Our Story

Annulliamo la Distanza (AnlaDi) is officially founded on October 7, 1997 in Florence, where the HQ is located, and immediately starts to operate in Eritrea, a small country in the Horn of Africa, one of the youngest nations in the African continent.

The first interventions, which have been for many years the backbone of Annulliamo la Distanza work, deal with distance adoptions and education.

In 2001, our association starts to cooperate with the Eritrean Ministry of Health and since 2003 AnlaDi has been active to connect Meyer Children’s Hospital of Florence to the Eritrean Ministry of Health in such a way that in October of that year, the Meyer Hospital establishes a twinning program with the Mekane Hiwet Paediatric Hospital of Asmara.

In 2004, Annulliamo la Distanza realizes the project ” Florence -Asmara Km. Zero “: the project consists in curing Eritrean children suffering from serious diseases in Italian Hospitals. This project will receive numerous awards, including, in May 2006, the prize of the fair voluntary ” Civitas ” in Padua.

In November of the same year, the 1° edition of Annulliamo la Distanza half-yearly magazine is published: it is about AnlaDi projects and development cooperation issues.

In the same 2004 Anladi inaugurates the new emergency department in the paediatric hospital Mekane Hiwet of Asmara, thanks to funds raised privately by the association. Above the entrance of the hospital, a plate still stands, in Tigrinya characters, with AnlaDi motto “children first” (registered trademark since 2011).

In March 2005, a video produced by the association “ Eritrea as seen by Annulliamo la Distanza” is broadcasted at Puccini Theatre of Florence.

In 2006, thanks to the collaboration of Film Directors such as Luigi Falorni (Oscar nominee 2005 and Golden Globe for the movie “The story of the weeping camel”) and Filippo Macelloni, a short film entitled “Intolerance Zero” against racism in football world is presented. The video will be shown later in many stadiums in Italy thanks to the Football League, and will be broadcasted by the Italian Television, RAI.

In 2007, for its ten years after its foundation, the association receives by the Presidency of the Italian Republic the prestigious award “for meritorious humanitarian initiatives undertaken by the Association on behalf of children in Eritrea”.

2009 is a year of great change. After having worked for twelve years in the highlands of Eritrea, Anladi decides to expand its work in the rest of the world. In July, the project “Adopt a Kindergarten” is designed for the construction of a kindergarten in the district of Puok, Cambodia.  It is the beginning of a small revolution: before 2011, new projects start in Kenya and Albania.

In 2010, the project “Let’s walk together” is designed thanks to a partnership with Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna and the Eritrean Ministry of Health. The project aims at empowering local medical staff and at providing surgical operations to children with various diseases. In the same year, the association inaugurates its first Kindergarten in Cambodia for 240 kids.

In December 2012, Annulliamo la Distanza receives in the Salone dei Cinquecento of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the award “A project for securing peace” for the intervention Foster Home of Asmara in Eritrea under the seventh edition of the Literary Award “Florence for the cultures peace dedicated to Tiziano Terzani”.

In September 2013 Annulliamo la Distanza receives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the recognition of the status of Non Governmental Organization (NGO), a significant token of appreciation for our work on behalf of children living in developing countries during the long journey of the Association.

In December of the same year, AnlaDi wins the EU call for proposal for the realisation of a project entitled “ Value Diversities”: the project aims at enabling and including children and young people with mental disabilities in the schools and in the Eritrean society.

In 2014, AnlaDi receives funding from UNICEF Eritrea, for completing the project “Operating Rooms”, which involves the construction of two new operating rooms for the paediatric orthopaedics at the Halibet Hospital of Asmara. The operating rooms will be inaugurated in June 2015 by Italian authorities, Eritrean authorities and UNICEF delegates.

In November of the same year, AnlaDi launches the project “I know my rights” for spreading the Convention of the Rights of the child in Italian and non-Italian schools. A dedicated website is created for this project: artworks from Albanian, Cambodian, Kenyan and Italian boys and girls are collected.

In 2016, the Association launches the project “Adopt a Children Hospital in Eritrea”: the project is co-funded by the EU Delegation to Eritrea. The project consists in the rehabilitation of the ER of the Orotta Paediatric Hospital; the purchasing of medical equipment; organising trainings to MD and health staff; and in developing a research for detecting early diabetes in paediatric age.

In 2017, AnlaDi commemorates its twentieth year of activity, with one full day of celebration at the presence of local and national institutions, representatives of the countries where the association works, partners and many friends and supporters of Association, in order to renew impetus to future commitments.

In 2018, Annulliamo la Distanza signs a cooperation agreement with Meyer Children’s Hospital of Florence for implementing activities in health and social health sectors through trainings and exchange of good practices, with particular attention to the paediatric and public health areas.

In October 2019, the Emergency Dept of the Orotta Paediatric hospital in Asmara has been inaugurated: it can hospitalised more than 30,000 children every year. This has been possible thanks to the collaboration between Annulliamo la Distanza, the Eritrean Ministry of Health and the EU Delegation of Asmara.
During the same period, the fifth mission of medical doctors and nurses of Meyer Hospital of Florence and of Carlo Pizzardi Hospital of Bologna took place, aimed at carrying out training courses on PBLS, EPALS and USG for Eritrean doctors and nurses of the Orotta Paediatric hospital. In total, over 110 young Eritrean health workers have been trained.

In January 2020 AnlaDi signed two MoU in Eritrea with the local Ministry of Health. The first-one is about the implementation of the renovation project for the first floor of the Orotta Paediatric hospital, the second-one is about the implementation of the water project at the Orotta hospital that will guarantee access to water for all children for 24 hours a day. This project is called “I want you to drink so badly” and is entirely financed by AICS (Italian Agency for Development Cooperation).

In April 2020 Tuscany Region gave an important financial contribution to AnlaDi which ranks first for the quality of the proposal for renovating the Eritrean Orotta Paediatric Hospital.

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