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. Continue reading “Meet Barkot – a smart young student with an exciting future ahead of her!”
A teacher at a rural school tries to angle the mirror of a sunlight-illuminated microscope towards the window to light a biology slide. A student strains his eyes in the cool darkness of a classroom to read his textbook.
Often we take for granted the role that power generation plays in everyday education. But not in rural Ethiopia. In 2014, only 12.2% of the rural Ethiopian population had access to electricity (World Bank, OECD/IEA, 2014).
Reliable access to power can be a game changer in rural schools:
- Lights to read by can allow students to use indoor spaces for studying and use them into the early evening.
- Microscopes can be illuminated by power instead of relying on the proximity of windows and brightness of the day.
- Teachers can access the programs provided via Ethiopia’s educational radio and television network (EMA) to supplement their teaching.
- Teachers and students can use technology devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
- Alternative power sources, such as solar power, can reduce the reliance on expensive non-rechargeable lithium batteries, as well as reduce the health risks of lighting a space by kerosene lamps.
Roots Ethiopia has piloted solar panel installations in one of our newer schools, Lai Bedene Primary School in the Halaba Zone. With the money saved from using solar power for their educational radio, they are now planning to purchase a television for classroom use!
The installation was so successful that we have implemented it in two more rural schools…Legama Primary School in Wolayta, and Gomora Gewada Primary School in Kembata.
Reducing barriers that hold back rural schools from delivering a quality education is just one more way that Roots Ethiopia focuses its efforts on improving schools and educational quality.
1. The School is Run By Female Teachers
The staff at this Ethiopian school is 92% women. This is an anomaly in a country where male teachers and students almost always outnumber women. The female director and 12 female teachers at the grades 1-6 school work tirelessly to promote girls’ inclusion and attendance. They also offer extra counseling and tuition support for their most vulnerable students.
2. Duba, An Ethiopian Student
Duba is a 13-year-old girl in the 3rd-grade class. She is her happiest when she is in a Wanja School classroom. Duba was forced to discontinue her education to help support her family but has now shortened her work schedule (fetching water and selling vegetables at the market) to afternoons and weekends so she could bravely rejoin Wanja school. Duba told a Roots Ethiopia team member,
As a girl from a poor family with seven siblings, going to school is not easy. But going to school again gives me hope and purpose in life.
Every day Duba walks to school where her favorite subject is English and her heroes are her teachers.
3. Donations in Ethiopian Education Make A Big Difference
A $50 donation could cover a girl like Duba’s school supplies for an entire year, increasing her chances of success.
4. Ethiopian Classrooms Are Overcrowded
Seventy-two (72!) children cram into each one of Wanja’s eight classrooms, making learning difficult.
5. Help Create Future Ethiopian Doctors
Duba dreams of growing up to be a doctor one day and deserves the proper teaching tools and science lab supplies to make that dream a reality.
6. No Drinking Water
There is no drinking water available at the Wanja School in Ethiopia so children are susceptible to dehydration, lack of energy and illness.
7. Girls Need Private Bathrooms In Ethiopia
Many girls Duba’s age don’t have private bathrooms or changing facilities. This keeps them home from school up to 20% of the month. This project will increase female attendance at school, and allow them to keep up with their school work.
8. Ethiopian Teachers Care For Wanja Students
Twenty-nine orphaned students and eleven special needs students are cared for by the Wanja School staff. These students are integrated into the classroom and receive after-school care from volunteer teachers.
9. Girls in Ethiopia Need Quality Education
Many girls in Halaba, like in most Ethiopian regions, disproportionately fail to pass the exams required to progress to secondary schools. Therefore, without access to secondary education girls like Duba become an exceptionally high risk to repeat the cycle of poverty.
10. Roots Ethiopia is tracking Ethiopian Student Achievement
We value measurable results and will keep you updated on both students’ improved academic performance and passing rates as well as increased enrollments.
Roots Ethiopia needs to raise $22,326 for Wanja Primary School in Ethiopia. Our on-the-ground needs assessment determined the school needs to function at a level its students and staff members deserve. Your generous donation goes directly towards building library bookshelves, a desk for every student, and outfitting Duba’s science class with much-needed lab supplies.
