Storyteller: Marama Kufi
Many Oromo people living in Ethiopia, Marama was forced to leave to save his life. Since he reached the safety of Australia after spending years in a refugee camp, Marama does everything he can to help his people still suffering in Ethiopia. Through community run organisations such the Oromia Support Group and the Oromo Relief Association , Marama tirelessly campaigns to raise awareness about the plight of Oromo people, works to get Oromo people out of refugee camps to countries like Australia and helps them to settle into their new lives once they arrive. His own story is at the core of his motivation, as he understands better than most what it takes to survive.
Chimdi: committed to raising awareness
Country of origin: Oromia, Ethiopia.
Storyteller: Tarekegn Chimdi
As a human rights activist, Chimdi was committed to raising international awareness of the persecution of Oromo people in Ethiopia. During his activism, he was involved in the writing of an Amnesty International report which exposed the human rights abuses of the Oromo people by the Ethiopian government. Chimdi was forced to leave Oromia when he was targeted with political violence as a result of his activism.
Taheya: Ya Oromia
Ya Oromia was my first film while studying at the VCA in Melbourne. It’s about a young refugee mother living in Melbourne who had to flee her homeland and family in Ethiopia, to save her life. This film documents the reunion with her two daughters after six years of separation.
Anonymous: Breaking a promise of Silence
Country of origin: Oromia, Ethiopia.
Storyteller: Anonymous Oromo Man
A man who had it all: career, family, house, tells how he risked everything because he could no longer remain silent about the human rights abuses he witnessed being exacted upon his people, the Oromo of Ethiopia. His subsequent imprisonment and torture forced him to leave and become a refugee in Kenya, where daily life was fraught with fear and uncertainty. Despite all this, he managed to get his three children out of Ethiopia and the four of them came to Australia. This amazing story shows how one person’s individual perseverance and strength, coupled with the support of the international Oromo community, can achieve things that organisations set up to defend human rights could not.
For more story: OROMO_MANS_STORY
2003 New Pioneers Awards
Martha Kumsa arrived in Canada as a refugee in 1991, escaping a life of terror and uncertainty in Ethiopia. As a broadcaster and print journalist, she continued to write voluminously during the 10 years she spent in jail as a prisoner of conscience in Addis Ababa. Martha came to Canada as a single mother with three children; her husband had disappeared in Ethiopia and Martha had no news about his survival for thirteen years. In 1996 he joined the family in Canada.
Toronto Star News ArticleAlthough experienced in her field, Martha could not find comparable employment in Canada. In 1992, she came to Skills for Change and completed a course in Life Skills and Job Search. The agency gave her insight into the Canadian workplace and wider community that as a result, she made the decision to return to school full-time to study Social Work and is currently finishing her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. After many years of coping with financial difficulties and juggling the demands of family, school and a job, Martha was recently hired by the Wilfrid Laurier University in a tenure track teaching position.
Martha has published a number of learned articles as well as essays and poetry. She has presented papers at conferences in Toronto, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden and participates in panel discussions on issues related to human rights and freedom of expression.
Martha is an active member of PEN International, PEN Canada, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Oromo-Canadian Womens Organization and is a founding member of Ormo Global Communities Network. She also actively volunteers for Amnesty International.
In 1996, Martha received the Helman/Hammet Award for Free Expression from Human Rights Watch in New York and, in the same year also received the Dr. Wilson Head Memorial Award for Outstanding Work in Anti-Racism, Peace and Human Rights from Atkinson College, York University.