We are so excited for you to meet Barkot Alemu, a 14 year old girl whose name means “Blessing the World”. What a perfect name for a shining star in her 8th grade class at Mugunja Primary School in rural Ethiopia. Barkot is the top student in her class, and she’s an amazing leader among girls and students in her village. Barkot was one of over 650 students in 13 partnering schools who attended our Saturday Tutoring Program, sponsored and supervised by Roots Ethiopia. The program was an intensive eight week tutoring course, covering key core area reviews to help high achieving rural girls and boys prepare for excellent results for the 8th grade national exam.
Barkot was invited to attend the tutorial course, attending every class in all five of the exam’s core subjects. A curious and committed student, she shared,
“Math and science are my favorite subjects in the review session. They will be important for my future career. The tutoring helped me prepare with confidence will help me secure my plan to move into secondary school with a high score, adding another step towards my future.”
(Interview of Barkot by our field team)
Barkot is wise for her age. She understands that students in rural schools just like hers need extra support to improve their academic skills to compete for the highly valued university placements after grade 12. As a girl, she is uniquely aware of the family responsibilities and burdens of support that adolescent girls often carry that keep them out of school, or keep them from attending school regularly. In rural villages like hers, girls enter school in equal number to boys, but begin to leave school in much higher numbers by grade 5. Barkot lives in a village that is typical of villages and schools where we work; poverty is the number one reason girls leave school. Rural schools have scarce teaching resources, and families often prefer a girl child’s help with livestock, water collecting, and caring for siblings.
(Barkot and some top classmates and a teacher at her school)
“I am lucky. My teachers believe so much in me. My parents, who didn’t go to school, value my education and have showed their unconditional love and support of my dreams. We are 5 children, and they believe in each of us and the power of our education.”
An ambitious girl, Barkot dreams to become either a cardiologist or a neurologist. She believes that many people in her community die needlessly due to heart diseases and other misunderstood illnesses. She is eager to succeed and keen to make a lasting change in her community.
(Barkot and her best friend, who is also a top student and attended tutoring)
At the end of our conversation, Barkot wisely shared,
“I will read, read and read again. Washing my clothes is my duty, but providing sunshine to dry is the responsibility of my Creator.”
We think Barkot is amazing. We also think a bright future awaits her! What an honor to work with her school for the past 4 years to improve their resources, train their science teachers and librarian, and spend time with their bright young students. We wish Barkot and her classmates the very BEST on their exams. YOU GOT THIS!
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