Early in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic shut down our ability to provide the tuberculosis clinic in Elista, Kalmykia, Russia with additional assay supplies. In April 2021, communication and supply chains began to reemerge and in May 2021 we were able to resupply the clinic. But all communication and interaction with our Kalmykia partners ended with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. At this time, it seems highly unlikely that our almost ten-year effort to assist Kalmykia with their TB eradication program will ever be restarted.
Since September 2021, our project in Ethiopia – where, in partnership with Limalimo Lodge and the local community, SFI funded the construction of two school buildings in the village of Dib Bahir – has been on hold during the ongoing conflict between the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government. Dib Bahir is very near the border with Tigray, and fighting took place through the village as well as other nearby communities. For a while, the school buildings housed TPLF fighters. After government forces and Amhara militia pushed the rebels back, government solders and refugees inhabited the buildings. During this period, much of the furniture was destroyed, but thankfully the buildings were not otherwise damaged. In October 2022, the conflict had moved far enough away that students began to return to the school. And at the start of November 2022 a peace deal between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF was signed. Time will tell the peace will hold. In the coming weeks, it is likely that SFI will provide financial assistance to acquire needed new classroom furniture as well as make other improvements to the buildings and school campus.