A Successful Fund-raising Event for Zalanbessa High School
Hosted in the Denver Metropolitan Area
Sept. 28 2011
A fund-raising event meant to assist the reconstruction of the Zalanbessa High School was held on September 18, 2011 at the Jewish Cultural Center at the heart of the Denver Metropolis. Tigreans and a few other Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia attended the event. Zalanbessa Town Development Committee – Denver Branch organized the event and they not only managed to have close to 500 tickets sold but also prepared a pledge form which enabled them to earn a substantial sum of money intended to the noble cause. It is a recent memory that the town of Zalanbessa and every aspect of the infrastructure in the city was completely destroyed during the 1998-2000 Eritrean-Ethiopian war that is said to have claimed the lives of 70,000 troops on both sides of the border. The destruction of Zalanbessa at that time was heart-breaking to Ethiopians in every corner of the country. Since then, Zalanbessa has remained a symbol of solidarity for all Tigreans and other fellow Ethiopians belonging to different religious, ethnic and political orientations.
The organizers of the event were only five initially and two were added later. Nevertheless, they managed to reach out members of the Tigrean community and other friends in the Denver Metro area through an extended network. The hall was more or less filled to its capacity at the peak of the event at about 11 o’clock. Had it not been for the timing of the event, a Sunday night in the middle of September, there would have been a bigger turn out and more people could have attended it. The young and charismatic artist Temesgen Zegeye, who currently is a rising star of Tigrinya music, presented a variety of cultural and at times patriotic songs and entertained the audience in attendance until 2:30 am in the morning. (As a side note, it’s imperative comment that being late by two hours appears to be a given consent for most members of our community. Although the start time for the event was 8 o’clock, the great majority showed up two to three hours later. This is a syndrome that is engulfing members of our community and we need to aggressively fight it head-on!!!)
The organizers of the event should be congratulated for hosting such a wonderful event – a success par excellence. Despite their small number, they were able to galvanize the community and bring us all together under the same roof to enjoy and at the same time to contribute our share to the reconstruction of the high school which will be hosting students in the near future. I hope other Tigreans in other states in the US or elsewhere would follow suit and host similar events to raise enough funds to help for the reconstruction effort if they haven’t done yet. All it takes a few dedicated organizers as we have already witnessed here in the Greater Denver Area.