Story by Jenene Grover | Contributing Writer
Over 500,000 Tigrayans died since the Ethiopian government and some Eritrean forces started targeting the region nearly two years ago. But on Thursday, Middle Tennessee State University’s chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority hosted a discussion to raise awareness and educate students about how they could help.
Tigray is a region in Ethiopia that is currently being targeted by the Ethiopian government and some Eritrean forces. The region makes up about 6% of the population of Ethiopia.
The conflict began in November 2020, and since then, the Tigrayans have been without water, food, healthcare services, phone, internet, and banking. Airstrikes have killed civilians and destroyed infrastructure.
The United Nations has declared this deliberate destruction of healthcare resources a crime against humanity and a humanitarian crisis.
Dr. Rishan Desta, who has family living in Tigray, founded Health Professionals Network for Tigray, or HPN4Tigra. Desta spoke to attendees about her experience and how she is trying to help.
“It has become not just about my family anymore but about the wellbeing of the entire state of Tigray and the people who suffer beyond Tigray,” Desta said.
Desta’s goal for HPN4Tigray is to provide those that fled to refugee camps in Sudan with healthcare supplies.
MTSU senior and Social Action Chair of Delta Sigma Theta Timenit Teklai also has family in Tigray and has been educating her sorority sisters and others on this matter.
Organizations like HPN4Tigray have been partnering with social justice organizations to help elevate Tigrayan voices.
“I know the term ‘be a voice for the voiceless’ is used a lot, but they’re not voiceless,” Teklai said. “They’re being silenced.”
MTSU senior and Delta Sigma Theta member Brionna Cunningham believes that events like this are important to have and to attend.
“It’s just to reach out and really make a difference and to inform people about things that they don’t hear about,” Cunningham said. “There’s other issues out there that need to be touched on.”
Senior Urielle Umutoni was able to learn more about how to help Tigray by attending and asking questions.
“No matter what, the more we come together, the more we fight together, the more we will persevere towards the end,” Umutoni said. “It may take a long time, but we will get there eventually.”
To help or learn more, anyone interested can donate to HPN4Tigray at hpn4Tigray.org and follow #TigrayGenocide on all social media platforms.
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