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INVITATION TO SUPPORT With this brochure we would like to introduce you to an initiative of appreciation – LISTROS e.V. –and invite you to become our PARTNER by supporting the publication VOICE OF LISTROS financially. VOICE OF LISTROS will be published to celebrate the 10th anniversary of LISTROS e.V.. The approx. 300 page volume will be a documentation of a decade of our work, our projects and the visions leading them. It will be compiled by volunteers.

The Ethiopian youth forms the topical centre. That is why the book title and name of the association is derived from “Listro”, a word from the Ethiopian language, or to be more precise, from the Amharic language, that also stands on our invitation. ‚Listro’ means “shoeshine boy, someone who makes shoes shine”, therefore a “shine maker”. The plural “Listros” also refers to all working adolescents in Ethiopia who, besides going to school, earn money as errand boys, lottery ticket sellers, stable boys, fruit vendors, housemaids, waiters etc. Thus, they can support their families and at the same time fund their education and therefore, in particular, a more shiny future.

BE LISTROS in a wider sense addresses all people that take their destinies into their own hands, are willing to learn from each other and get engaged in creating a global and cooperative community. That is also what Federal President ret. Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler meant with his entry into our guestbook: „We can all be Listros, let’s dare!“ BE LISTROS! Also dare it! Enable our publication and give the Listros your appreciation and the opportunity to be heard.

A KEY TO A LOT: APPRECIATION Why is appreciation so important? It is an ability and attitude in the encounter with others and is based on self-respect as well as respect for others. It shows itself in self-esteem and interest in the other, in affection and solidarity. Someone who works so hard at such a young age, like a Listro, to support their own education, the family and thereafter the entire country but does not feel appreciated, will react with anger, frustration and helplessness. In the long run it will damage that person to their core and at the same time weaken the future of the country. In fact, the extreme outcome will be passiveness amongst adolescents, a high unemployment rate, increasing poverty and decreasing enthusiasm. They will turn into a dependent and depressive part of society if they do not feel appreciated within their society.

These engaged Listros need our appreciation as well, for this is the force that motivates them the most and makes them strong. Only then will they find it easier, be better and be more creative in dealing with adversity in society and be able to unfold hidden potentials. In turn, this can kick off a positive development. This is why we invite you, in the context of BE LISTROS!, to show these young people your appreciation and make this clear by your support.

Federal President ret. Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler is the second person to havve been awarded the LISTROS AWARD. In the past 10 years 15 people have received LISTROS AWARDs for their outstanding campaigns.


WORKSHOP OF IDEAS FOR DEVELOPING NEW PERSPECTIVES LISTROS e.V. is a non-profit organisation in Berlin with the objective of building a bridge between Germany and Ethiopia. It was founded in 2003 by the native-born Ethiopian Dawit Shanko. As a youngster, Dawit wanted to go to school and progress professionally and, therefore, worked in the streets of Addis Ababa as a shoeshine boy (Listro). In 1987 he received a scholarship and has been living in Germany ever since. There are many Ethiopian youngsters just like him that create their future through their own initiative, courage and drive.

a previously unknown appreciation of their work by using art as a medium for dealing with their reality. LISTROS has 150 active members, including many artists. The projects and exhibitions of the association are, for the most part, implemented by volunteers. Part of the material costs are funded through project-related sponsoring as well as public funding. Furthermore, the association is subsidised by every purchased piece of art since part of the proceeds go to the association as a donation.

LISTROS is guided by the belief that trust in one’s own initiative, recognition of productivity, respect for entrepreneurial spirit and appreciation of the creative potential of the Listros, are the driving forces for social change. As part of the annual LISTROS CAMPAIGN we therefore translate ideas that will support these young people in their development, so that they can go from this phase of their lives into the next in a sustainable manner.

