Not even the rains down in Africa can keep us from our work to support quality education for all! And yes, we are quoting the classic Toto hit song, now covered by Weezer.
No Barriers to Education: for Teen Girls
You may already know that Roots Ethiopia provides School Sponsorships to 200 rural, poor students in many communities. Continue reading “No Barriers to Education: for Teen Girls”
200 School Sponsorship Students… FUNDED!
Thank you, thank you, dedicated donors, for helping our School Sponsorship program to expand, sending more kids to school in 2018 than ever before. Continue reading “200 School Sponsorship Students… FUNDED!”
Breaking Down Barriers to Education!
One of the things we are most passionate about here at Roots Ethiopia is identifying and removing the barriers between all rural kids and a good education.
Some of those barriers involve financial means or distance from a school or adequate seating in a classroom or the availability of books.
And sometimes the barrier is a pair of eyeglasses.
Yesterday a volunteer team of Ethiopian vision professionals visited the school children we work with in Halaba.
This is especially important for the 30+ children in our special needs program in Halaba. Children with Down Syndrome have a higher rate of vision impairment, and our plan is to serve their vision needs as fully as we can.
We love that over 80 students and their families were included in vision testing. We planned to evaluate 40 special needs students, but word got out and our team of volunteers worked as long as daylight allowed.
We love knowing that so many kids saw themselves in the men and women who tested their eyes — representation matters! Maybe there is an ophthalmologist in the crew of kids tested!
We are especially grateful for the kindness and generosity of the volunteers! The children benefited from their time, their skills, and their compassionate care. What a difference this will make!
Next step: providing proper eyeglasses for these students. Stay tuned for more details!
2017: Year in Review
The past 12 months have been amazing for Roots Ethiopia. Our team has been hard at work to support local ideas for lasting change. You have made this a year of growth and excellence. As always, we could not have accomplished our work without your support. We have put together a list of ways YOU have made a difference – add a touch of coffee, some very long days on the road to remote villages, and a dedicated team, and 2017 is a year to remember. We are so grateful for your enduring support!
Happy New Year,
Learning Resource Projects:
3 NEW in 2017
- Wanja Primary School is a woman-led School in Halaba.
- 500 textbooks purchased for Ewoqet Chora Primary School’s first EVER library.
- Over 18,000 students and their families have enriched learning opportunities as part of their continued partnership with Roots Ethiopia.
1 VIP Latrine
(Ventilated Improved Pit)
with Menstrual Changing Room for Adolescent Girls
170 Students Attending School
Roots Ethiopia School Sponsorship
Highlights from our team:
- All children received backpacks, uniforms and school supplies, and they LOVED the SpongeBob backpacks this year.
- We rented a truck and delivered grain to all the families in our program.
- We listened to a lot of the hopes and dreams the children have for their futures, and we encouraged them to dream BIG!
3 Special Needs Classrooms:
2 NEW in 2017
Highlights from our team:
- Haile Bubamo Special Education classroom received special education toys for children to learn while playing.
- 10 children at Wanja Primary School were added to the Special Education roster.
- A classroom of 18 students in Halaba is now part of our program. There will be a daily snack and transportation to school added as a pilot program here.
60 New Women-Led Businesses
for 3 new Self-Help Entrepreneurs peer savings groups (SHE)
- Women in our new Usmancho SHE are very motivated to build a strong team for learning and sharing.
- The growth of SHE in Halaba Kulito means more women have joined our successful work there and have many successful mentors.
1 Office in Addis Ababa
NGO License & Country Director
*you are welcome to visit us in Hiya Hulet*
3 Teacher Training Programs
Highlights from our team:
- 2 professional teacher training for science teachers. Over 80 teachers trained in a University setting to help them create a hands-on science curriculum for their students.
- 1 professional teacher training held in Addis Ababa for 4 special education teachers.
The Roots Ethiopia Team
New Office in Addis Ababa!
Two of our leadership team members from the USA are with our Ethiopian team in Addis Ababa this week. Welcome to the Roots Ethiopia office in Addis! It’s a very productive space with so much good work happening.
Lots of meeting about the nuts and bolts of getting the work done efficiently and cost-effectively over the next three years. Meetings, reports, numbers, and more meetings.
But it’s also Ethiopia. So thank goodness for BUNA!
