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Freida Pinto impressed by Plan Ethiopia’s development projects
Freida Pinto, an emerging Hollywood movie star, paid a visit to Plan Ethiopia’s projects in Ethiopia as part of the organization’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign. Pinto declared that she was impressed with Plan’s achievements, both in Addis Ababa and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional state, where she had the opportunity to observe project activities. Pinto who has gained recognition for her roles in several Hollywood movies, including “The Slum Dog Millionaire” and “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, was invited by Plan International to visit one of its various project activities worldwide, in Ethiopia. Plan Ethiopia, an international nongovernmental organization that works on areas such as child survival and development, quality education, food security and nutrition, child participation and protection and HIV/AIDS since 1974, is part of Plan International. This organization has also helps poor children to access their rights to health, education, protection and participation.
Freida is the international ambassador for “Because I am a Girl” campaign, which aims at building the capacity of young girls through knowledge and skills, enabling and empowering them.
“This visit to Ethiopia has been more than fruitful,” said Pinto to journalists at a press briefing held on Thursday at the Hilton Addis, after the end of her three-day visit to the SNNPR regional state. She stated that she has been inspired by the spirit of the people she met while visiting the projects.
“I really do hope that the programs here are an example for other Plan projects elsewhere,” she said. Pinto saw the achievements of Plan Ethiopia, especially in regards to Solar Water Energy in the Leku district, developed via the Community Managed Renewable Energy Program of Plan Ethiopia. “When I look at a country like Ethiopia, India and Sierra Leone, I see natural resources aplenty. We don’t necessarily have to have the funds to tap into these natural resources in order to make sure that people have simple basic things like electricity and water.”
The solar energy plan, which Plan Ethiopia came up with as a result of lack of finance to develop water supply programs via conventional ways, was the real surprise for her. According to experts of Plan Ethiopia that provided detailed explanations about the project to Pinto and her companions, including two representatives of Plan International and an international travel journalist, the project has helped reduce water-related illnesses and deaths and child labor, because children and women now walk just a few meters to collect water. The community-led total sanitation approach works that Plan Ethiopia is engaged in to enhance the sanitation of urban and semi-urban communities in the Shebedino area is also among the projects that Pinto was fascinated by. For Pinto, the places she has seen are out of the ordinary, which has made her commit to come back and see other programs that she has not been able to see on this trip. “I am going to feel nostalgic, because this place has just been something out of the ordinary and I can’t describe it in just a few words,” she said. She also admired the enthusiasm of volunteers, the commitment that people have and the various girl ambassadors she has met.
Plan Ethiopia works in Addis Ababa, SNNPR, Lalibela and Jimma.