W/ro Origional Welde Giorgis Beratu

Born in Ticho, Arisi, W/ro Origional Wolde Giorgis Beratu moved from place to place

Born in Ticho, Arisi, W/ro Origional Wolde Giorgis Beratu moved from place to place with her family as her father served as a presiding judge in different states of Ethiopia.  At grade 9, she moved to Addis Ababa after the death of her father. She joining Law School at the Addis Ababa University, but took her ten full years to complete as the student movement of the time resulted in one year suspension and three separate arrests as they used to demonstrate and boycott classes. She recalls being severely tortured mainly because the students of the time enthusiastically wanted to change the livelihood of the people. A lawyer and human rights activist by profession, Original is engaged in research related to women and children, practices law and serves as a legal advisor to various organizations. Her past professional record included among many her services as a legal advisor, as head of legal services, as a judge in high court, department head at judicial administration office in Ministry of Education (MoE) and secretary of the Judicial Commission and her services at various NGOs that worked on mother and child health. She has also rendered services as a board of a member of organizations dealing with handicapped children, poverty, environment and women.

W/ro Original is one of the few group of inspiring women Lawyers who founded Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) in 1995. She served as the first group of boardmembers and also is one of the people that started the legal aid program of the Association. In that regard, besides giving legal aid services once a week, writing court briefs, appeals, and related legal matters were taken care of in her remaining time. She states her service at EWLA as the most fulfilling as she looked into the society through the windows they opened to speak with women who came for services. Though the women lawyers were initially established to solve the legal problems of women, they could not escape inquiries related to education, health, and shelter. At the time, they put the agenda of women very forcefully to the concerned bodies where they were empowered in the process of dealing with the challenges. She proudly recalls giving her best as the women came trusting she would solve their problems. Court representation was also given to women who were poor, older or whose cases were complicated or could serve as an example to others.

Original gives back to the community by doing whatever she can at every occasion and by getting involved in professional spheres and associations. In this regard she strongly asserts “If every one of us contributes, in our own way, which will collectively result in giving back to the community” Very enthusiastically Original accounts her service at EWLA as her best accomplishment in life.

Having taken the culture of reading from her father, in her leisure time, Original enjoys reading, listening to radio, watching movies, and goes out of home to appreciates nature.

In her sincere advice to the younger generation, Original said “in addition to their profession, the younger generation must learn to give back to the community starting from small facial gestures and being engaged in small projects”. Her high desire to change the livelihood of the people is what she repeatedly states to lie underneath her unreserved service to the community through EWLA.  She reminds the youth to look into their neighborhoods carefully and assures that they will find something to do.  She said “that something you take for granted may be a life and death situation for somebody else; like sending the younger to school, helping the elderly and keeping the environment clean” she strongly says “start small”.

She is most grateful for the lessons that life has given her and her most gratifying moments are when she wakes up at 2AM in the morning, the time she reviews her activities of the day, and finds one good thing she did. She is also thankful of having a son and to very good friends she met in prison.

In her concluding remark, Original says “I always take care of details and like to tie up loose ends and also am dedicated to remembering important issues and share inspiring and educational stories and examples”

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