Girls At The Top of Their Class
Meet Three Ethiopian Girls Who Are Ranked At The Top of Their Class
The biggest reward of any Roots Ethiopia project is not just marveling how your collective generosity can transform a community or a school or a classroom. It’s seeing how that loving investment can light up a child’s face.
So we want to celebrate the smiles of three students we are proud to support at Wanja School, which serves over 500 children from the surrounding Halaba district. These three Ethiopian girls—ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in their class—are the future.
Learn more about our commitment to the Wanja School and our fundraising efforts on its behalf by clicking here!
Top Of The Class! Dubane, Lubabe, and Redit Are Three Ethiopian Girls Beating The Odds…
Dubane with her Da
ddy and her grade 3 brother, Bergena
Dubane is a 17-year-old Wanja student preparing to enter the 7th grade in September. She ranked first in her 6th-grade class. (Get it Dubane!) Dubane’s background is particularly hard; her family is both poor and socially marginalized within her community. The teachers and students of Wanja have worked hard to create a safe and welcoming environment for Dubane.
The financial crisis of her home life forced her to drop out of school for three years so today some of her peers are getting ready to begin 11th grade. Undeterred by such a tragic loss of momentum, Dubane secured an after-school laborer job at a nearby building site that allowed her to return to school last year for 6th grade. She earns 20 Birr (roughly 85 cents) for a half day of work. With that money, she contributes to her family’s food expenses, purchases school materials, and buys her clothes.
Dubane wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Roots Ethiopia attended the end of year school ceremony and awarded her a new school backpack to begin her 7thgrade, praising both her grades and grit. Dubane is an outstanding role model for all the kids at Wanja.
Seventeen-year-old Lubaba is getting ready to enter the 7th grade. She, too, was forced to take several years off from school because of financial hardships. To reenter the sixth-grade Lubaba works alongside Dubane as a laborer at a construction site and was able to raise the money needed for school registration.
With her hard-earned money, Lubaba could also afford the required school materials and clothing. (In addition to covering her school expenses, Lubaba also puts part of her paycheck towards groceries for the family.) Last year this superstar ranked second in her class.
She also has dreams of going to medical school. Roots Ethiopia is moved by Lubaba’s commitment to her future and gave her a new backpack to help her carry her dreams into the seventh grade.
Redet, Lubaba’s younger sister, is 15 years old. Like Lubaba, Redet is preparing to enter the 7th grade. She ranks third in her class. (Yes, the Aman girls are incredible.) Their family earns an income from subsistence farming. Her mother sells sugar cane at a street corner and occasionally does hair braiding services for 5 Birr.
Besides Lubaba, Redet has two other sisters and a brother. Because of her family’s long-term financial difficulties, she discontinued her education for three years. But now Redet is supporting herself by working after school as a laborer like her older sister.
She dreams of being a medical doctor. She also has a new backpack that she will put to good use this fall. Go Redet!
If you are inspired by Dubane, Lubaba, and Redet please share this article!
Click here to donate to Roots Ethiopia!
Special Education Classroom Gets Needed Supplies
Longtime friends of Roots Ethiopia, The Rikkers Family, held an online fundraiser to support teacher training requested and hoped for by the special education classroom teachers in one of our community schools.
“It was our family’s good fortune that the teachers in Ethiopia had been designing and building a wish list for their classroom, including teacher training for students with autism, Down Syndrome, and other special needs. We were ready to lend a helping hand with a fundraiser, and help supply and deliver the toys and games for the students.” — Jeni Rikkers
This article discusses how the special needs project in Ethiopia started.
Special Education Requires Special Materials
It’s unusual for Roots to bring materials in from outside of the country because we are committed to sourcing labor and materials locally. This was a unique case because of the difficulty finding local items. Roots Ethiopia’s team, the teachers at Haile Bubamo, and a special education consultant crafted a “wish list” on Amazon. The project was off and running.
“Our family used social media and email to share our effort to outfit this classroom with these specific hands-on classroom toys. The call to action was sent and within days the boxes arrived at our doorstep. Oh, so many boxes from people all across the country!!! Boxes were filled with goodness, such as sensory toys, puzzles, balances pods, Magnatiles, fidget toys, and blocks. Toys for large and small motor skills, to learn counting, colors, and letters. As we opened each box we could feel they were filled with…. hope!” –Rikkers Family
Students Enjoy Toys, Games & Puzzles
The delivery of these fantastic learning resources made students and teachers inside of the cheerful blue walls of the classroom jump in delight! Volleyballs and soccer balls were pumped up; Magnatiles were assembled into colorful structures; balance pods were laid out on the floor; fidget spinners were distributed, and blocks were fashioned into “mekina” (cars). No common language was needed to understand how to experiment with these colorful items.
