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Burbax Village

Spread out across the highland plains of northwest Ethiopia, Burbax is a village of around 5,000. Residents here spend long days farming the land to produce food for their families. Despite hardships, the people of Burbax are hopeful and incredibly welcoming. Their musical talents are nationally renowned.

Amhara Region
located in the northwestern part of Ethiopia
Village Life

The Need in Burbax

When we first arrived in Burbax, we found more than 5,000 people living with dirty, contaminated drinking water. Waterborne disease was rampant. The education facilities in Burbax also needed to be replaced. Children attended classes in stick huts with mud floors — if they attended class at all.

In addition, villagers often suffered deadly infections from treatable injuries. Many were dying from preventable illnesses. It was clear that they needed health facilities to provide vaccines, maternal care and basic first aid. See our progress.

Meskal Holiday

Every September, villagers in Burbax gather together to celebrate Meskal, a vibrant and joyous holiday. Observed in Ethiopian Orthodox Churches across the country, Meskal — which translates literally to “cross” — commemorates Saint Helena’s discovering of the True Cross in the fourth century.

In Burbax the celebration has a festival-like feel, as villagers gather hundreds of yellow meskal flowers — so named for the holiday — and burn a huge bonfire. As ever in Burbax, there is singing, dancing and immense joy.

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Village Location

Situated in the North Gondar Zone of Ethiopia’s Amhara region, Burbax is surrounded by the lush plains and hills not far from the Simien Mountains.

Ten miles to the south is Lake Tana, Ehtiopia’s largest lake, and ten miles to the north is the city of Gondar, which once served as the capital of the Ethiopian Empire. Across the lake lies Amhara’s current capital, Bahir Dar. While less than a mile from the main road that winds from Bahir Dar to Gondar, Burbax feels as remote and rural as any village.

Village Culture

When they aren’t hard at work in the fields, villagers in Burbax are often playing instruments, singing and dancing. Burbax is nationally famous for musical mastery, and the reputation is well deserved. Village children hone musical skills and often grow up to join groups of musicians that travel from town to town performing for a living.

At times of celebration, villagers gather together to sing, clap and dance. Burbax is a vibrant, colorful town with an overwhelming sense of community and great joy.



October 29, 2013

Update on Nani and Yetemork

On a recent trip to Burbax, the Glimmer team met up with students Nani and Yetemork, whom we met back in 2009 when we started our work here. When we visited the girls in their home, we also met Yetemork’s mother, Lomi, who... Continue Reading

September 27, 2013

Meskal, The Festival of Flowers

The Meskal celebration is a joyful time in Ethiopia. Held annually in late September at the end of the rainy season, the landscape is abloom with vibrant yellow “meskal” flowers named for the holiday. Bonfires are built... Continue Reading

September 25, 2013

Burbax Continues to Thrive

We spoke to Burbax’s village chairman, Mekuriaw Alemu, about the impacts of the Glimmer projects in his community. He took us on a tour of the Minzero School to highlight the positive impact of education for the students and... Continue Reading

December 5, 2012

Our Work Continues in Burbax

Life continues to change in Burbax. Our staff in Ethiopia reports that water is flowing, students are attending school in new classrooms and the health post is providing much-needed services. “The schools are considered the... Continue Reading

September 20, 2010

Burbax: A Community Transformed

In November 2009, Glimmer hosted its first Let There Be Hope event in Austin, Texas. In one night we raised enough to fund all the proposed projects in Burbax — water wells, schools and a new health post. We were overcome with... Continue Reading

Thank you, Burbax Supporters

The residents of Burbax Village now have access to clean water and health care, and students have the opportunity to get an education that can help break the cycle of poverty. In addition, many residents have used microfinance loans to start or expand a business that provides for their families. Thank you to Glimmer donors for supporting this work!

Inspired to help in a similar village?

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