies show the devastation of the education sector, but there are additional problems these studies don’t cover. Many of the schools are hosting over a million displaced persons, many teachers have fled Tigray, many students have lost interest in education, many students that should have gone to college are yet to learn and sit for exams, and many new students must enroll to catch up.

The challenges facing the education sector are enormous. Yet, many schools have officially resumed classes, under trees, on open fields, on the side of their destroyed schools. The biggest challenge now is overcoming hopelessness and rekindling hope in Tigrayan students and children. As a continuation of the previous awareness creation event, Alarm Bell for Tigray, Jan Willem Baljet is organizing a solidarity and fundraising event to support schools and students in Tigray. An evening with music, dance and some speeches and testimonies. Splendor musicians and musicians from Tigray and from the region will play different songs this evening.

Music by:
Splendor musicians (among others Shishani, Peter Prommel, Hessel Moeselaar, Tatiana Rosa, Mattijs van de Woerd, Oene van Geel, Nora Fischer and Jan Willem Baljet)
and special guests:
Semere Welday - krar (5-string lyre), vocals
Yacob Yemane - flute
Semir Abraham - krar (5-string lyre)

Dance by:
Tegaru Youth Holland

Jan Willem Baljet & Gebrekirstos G. Gebremeskel

Donations collected during the fundraising will be used to rebuild destroyed schools and help students and schoolchildren.

Reserve your seat for the event for €10. All musicians are playing for free to support the cause and so are the dancers and other participants. During the event, there will be a box (and QR code) for donations. You can also donate via this link.

Last like time, the event will be live-streamed and we kindly request viewers to donate online. You can follow the event here, live:

Here are some short impression of our first Tigray event in Splendor, February 10, 2023:

Read more about this evening last February here.

Gebrekirstos G. Gebremeskel is the founder and chief editor of tghat.com and mermru.com. He is a researcher based in the Netherlands and his research focuses on the intersection of Information Retrieval/Recommender Systems and society. Gebrekirstos writes and speaks in several platforms and events, and appears on local and international media including Al Jazeera and the BBC to offer analysis and views on the Tigray war, Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

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