Haregewoin Teferra has Died

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Haregewoin Teferra Has Died


In September of this year, I wrote a quick piece about the important work Haregewoin Teferra was doing to fight HIV and AIDs in Ethiopia. When no one else would give shelter to infected AIDs orphans except their own extended families, Teferra took them first into her home and then built two shelters for children and mothers infected with HIV and/or AIDs. Her efforts, changed the face of care in her area and set an example for the rest of the continent.  Her focus on women and children reminded us that they are the hardest hit by the global pandemic both in terms of spread and carework and the orphan crisis in Africa that helps fuel child armies, sex trafficking, and under educate girls, is all part of a larger system of sexism and racism under global capitalism that says the suffering of brown and black women is less important than the bonuses for AIG.

Teferra’s example was one of selfless dedication in the face of stigmatization and the false common sense that one person cannot stand against poverty, disease, and disaster. She was an inspiration for the work that she did and the promise her example set for the work of women’s hands around the globe. Like so many women before her, Haregewoin Teferra showed us the power of one woman to change the world.

Yesterday, I noticed a spike in searches for her name here at the blog, and wondered if she had built a new home for HIV and AIDs orphans or received an award for her ongoing work. Sadly, a simple google search showed that it was not good news that caused the spike, but rather the passing of this great woman.

Some time between March 16-17, Haregewoin called a friend saying she was not feeling well. She died shortly after, asleep in her bed.

If you want to know more about her, you can read any of the following:

Despite having never met Haregewoin Teferra, her loss has left me teary eyed and silent. These are the women we should be honoring this Women’s History Month and yet, if we did a poll, I doubt most in my department would know her name . . .


2 thoughts on “Haregewoin Teferra has Died

  1. i met Haregewoin when in Ethiopia with my closest friend as she adopted my niece Fre. Haregewoin’s had been the first or two orphanages my niece was in, and also was the orphanage of my other niece Mesi. Haregewoin was so thrilled to see Fre, and showed us documents about Fre’s biological parents, told stories about Fre at the orphanage….oh! it was so meaningful to all of us, and i loved how Haregewoin remembered little details about my niece, even with all the children she had helped! Haregewoin also ran a weaving business for mothers who were HIV+, so that they could work and earn some money when they felt well enough to do so. She sold their work at the orphanage and I still have two beautiful woven table-runners made by the women Haregewoin helped. Her smile, her devotion…she will be missed beyond words, by SO MANY CHILDREN, and certainly by me, my nieces and my dear friend who allowed me to accompany her on that journey.

    • Welcome to the blog Janet. Thank you so much for sharing this story. The more we talk about the work women like Haregewoin did the more women will be strengthened to do similar radical things.

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