If you and your family want to help us raise funds for Wanja Primary School, to be sure Duba and her classmates thrive, let us know! Also, we have a great peer-funding page. You can build a great plan right from this page.
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Our Shone Youth Sports Project has been up and running for a year and we are thrilled to share some of the progress we see playing out on the soccer field. Two board members visited the Hadiya Zone last month and met with the 22 boys and 18 girls currently enrolled in the program. These at-risk kids, recruited from local schools, are learning not just the fundamentals of the game, but the sense of pride and commitment that comes with being a part of a team for the first time. They have uniforms, two experienced coaches, and the guarantee of a nutritious snack after their twice-weekly practices. Perhaps most importantly, they are working hard and having fun.
Take star player Meselech Kanke, the 16-year-old striker and captain of the girls’ soccer team: Meselech is the youngest of five siblings and an 8th grader in the Shone village. Her Father passed away when she was a baby and her Mother relies on their small plot of farm on the outskirts of town to provide for her family. Meselech wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the luxury of an extracurricular like soccer were it not for the Shone Youth Sports Project. Before she joined the team in 2016 she lacked not just resources but self-confidence. Today Meselech says she wants to be a professional soccer player when she grows up. After watching her moves on the field we see no reason why she can’t turn her dream into a reality.
Both the girls’ and boys’ teams have had a nice taste of competitive success. Recently, the boys’ team traveled to Arba-Minch (165km south of Shone) for a tournament. For these boys, it was a first-time chance to venture beyond their neighborhood confines. They didn’t win the game but their proud coach says the team’s sense of borders opened up in a profound way that weekend. We are so impressed by the boys’ performance and wish for them more shared adventures on the road.
We are blown away by these kids’ promise, on the field, and in the world. And we want to grow the program to live up to their enormous possibility. The teams had two heartbreakingly humble requests for the season ahead: The players need regulation soccer balls and proper soccer cleats to replace their old flat-soled Chuck Taylors. As girls’ captain Meselech explained, “Because the soccer game involves running on a hard surface, a decent soccer shoe is a must for all player.” Without new shoes, the kids are at risk for foot and ankle injuries, especially as the level of their play increases.
We believe in Meselech. We believe in her teammates. We believe in those boys who had the courage to travel far and play hard. Please email us at email@example.com for more information about the Shone Youth Sports Project.
To support to our community-based projects in Ethiopia, please set up a recurring donation to our general fund. Your continued support allows Roots Ethiopia to continually strengthen our commitment to vulnerable Ethiopian communities.
November was an exciting and busy month for thirty-nine (39) Science Teachers whose rural schools have received science laboratory materials from Roots Ethiopia.
The Biology, Physics and Chemistry teachers gathered for a comprehensive 3-day training program in Hosanna in partnership with Hosanna Teachers Training College and funded by Roots Ethiopia.
There are a number of challenges to providing a hands-on, rigorous education in the sciences in rural Ethiopian schools:
- Science materials used in lab teaching settings are very limited and hard to find locally.
- Large class sizes make hands-on lessons with students difficult to facilitate.
- Most science teachers have not had hands-on lessons during their own teacher training.
Implementing community-driven solutions that use local talent and materials is a priority for Roots Ethiopia. Along with training the teachers and providing resources for their science classrooms, educators were challenged to improvise in their classrooms using locally available goods and components! It was an exercise in creativity that will lead to teachers being able to make experiments and lessons available to students in their rural and remote schools.
Of the 39 teachers participating in the training, over 20% of them were women. Roots Ethiopia is especially excited that students will be inspired by women in science-related professions.
All of the participating teachers received a training manual for their use in lesson planning, and 90% of the training provided involved practical hands-on experiments. Some of the teachers mentioned they never had hands-on training as part of their teacher training, and they were excited and motivated to use what they learned in their classrooms.
Your generosity makes transformations LIKE THESE possible. At Roots Ethiopia, we spend a lot of time listening to communities so we can deliver real and sustainable change. Thanks to all of you who helped to bring hands-on science lessons in these schools!
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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