Teachers Enjoy School Supplies, Too!
Jeni received some basic training during the months prior to travel so that she could demonstrate the use of many of the items for the teachers. Each toy was a source of inspiration for working with students. Blocks, games, and puzzles were discovered with laughter, fun, and learning. For example, the teachers loved how the game Twister is used to identify colors, simple instructions, and identifying right and left. The room full of children and adults alike were exploring, laughing and playing!
Now, these teachers can “pass on their knowledge” and new experiences to other teachers who serve children with special education needs in other schools!
“After all the pieces of luggage were emptied, we shared an Ethiopian coffee ceremony and ate himbasha bread together. We took the pumped up soccer and volleyballs into the courtyard and realized, again, that language is not needed to connect. A ball, a sense of play, and a desire to be together are all that is ever needed.” –Jeni Rikkers
Roots Ethiopia’s Community Identified Work Is Changing Perceptions of Special Needs Children
This classroom is, in fact, very special, and now has superb learning tools contributed by so many loving people across the world! What’s more —- THIS WEEK the teachers and their vice principal are in Addis Ababa to receive special education training. The teachers asked for this opportunity, and with the help of Roots Ethiopia and another generous family, the teachers are growing their toolkit for these precious students in Hosanna.
Many thanks to the Rikkers Family and the other generous families who helped to make this unique and special delivery possible!
Donate to the Roots Ethiopia General Fund to support increased community-led work in Ethiopia.
This story was contributed by Jennifer Rikkers, of Jennifer Rikkers Art. Jennifer is a longtime supporter of Roots Ethiopia and has traveled to the field with Roots Ethiopia twice.
If you found this story inspirational, please SHARE it with others who have a passion for lessening the stigma of special education throughout the world!
7 Incredible Things YOU Did in 2016!
I could not blot out hope, for hope belongs to the future. –Lu Xun
See the dream. Be the impact. Feel the success.
The 2016 sun has set an incredible 366 times, shining a light on all the ways your gifts to Roots Ethiopia have turned dreams and challenges into success. As we begin what will surely be another year of work to create lasting change in Ethiopia, we thought we would bring you a year in review, by the numbers.
Here are 7 phenomenal ways YOU turned local ideas into lasting change:
- 15,000 students and their communities were enriched through Learning Resource Projects that focused on making the school learning environment the best it can be. Desks, chairs microscopes, books, shelves, concrete floors, chalkboards, libraries for public use, the list is long. The impact is broad. The local community is inspired.
- More than 8,600 community members received temporary food support during the months following drought-related crop failures. In the darkest of days, these food staples allowed kids to keep going to school and families to stay strong.
- 113 librarians and 39 science teachers received intensive training in their field to become better leaders and to improve their innovative use of local materials as teaching tools.
- 11 rural schools were recipients of new books in the local language(s). 6,000 students can now expand their literacy skills and love of reading.
- 175 students attended school with all-inclusive School Sponsorships.
- 40 boys and girls participated in a new sports-based program designed to develop youth leadership skills. The program includes uniforms, sports equipment, and instruction.
- Over 300 women and men built their own small businesses that sustain their families. 19 Self-Help Entrepreneurs were in place in 14 project sites for the small business owners to increase their capacity to earn income, increase their self-confidence, and work for social change.
These accomplishments all began as the dreams of small Ethiopian communities. You brought the resources, and you stood strong in the face of the serious challenges that threatened the livelihoods of so many. You gave monthly, or all at once or both. Your hope for better lives for Ethiopia’s poorest families was the thread that linked possibility to progress.
Thank you for an amazing 2016.
In 2017 we will see change, growth, and new opportunities. In partnership with your commitment, here’s to the hope for a better future for all of Ethiopia.
The Roots Ethiopia Board of Directors
Roots Ethiopia is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working in Africa, specifically helping Southern Ethiopia. Roots Ethiopia supports community identified solutions for job creation and education.
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