About Us

Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association (ELDA)

The Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association (ELDA) was formed in November 2019 being the first-ever professional association of persons with disabilities. The association was initiated by eight like-minded lawyers with disabilities and registered by the Ethiopian CSO Agencies with the certificate no. 4620 on December 19, 2019. ELDA works on bringing together lawyers engaged in policy review and analysis, attorneys, prosecutors, judges, legal advisors and students with disabilities studying law in different parts of the country. Currently, ELDA has 160 active and registered members with in the nation. ELDA also welcomes lawyers with all types of disabilities as members and lawyers without disabilities who are like-minded and wish to make a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia as associate members.

We are Civil Society Organization (CSO), Professional Association and Non-profit organization. ELDA strives to bring together disabled legal practitioners, law academics and law students to share their experiences and collectively advocate for greater representation and inclusion of disabled people in the legal profession.

Mission

ELDA works through and for its members to promote, advocate and defend the rights of all persons with disabilities to realize their dignity and equality.

Vision

We envision an inclusive and effective legal system in Ethiopia where rights are recognized and respected for all persons with disabilities

Organizational Goals

Empower persons with disabilities and their representative organizations towards acquiring the required legal expertise to demand their rights and hold governments at different levels accountable

Engage in evidence-based advocacy including class action for promotion and protection of all rights for all persons with disabilities in the country

Prevent and defend the violation of rights of persons with disabilities using different existing national, regional and international legal frameworks and

Build the capacity of its members and facilitate the smooth undertaking of their profession by enhancing networking and peer learning

Core Values

Proactively recognizing and responding to diverse needs of persons with disabilities to their rights and freedoms challenging strongly held gender and social norms and attitudes. Operates on the premise of a culture of respect for differences.

A belief in the power of collective action to achieve our objectives.

Equality does not mean all people get the same thing. It promotes a just society where men and women PWDs are able to get what they need in order to succeed in life.

Actively promotes a culture of trust where ELDA’s reputation of honesty and promise is held in the highest regard

A commitment to creating a better learning environment, which values open communication with its members, builds a trusted partnership with stakeholders and shares its lessons proactively with due care for legal limitations on confidentiality. 

Board Members

Helen Tilahun

Helen Tilahun

Helen Tilahun

(Board Chair)

 

My name is Helen Tilahun. I was born on October 22, 1987 in east part of Ethiopia in small village called Haromaya from my mother Amesale Zelek and from my father Tilahun Teshome. When my age was ready for school I started my primary education at elementary model school, which existed in side Haromaya University. I became blind when I was in grade 7 because of an accident by falling on the ground to reach on my bus. I tried to get medication. However, my vision could not be recovered. It is God’s call and purpose.

Being a woman in Ethiopia and again being a blind is a two way disadvantage due to the social construction. During that time I was very disappointed and lost hope. But, God is good all the time and glory to God. He gave me power than before because God had a purpose for me to serve the vulnerable and the poor in the street and in the community.

In addition to my lord, my family played a significant role on whom, I am right now.

Right now I have an LLB degree and masters in social work from Addis Ababa University and leadership and management from an institution called VECOD. I am also the mother of one daughter. I served my community starting from high school and that has grown in my heart. So, in addition to God’s call, that is why I started to work and share the vision in Ethiopian Teen Challenge as a program manager since August 1,2015 serving the vulnerable group of the society.

Being a blind woman leader is somehow difficult. It is God who gave me wisdom, leadership and direction. Nothing is made by me. All is because of him. Glory to him. I know he is my father that is why I am here today serving my society as Executive Director for Ethiopia Teen Challenge.

NB:

If additional information is needed please ask by my E – mail or phone

+251 9 13 38 14 85 (whatsup)

Or

+251 9 11 20 97 16.

God Bless you

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Endris Mohammed

Wesenyelesh Admasu

Endris Mohammed

(Board Member)

 

Endris Mohammed is a blind person, who was born and raised in remote rural areas. He is LLB and LLM holder and PhD candidate. Professionally, He started his career as a public prosecutor and worked as Legal Trainer and Researcher. Currently, Endris is working as lecturer of law and Disability rights consultant. He is serving as a member of the general Assembly of the Federation of Ethiopian Associations of Persons with Disabilities and Board Member of the Ethiopian Lawyers with Disability Associations. He is an active disability rights advocate and engaged in strategic litigations lodged against the Government on distinct rights of persons with disabilities.

Atikilt Fetene

Fekadu Tsega

Atikilt Fetene

(Board Member)

Atikilt Fetene holds a bachelor degree in law from Jimma University and has also received LL.M degree in public international Law from Addis Ababa University. She has worked as a lecturer of law at Debre Berhan University. Currently, she is working as a human rights officer at Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Disability Rights and Rights of Older Persons Department.  She has a good experience in researching and delivery of trainings on the rights of women and persons with disabilities. In her civic engagement, she serves as a Board Member and secretary at Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association (ELDA); Advisory Committee member and secretary at the Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders with Disabilities Network; A steering Committee member to Ethiopian Women Human Rights Defenders Network; Board Member at Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders Centre. Moreover, she is a wheelchair user and is mother of an adorable girl. 

  

Tamrat Aberu

Tamrat Aberu

Tamrat Aberu

Tamrat Aberu

(Board Member)

Tamrat graduated Addis Ababa University School of Law in 2014 with a degree in Law. After graduation he received the opportunity to serve as an intern at Ethiopian Ministry of Industry during the drafting stages of the Export Trade Duty Incentive Scheme Government Policy Regulations & Proclamation. While in law school he was a member of the legal clinics Program. His litigation experience over the years extends to appellate matters.

