Solidarity in Education: Diaspora Support for Amhara Students

In a time of crisis, Addis Ababa University’s decision to reject high-scoring Amhara students seeking refuge on campus has sparked a wave of concern and action. Despite pleas from students to remain until security concerns in their home regions are resolved, they are being compelled to leave.

One second-year student, whose family resides in Addis Ababa, has stepped up to offer accommodation for a few of these displaced students. This act of kindness has inspired a larger initiative aimed at providing support for these students until they can safely complete their studies.

Traditionally, during breaks, students are expected to leave campus and stay with family. However, exceptions are made for those facing dangerous or untenable situations in their places of origin, such as war or natural disasters. This leniency has been a longstanding practice at the university.

However, this year, a troubling discrepancy has emerged. This discrepancy is especially concerning given the widespread conflict in the Amhara region.

In response, the Amhara Students Association has taken proactive measures to support their peers. Members have assessed each student’s situation, particularly those with high academic achievements, and have mobilized resources to provide safe accommodations in Addis Ababa.

Now, the initiative is expanding its reach, calling on the Amhara diaspora to step forward and support these students for a three-month period. Through a structured program, sponsors will be matched with students, ensuring that as many promising Amhara students as possible can continue their education in a safe environment.

This call for solidarity emphasizes the importance of community support in times of crisis and highlights the resilience of the Amhara people in the face of adversity. It is a testament to the power of collective action and the unwavering commitment to education as a pathway to a brighter future.


Girma Berhanu is Professor of (special) Education at the Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, where he teaches research method courses and special education. He is fervently engaged in discussion of equity issues in the fields of (special) education. His general areas of research interest are ‘race’, ethnicity, and special education. Of particular interest to him is also "group-based inequalities” in scholastic achievement and minority students’ learning and development in a globalized and post-colonial world. The issues he mainly works with are related to sociocultural factors (including historical aspects and institutional frameworks) that are relevant to education in general and to special education approaches and perspectives in particular. He is a member of an international consortium of equity in special education. The consortium focuses mainly on understanding the Complexities of Inclusive Education from a Comparative Perspective: How Cultural Histories Shape the Ways That Schools Respond to Multiple Forms of Diversity. His Ph.D. and M.A. is from University of Gothenburg and his B.A is from Addis Ababa University

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