By Louisa Taylor, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA, CANADA -A decommissioned ambulance dedicated to former Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar will soon be in service in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
At a handover ceremony outside City Hall yesterday, Councillor Diane Deans gave the keys to the ambulance to Samuel Getachew of Friends of Ethiopia, which organized the project and raised the money to ship the ambulance to Ethiopia. The group will also be shipping medical and educational supplies, along with computers donated by Algonquin College.
“It’s nice for citizens of Ottawa to give a second life to a decommissioned ambulance,” says Deans, who lobbied her fellow councilors to donate the vehicle. “That ambulance probably saved a lot of lives in Ottawa and now it will save a lot more in its new home in Ethiopia.”
Getachew has dedicated the ambulance in memory of Dewar, a “dear friend” who gave him advice in the early stages of this project. Her son, Ottawa Center MP Paul Dewar, was also at the City Hall ceremony yesterday.
“We wanted to send something useful, and Africans need something that can help them be self-sufficient, and we believe an ambulance is a good start,” says Getachew, who has worked on the project for almost two years.
The ambulance will be donated to the foundation run by Abebch Gobena, a well-known children’s activist in Addis Ababa. “She has raised 5,000 orphans, and she has a small hospital in her compound and branches all over Ethiopia.”