Art plays an important role within the activities of this association: As a seismograph of social changes, restructuring and upheavals, it plays with changes in perspective and offers alternative ways of reading and perceiving avoidable realities. It enables not only visions for a different, better world, but also creates space for reflection. Via art projects, LISTROS reaches a heterogeneous group of people and connects aesthetic demands with social engagement: that way the association creates a signal for the working youth of Ethiopia, who experience Hans Scheib, Sitota, 2003

Ernst Baumeister, Brushed and Polished, 2003



Ethiopia is a great example of the emerging African continent. In addition to the progress made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the high growth of the Ethiopian economy is particularly highlighted in the international community. To maintain these high growth rates and to ensure “economic growth for all” with noticeable improvements in social conditions for broad sections of the population, inclusion and the opportunity to participate in professional life are important key factors. Education and initiative play crucial roles in this matter. In 2012, less than half of Ethiopia’s population could read and write. More than 44% of the population is younger than 14 years and 20% are 14-25 years old. The large number of young workers forms an important basis for rapid economic growth, particularly in services, and as long as they are well educated. At the same time, the average schooling of an Ethiopian child lasts only 8 years. The prospects from leaving school after this short period are insufficient and result in a high unemployment rate of about 25% for adolescents, as well as often resulting in employment in the informal work sector. In VOICE OF LISTROS, the photographer Dominik Fleischmann introduces Ethiopia in his picture essay as a diverse culture and travel destination.



THE ANNIVERSARY VOLUME VOICE OF LISTROS is a publication celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the German-Ethiopian initiative LISTROS e.V. in Berlin. In colourful succession, you will find texts in German, English or the Ethiopian official language, Amharic. VOICE OF LISTROS is an acknowledgement and appeal to all partners and sympathisers who have actively provided their financial and emotional support to the work and success of LISTROS over the last years. With its wide range of reports on topics such as youth, arts, culture, sports and business in the context of Ethiopian youth, the volume is not only for the professional world. Also for interested

laypeople it will be an inspiration on many levels. The inspiring and exciting text collection consists of six components. VISIONS expresses ethical positions of the initiative, its social engagement and social objectives. VOICES OF LISTROS are the voices of the Ethiopian pupils and students who, within the framework of workshops, state what they would do if they were to be prime minister or how they see Ethiopia in 25 years, respectively. In addition, there will be citations from the 3500 „Letters to the World“ that reached us in 2010, as well as interviews and statements from the Listros conference.

One of the many voices of Listros that get to have a say in VOICE OF LISTROS: “Even though our standard of life is low, our life-affirming attitude is powerful! That is why underdevelopment cannot be overcome without us!”

MILESTONES documents and reflects 10 of the most important projects of the last 10 years including the art event MOVING BOXES and the introduction of the AFRO LISTRO currency. They all show our approach of collaborative cooperation. ETHIOPIAN REALITY consists of facts about the population, their beliefs, the educational system, and also about economy, industry and media, all presented in a clear and concise manner.

Unser Ziel, einen LISTROS DAY in Äthiopien einzuführen, wird in VOICE OF LISTROS erläutert.

TRAVEL PERSPECTIVES offers exciting travelogues from Ethiopia that will make you want to visit this country rich in cultural wealth, magnificent landscapes, a pleasant mild climate and rich flora and fauna.

AFRO LISTRO is an artistic currency designed by the Senegalese artist Mansour Ciss Kanakassy that reflects the economic potential of the Listros.


OTHER VOICES contains comments and opinions of Ethiopians, Germans and international experts, such as Dr. Asfa-Wossen Asserate and Hans Christoph Buch.

PRELUDE FOR A PERIODICAL Our plan is to publish VOICE OF LISTROS in the future as a periodical in Amharic, German and English. It will provide a global platform on which Ethiopian Listros and their friends can meet. It would like to be the voice of the Ethiopian youth and give reason for discussions. In recognition of the differences, it is to show how many similarities we have and what visions connect us. The dialogue between the people who get to have a say in VOICE OF LISTROS and the ones that pick up these thoughts will make everyone stronger for a joint global future.

