In Nortwest Ethopia lives a community of around 500 people, founded by a once labeled crazy man called Zumra Nuru. Nuru never had any education, despite being a very bright and inquisitive child. Growing up, he deemed this increasingly unfair, alongside many other forms of inequality and injustice he wanted to address: maltreatment of elderly and women, the exploitation of children to make money and general dishonest dealings between people of different religion. Once a grown up man, he came up with the idea of creating a new religion solely based on love and equality, which made him very unpopular with his family and local community but has grown into it’s own tribal community ever since. The Awramba are completely self-sufficient and follow 4 principles: respecting equality of women, caring for the elderly, respecting childrens’ rights and avoiding bad deeds. Due to the equality of all the members in the community, it has become a safe-haven for widows, single-mothers, orphans and elderly with family who would have fallen into poverty in any other Ethiopian village.
Ethiopian documentary photographer Maheder lived with the Awramba community and learned that their way of living has been very succesful so far. Maheder was one of 12 participants in World Press Photo’s Masterclass for upcoming visual storytellers. You can read an interview with her and her work in Ethiopia right here.