Practicing corporate law since 2015, Tamrat currently limits his practice to corporate, real estate, and business transactional matters. His transactional and litigation real estate and corporate consulting experience encompasses commercial and multi-family income business projects ranging from medium to large start-up and pre-existing industrial complex, Business offices and shopping centers In business and corporate law matters. Tamrat is currently serving as management staff at one of MIDROC Ethiopia’s Sister company Lame Dairy Private Ltd.Co. He is also an active member of Ethiopian Lawyers Association (ELA) and participant of the Civil Rights Social Action Committee since 2017. In addition, he is the founding member acting Board of Director’s of Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities (ELDA) since 2020.

Melaku Tekle

Melaku Tekle

Modal Title

Melaku Tekle

(Board Member)

Melaku is disability rights advocate with a demonstrated history of working in the civil society sector. He is the founding Vice Chairperson of Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities (ELDA) established for advocating and defending the rights of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia. Formerly, he was the Executive Director of the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD), a local disability and development civil society organization where he discharged strategic leadership roles and core management functions with a mission of facilitating and promoting disability inclusion in mainstream service delivery.

He has interdisciplinary areas of expertise in disability and development with more than 9 years of designing and implementing high-impact disability-inclusive development projects. He is a Disability Equality Trainer (DET) and certified in managing diversity and promoting non-discrimination in the world of work from the International Labor Organization Training Centre, Turin, Italy. He received his first degree in Public Administration and Development Management, Law, and a master’s in social work from Addis Ababa University. He recently completed his LLM in Law and Social Justice from the University of Leeds in the UK. As a Polio survivor since the age of two, Melaku identifies himself as a person with a disability. Currently, Melaku is serving as a Disability Inclusion Advisor at Light for the World, an international disability rights and inclusive development NGO, where he spearheads technical support on disability inclusion mainstreaming in ongoing development programs of the organization. Melaku is Mandela Washington Fellow 2017, Open Society Scholar 2019, and

Acumen East Africa Fellow of 2021.

Melaku Tekle

(Board Member)

Melaku is disability rights advocate with a demonstrated history of working in the civil society sector. He is the founding Vice Chairperson of Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities (ELDA) established for advocating and defending the rights of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia. Formerly, he was the Executive Director of the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD), a local disability and development civil society organization where he discharged strategic leadership roles and core management functions with a mission of facilitating and promoting disability inclusion in mainstream service delivery.

He has interdisciplinary areas of expertise in disability and development with more than 9 years of designing and implementing high-impact disability-inclusive development projects. He is a Disability Equality Trainer (DET) and certified in managing diversity and promoting non-discrimination in the world of work from the International Labor Organization Training Centre, Turin, Italy. He received his first degree in Public Administration and Development Management, Law, and a master’s in social work from Addis Ababa University. He recently completed his LLM in Law and Social Justice from the University of Leeds in the UK. As a Polio survivor since the age of two, Melaku identifies himself as a person with a disability. Currently, Melaku is serving as a Disability Inclusion Advisor at Light for the World, an international disability rights and inclusive development NGO, where he spearheads technical support on disability inclusion mainstreaming in ongoing development programs of the organization. Melaku is Mandela Washington Fellow 2017, Open Society Scholar 2019, and Acumen East Africa Fellow of 2021. 

Yohannes Takele

Wesen Alemu

Yohannes Takele

(Board Member)

 

Yohannes Takele Zewale is a distinguished business and human rights lawyer who holds both an LL.B. and LL.M. in business law from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is a recognized expert in the field of human rights and disability, having obtained an LL.M. in International Human Rights and Comparative Disability Law from Syracuse University, USA.

Yohannes has demonstrated exceptional skills in his roles as a lecturer at Addis Ababa University and as a disability inclusion advisor for various non-governmental organizations on both national and international levels. He is actively involved in the production of research studies and articles in the field of law, with a particular focus on inclusive democracy and comparative disability law.

Yohannes's innovative thinking and dedication to his work led to his invitation and subsequent membership in the "Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi" in 2024. His passion for inclusive democracy spurred him to challenge the traditional model of Descriptive Representation, a prominent model in Political Science, and develop a groundbreaking alternative known as "Approval Representation." This radical model maximizes the benefits of Descriptive Representation while addressing its limitations, tailored to the principles of human rights law and the context of people with disabilities.

Rigbe Gebrehawaria

Rigbe Gebrehawaria

Rigbe Gebrehawaria

Rigbe Gebrehawaria

(Board member)

Rigbe is a diversity and inclusion advocate with over 14 years’ experience working on disability rights and gender justice through research, advocacy, project management, training, and human resource management. She holds a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of Law. Besides having a physical disability herself, Rigbe developed an interest towards disability rights advocacy after working for an Organization on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. Rigbe was also involved in her own private practice carrying out social consultancy for vulnerable groups focusing on Disability Inclusion. She is currently the Commissioner for Disability Rights and Rights of Older Persons at the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Prior to that, she worked at the U.S. Embassy Addis Abeba as a Senior HR Assistant and Disabilities Advisor. She is an expert member of the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities in Africa, co-founder and board member of the Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association, board member of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA Network), co-founder and board chair of Setawit NGO, a board member of Eyu-Ethiopia and board advisor of Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA).

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