A very special back to school season in Ethiopia
It's time for children to go back to school! This year, thankfully, schools will be open in most of the communities we work with around the world. In one region of Ethiopia, 1,580 children in 10 primary schools are heading back to class - but for a while, their parents weren't sure this would be possible. Read on to see how donor support helped communities make it happen.
A nearby conflict created challenges for children, families and schools
Over the past year, conflict in a nearby region kept children out of school.
Sichale, a teacher in one of the local primary schools, explains that the school building was damaged and teaching equipment, school supplies and other items were taken.
Many families temporarily relocated, and now that the conflict is over, it is still a challenge for them to afford school supplies for their children.
"The reason why children are not returning is their household’s inability to provide them with necessary school materials. Currently, students are using one exercise book for two or more subjects."
Sichale and her colleagues have been hard at work connecting with families and encouraging them to return their children to school.
Getting school supplies was a top priority
Community members, school administrators and local government officials agreed that restocking the school buildings and providing families with free school supplies was a top priority. In addition to the loss of equipment and books, the costs of buying new supplies had risen sharply. This made it very difficult for families, as twelve-year-old Hanan explains.
"For families like mine, it is very difficult to get scholastic materials. In the past, my neighbours and my teachers used to provide me with exercise books to help me continue my education, but now they are all affected."
Canadian Feed The Children's local partner CHADET worked with community representatives to provide school supplies to the children and schools that faced the greatest challenges. This was all made possible through generous gifts from Canadian Feed The Children's donors.
Mohammed, a local education official told us that "the support arrived for the children at a very critical time, and it will help the families not to worry about their children’s school expenses."
Schools were restocked with teaching aids, technology and sports equipment for student clubs. In all, donor gifts supported 1,580 children and 10 primary schools who faced the greatest challenges.
- 1,580 children received 10 exercise books each to cover all subjects
- Sports equipment for children's volleyball and football clubs
- Flip charts and markers for teaching and to support girls' clubs
- Communications technology supplies, including loudspeakers and USB radios to support radio education programs
Mohammed explains that the radio equipment was especially critical. Many educational programs for children are broadcast over the radio, and they are essential teaching tools for the classroom and for extracurricular student activities. Without them, "education over the radio completely stopped."
Hassen, a deputy director at a local primary school, says that before the conflict his school had 12 radios. Though they received just one radio through donor support, he says that it will make a big difference for the students.
"Now this is the only radio we have, and thank you for your support. We will use this one for very important subjects depending on the needs of the teachers and students. All the support we received today is very critical for us and it helps us to strengthen all the school clubs, mainly the girls’ club in our school.”
Excited to go back to school
Community members gathered to distribute the supplies in special community events over the past few months. Hanan was all smiles when she received her package, as were her friends. Children immediately began using the sports equipment, with a group of girls beginning an impromptu volleyball game with a brand new ball. Here are some photos of donor impact in action!
Thank you for supporting children's education in Ethiopia!
Children in Ethiopia still face a lot of barriers to their education. Their families and communities are doing everything they can, and partnership with donors has helped them support their children’s education despite the challenges they face.
That's why we are so grateful to our donors, including the Slaight Family Foundation, for helping make success like this possible. Your gifts are helping children access their right to a good education in Ethiopia around the world.
Thirteen-year-old Rabia thanks you: "This support is very essential for me and my family. Now my parents will not worry about my exercise books needs!"