We Africans are great storytellers. We like to say “once upon a time” or “when we started this so many years back”. It gives us an aura of wisdom. We expect our people to give us a standing ovation. Picture an old African freedom fighter with his whiskers in his left hand and his cane on his right accepting accolade of his people. I am, being a true son of Africa, not any different from that old freedom fighter. Be patient with me when I tell you the story of AIRD.

AIRD was established as a reaction to some thinking that Africans always need leadership from outside even to help themselves or come to the rescue of their own kind when mother nature shows them her other sides.

Experienced executives and disaster management specialists Mr. Gizaw Shibru and Mr. Mathias Temesgen Daniel said, “We have got to change this. We should start to help ourselves by ourselves. We need to break this dependence and set good example for our compatriots.”

With no malice to others and the best cooperative spirit from people of goodwill from all over the world, these two gentlemen armed with no economic resource but their dreams created AIRD.

In the course of AIRDs growth, times were many when darkness was just few minutes away. The nervousness hours of sunset were long and painful. Through the struggle of Gizaw and Mathias and all the people in the organization as well as support from similarly established organizations AIRD managed to push the dark hours away. Now we see AIRD climbing the morning hours to the pinnacle of noon. We see AIRD transcend from personal drive to the institutional framework operating in nine sub-Saharan countries; much beyond the dreams of the Founders. I salute all institutions, people and leaders who helped AIRD reach where it has reached now. I believe that with the drive of the individuals responsible for it up to now and the support of people of good heart to Africa, AIRD will be propelled to even higher summits to be a shining example of what Africans can do.