KYONA Ltd.: WE ARE PARTNERS OF VOICE OF LISTROS “What makes LISTROS so special for us? LISTROS supports young people in Ethiopia who, with their entrepreneurial spirit, provide a precious contribution to the country’s development. It all starts with the personal appreciation of these young people: side-byside, common ways out of difficult situations can be found. This encounter at eye level is impressed with openness, trust and courage on both sides. Everyone should be a LISTRO!”

On the other page:“….If I do not appreciate my work, I should change my profession….” Extracts of 3500 “Letters to the world” will be translated to German and English in VOICE OF LISTROS.

Dirk Heuschen Member of Management Board kyona GmbH

VOICE OF LISTROS “I am very thankful for the opportunity to be here and for the respect you show us. While we are generally not respected, there is around 1% of people who encourage us. Although we serve people, nobody respects us. We only want to be respected, because what we do is important and valuable for us. It is our work, and we need space and recognition for this.” “I came to Addis Ababa because I wanted to earn money. I work as a Listros; I go to school five days a week and work every day after school and during the weekend in order to pay my rent and other costs. Please help us with our school costs. Furthermore, you should definitely do something so that the public sees us as normal (human beings) and not something to be ignored. Because we sit (during our work), we are seen as dirt on the street. In the last months, we raised the price of shining one shoe from 2.5 ETB to 3 ETB. The customers used this chance to air their frustrations, which the government uses to drive us out. Lunch used to cost 7 ETB and was long ago increased to 9 ETB. The government makes everything more expensive, far more expensive than us with our fifty centes. But everyone must insult us before they accept our price. Moreover, the places where we work, when we get to them at night, are dirty. Then, when we say something in defense, they tell us we don’t have the right to – these places are for everyone, not just for Listros.

VOICE OF LISTROS documents the ideas of the youths for the future of the country .

Please give us the right, at least, to defend our workplaces. The people use us as shoeshiners, and the government, as informers. What will you use us for? Why are we being treated differently, and why don’t we get support? I am a little thicker than the rest of the Listros – please don’t confuse me with a child of the rich. Thank you for this great opportunity to finally be able to express myself publicly. But I need, more urgently, more support at my school.”



Since we focus on sustainability, companies and institutions from politics and culture, as well as representatives of the media are most important to us. From them, we expect a special multipliereffect and thus the impetus for a change in perspective among the general public. Firstly, the book can be a welcome gift for business partners, customers and political friends; for others it can be a suitable present to libraries and schools in Germany and Ethiopia. Companies and institutions that pledge a higher donation in advance by purchasing a larger amount of the annual volume, will get the opportunity to explain in the annual volume how their approach to Corporate Social Responsibility relates to the Listros. We will honour all companies and institutions that support us financially by putting their logo on our website and in other communications, as well as by mentioning them in press releases. Your donations are tax deductable. For amounts under 100 â‚Ź the German tax office accepts the funds transfer slip or a bank account statement. For amounts above 100 â‚Ź we automatically send you a donation receipt for your tax declaration, as long as you provide your address on the remittance slip.

VOICE OF LISTROS informs about the general living conditions of the 40,000 Listros that work in Addis Ababa

A partner will be anyone who purchases at least one copy of the annual volume VOICE OF LISTROS (nominal charge of â‚Ź25 per issue), either for their own reading pleasure or as a gift to someone else.

CONTACT DETAILS Dawit Shanko LISTROS e.V. | Kurfürstenstrasse 33 | 10785 Berlin TEL: 030 325 91 220 | E-Mail: | Web.: BANK DETAILS: LISTROS e.V. Bank für Sozialwirtschaft Kontonummer: 302 96 00 | Bankleitzahl: 100 205 00



This brochure was funded

Concept and design: Dawit Shanko

by the generous support

Layout: Fatima Montero, Luis Alhama

of Mr. J.-P. Heinrichs

Pictures: Sabine Linn, Dominik Fleischmann


Text: Regine Wosnitza, Dawit Shanko Editorial: Axel Hübler Project Management: Kim Slager Art Direction: Lupe Godoy