As the new year begins, we are busy making plans for 2022 and looking back at what we have achieved this year. This year, our activities were centred around increasing access to medical care, treatment, training, awareness, the improvement in the wellbeing of people with epilepsy, and advocacy for issues related to epilepsy. I am delighted to share that 2021 has seen an increase in the number of neurologists volunteering at our clinic and providing our "Epilepsy Basics" training course.
Our telephone helpline and monthly patient support group meetings continued to provide assistance, hope, support, guidance, and access to both national and local resources. Since our establishment in 2015, our work has passed through various phases. The first phase consisted of introducing the work of our charity to patients, the public, medical care professionals, and government ministries.
During the second phase, we continued to advertise our work while modifying our programs to accommodate both the needs and culture within our capacity. Financial constraints limited the number of individuals we could support and the expansion of our program. Thus, growth and expansion are our primary focus in the third phase during 2021 and beyond. In addition, we plan to establish an epilepsy centre, telemedicine support to remote areas in the regions and make our EEG service fully operational.
The COVID-19 pandemic put our charity under immense pressure this year as we faced a decline in funding from all income sources. As a result, it was harder for us to cope with the increased demand for our services.
On a personal note, I have been battling frequent seizures this year and have undergone various tests, experimented with multiple medications, and undergone surgery. It was a challenging year, both physically and emotionally, which left me vulnerable most of the time. Yet here I am, standing strong at the end of 2021, feeling protected and loved. My experiences in the last few months have reaffirmed my commitment to people living with epilepsy in Ethiopia. I am motivated to go "above and beyond" what is expected to make a difference. Thank you to all my family and friends who took care of my physical needs, boosted my morale and helped me to stay positive. Most of all, I thank God for strength and hope to continue living.
Founder and Director