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”
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!”
Today our field team is working together to deliver school supplies to students who need a ‘refresh’ of materials for the 2nd semester, which starts on Monday.
We are also excited to share that we are now including some additional books for our youngest students in their yearly supplies! We also added tools for math, hygiene materials like soap and lotion, and more everyday notebooks.
Do you want to be part of this goodness?
Join our School Sponsorship program – $21 a month supports one of our 200 students!
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
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.
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!
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!
It’s one thing to believe in the promise of a child; it’s a whole other kind of gift to see that promise lived. Earlier this year we introduced you to eight-year-old Betsega — one of the 250 kids beneﬁting from a Roots Ethiopia school sponsorship. Thanks to your support Betsega goes to school.
Who is Betsega? He is the oldest of three; the son of a father who works as a day laborer and a mother who sells coffee, injera and homegrown vegetables at the night market; a boy who loves soccer; a young entrepreneur who used one month’s of Roots Ethiopia support (275 birr) to purchase four chickens that he tends in a coop he engineered himself. His devoted efforts mean the coop is now home to two baby chicks as well!
When we asked Betsega “If we met you on the street for the ﬁrst time, what would you want us to know about you?,” this child who dreams of being a pilot one day deftly turned the question around on us: “I’d like to know about your plane ride to my country!”
Without the Roots Ethiopia sponsorship, Betsega would soon be forced into day labor himself. Instead, he can spend his childhood dreaming and studying and working with his chickens. Here, completely in his own words, is a day in the life of Betsega.
I wake up in the morning
I wash my face, eat breakfast, prepare my backpack
I walk to school down the road
Period 1 is environmental science; period 2 is sports; then math, English, Amharic, and spoken English classes
I come home for lunch at 12:30 and check on my chickens
I return to school at 2 for one more English class, math, and more science
I come home at the end of the school day at 3:30
I wash my uniform
I do my homework
I help my Mom while she works to get ready to leave for the market with her injera. I make coffee and anything else she needs me to do. I am good at making coffee!
At 6 I start reading and I study until 8 when my Mom returns.
I help make dinner and roast the coffee. For dinner we might eat potatoes (dinich), kocho (local food), vegetables (gomen), and corn bread.
Then we all wash our legs and go to bed. Sometimes I am too tired to wash my legs and I fall asleep, so I’ll wake up and feel my Mom washing my legs for me.
This is the type of productive and safe day we wish for every child.
Betsega’s chicken coop
An annual commitment of $300 will go far in the year ahead, not just in miles to rural schools where Betsega and other school sponsorship students live, but far into their everyday lives.
Are you ready to educate children in Ethiopia? If so, please SHARE this with others who might want to learn about the benefits of an Ethiopian education!
UPDATE: This blog post was written in 2017 and today Bestega is still working hard to help his family while excelling at school. He’s 13 and in 7th grade. His bright light continues to shine!
10-year old Dinkenesh is an Ethiopian education success story. In a worn notebook, she precisely prints today’s school lessons. This book is her greatest pride, and each page represents another day she is back in school.
Ethiopian Education is A Privilege
School is a privilege that many Ethiopian children cannot afford. Some children are needed to bring home income for families, others cannot afford the school uniforms and nominal fees necessary to step into a classroom. Fewer than half of the country’s children attend school regularly, and that number drops to 25% in higher grades.
For girls like Dinkenesh, there are even more obstacles to education. Fewer girls make it to secondary school than boys, and the literacy rate of young Ethiopian women is only 47%, far lower than men of the same age. For a time, Dinkenesh joined the 130 million girls around the globe are denied access to education.
I was so sad when I could not go to school. I needed to work and help my family.
You Can Provide An Ethiopian Education
A SCHOOL SPONSORSHIP from Roots Ethiopia gave Dinkenesh the opportunity to return to school this year.
For her, it’s the chance to hold a book, carefully pen English words and science terms into her notebook, while also helping out her family after school.
Now I am so happy I can go to school, and still I help my mother make injera when I can.
She has a lot of catching up to do. But her time in the classroom is about more than that day’s lesson.
For every year she is in school, the possibilities of being literate, earning a sustainable income, holding off marriage and raising healthy children increase. Her education will be a legacy—if Dinkenesh goes to school, her future daughters are twice as likely to attend.
Dinkenesh doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. Her dream is right here, in this chair with a book or on a bench in her classroom, watching the teacher fill the chalkboard with new ideas. She is happy to learn and to be a part of a vibrant, packed-full class of kids who are the exception to the education crisis in Ethiopia.
Dinkenesh also doesn’t know how much her education impacts the rest of her life, her family and the community around her. She may not ever know how she is connected to girls around the world who desperately want to learn, too. What Dinkenesh clearly does understand is how much possibility is on each page in front of her. She shows it by giving it great care.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Give an Ethiopian Education to Children
Join us in providing 175 school sponsorships to eager children in Ethiopia. During this month of celebrating women, we ask you to invest in girls like Dinkenesh who will change the world—one page, one lesson, one grade at a time, simply by loving the chance to learn.
Your investment of $21 a month will send a student like Dinkenesh to school with all the necessary supplies—a uniform, backpack, pens and, of course, that treasured notebook. It will also provide a small nutrition support stipend to the family to ensure that children have the freedom to attend school rather than work.
An annual commitment of $250 will go far in the year ahead, not just in miles to rural schools where Dinkenesh and other school sponsorship students sit at attention, but far into their big, bright futures and out into the community.
Are you ready to educate girls in Ethiopia? If so, please SHARE this with others who might want to learn about the benefits of an Ethiopian education!
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.