Thursday, 8 October 2009

Ethiopia - Ethiopian Scools Project

Hello Don

I was speaking with Geraldine McCoy about her aid work to Hungary and she spoke to me of your role in UNESCO and said you may also have an interest in our work in Ethiopia.

Our charity, Ethiopian Schools Project, has a volunteer - run charity shop in our local town of Randalstown N. Ireland. We have been able to provide a number of furniture items, baby items and clothing to assist Geraldine and others in filling a 40ft container to provide for the needs of a group of people in Hungary.

Ethiopian Schools Project was started by my wife Christine and I in early 2007 when we set up a small committee to see if we could raise funds to provide education for a large group of children in an impoverished community in a large city called Shashemene in South Ethiopia.

We had been in this area with Habitat for Humanity in 2006 and were challenged when we saw so many children with no education provision in their area.

From a small beginning we raised sufficient funds to rent a vacant building in Shashemene and began a school for 160 children(Sept '07) employing teachers from the local area and managed by a local committee.

In our home town we were very fortunate to obtain the use of a vacant shop premises in May 2008 to commence a Charity support shop and this has been well supported by our local community here in Randalstown N. Ireland. This is now our main source of funding for the Schools Project, staffed by volunteers and supported by all sections of the community.

The number of children in the school was increased to 210 (Sept'08) and at the same time, following a year of negotiation with local authority in Shashemene, we were granted a piece of land to commence the building of a new school. Construction began right away and on 12th July '09 our new school was opened with current provision for up to 320 children.

All the children from the rented building have transferred to the new school along with over 40 new entrants. At this time the enrolment is 257 and this number will be increased each year provided our support finance can be maintained. Our construction plan also includes a 3rd block of classrooms which is presently under our consideration and if completed will raise the student capacity to around 500.

We visit the project in Ethiopia 2 - 3 times each year and invite other interested people to travel with us. Back in July '09 we had a group of 9 including a doctor, nurse and 2 teachers from N. I.

We have a local, approved committee in Shashemene who oversee all aspects of the project and we communicate regularly by email and regular visits for face to face discussions. In addition to our main goal of education provision for the children we have also made progress towards improved nutrition and health care for the children as well as adult education for the parents and others in the local community.

We commend our Project for your interest.


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