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Blog category: Child sponsorship

Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

Written by Muna

Ethiopia is becoming a land of business opportunities. There have been reports of many big hotel chains opening new branches in Ethiopia. It is confirmed that the Hilton Hotel will open in 2020 in Awassa, one of the fastest growing cities. Thanks to the new infrastructure, not only will the Ethiopian hospitality industry grow, but attract entrepreneurs worldwide as well. Ethiopia harbours at the moment uncountable entrepeneurs. Many of these entrepreneurs have successful local businesses.


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For example, Solomie Wassie- founder of B Honey. Solomie Wassie was included in an article about pop-up shops being a smart business plan two weeks ago. She gave her opinion on the subject. “The last thing you want is to get a business licence and get situated only to find you are not a viable business,” she told the BBC. Solomie’s story started from her mother’s garden. With excessive amount left from the garden, Ms. Solomie tried to figure out how to stand out in a market that is saturated with honey. She started to mix her honey with oranges and ginger. On her first day she sold 200 jars at the food bazaar. By selling infused honey she was able to give her customers something new but yet something familiar.




But your business doesn’t always need to stand out in the crowd. One of Link Ethiopia’s sponsored families has managed to expand and operate a business from their home. Link Ethiopia supported Chali, the head of the household, with a microfinance loan so she could make and sell injera from her house. Her business has quickly become a success. During the first two months she sold 80-120 injera per day and demand is only increasing. Thanks to the success of her business she can cover rent, living expenses, and her children no longer have food-related problems. She was also able to repay her microloan months before the due date.

After the popularity of her injera began to grow, Chali was able to expand her business with the involvement of a local savings and loan organisation. She bought a second hot plate and has hired a local woman, so is extending her entrepreneurial activities out into the local community. Recently she has been approached by a shop who was interested in selling her food, so the future looks increasingly bright. Now she made the big step to sell her injera that shop. If many people like Solomie and Chali start a (local) business, more jobs can be created and the economy in Ethiopia might grow on a fast rate.

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Microfinance, Projects, Uncategorized |

Circus show raises more than $1000 for girl’s education!

Link Ethiopia is partnered with SponsorHer!, a social fundraising platform connecting girls in Ethiopia with sponsors all over the world and leveraging the potential of expatriates and tourists. We are always happy to be work with people who are just as passionate about education in Ethiopia as we are. With the help of Fekat Circus, SponsorHer! were able to put on a wonderful show to many people and raise more than 1000 USD.

Written by SponsorHer!

Under the blue tent of Fekat Circus in the old centre of Addis Ababa, Piassa, adults and children impatiently wait for the circus show to start. Some minutes later, young acrobats jump, fly and roll over the scene, followed by talented jugglers and two funny clowns.


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The public holds its breath when two young girls climb up high under the circus roof just held by a simple rope and start doing breath taking acrobatics. Big applause sets in after each successful figure and even bigger so once the girls land safely on the ground again.

More than 150 people, mostly families, came to the magic circus afternoon last Sunday, 20thSeptember. Besides enjoying the wonderful show, they helped raise more than 1000 USD that will support four Ethiopian girls to attend Secondary School for the next school year.

Maria and Giorgia opening the show

            ‘Maria and Giorgia opening the show’

Habtam and Eman, selected and accompanied by our partner MYSisters in Addis Ababa, and Hamelmal and Yezibalem, supported by our partner Link Ethiopia are among the best of their class, but their families struggle to support their school education. All four will start Secondary School this week in Grade 9. Secondary School in Ethiopia lasts 2 years and is followed by a two year preparatory class for university in Grade 11 and 12.
You can learn more about them by clicking on their name above, and if interested sign up to support them during all of their Secondary School career.


We greatly thank Fekat Circus for this wonderful show – circus art in its pure form. Fekat Circus enables professional and young artists alike to express themselves through corporal arts. Besides its professional shows, Fekat offers as a social endeavour circus training to disadvantaged children in Piassa and brings joy through clownery to sick children. This joy also spilled over to the public last Sunday, when artists, children and parents alike joined into a common dance at the end of the show.


Public and artists join each other for a final dance

‘Public and artists join each other for a final dance’


Thank you everybody for coming and for your support of girls education!

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Gender, Uncategorized |

International Youth Day – Empowering young people

Written by Cecilia

The International Youth Day – which takes place on August 12th every year- has been set up by the United Nations (UN) in 2000. Youth is considered the time of life between childhood and adulthood (15-24 years-old). This day has different focuses and aims:

1- Bringing youth issues and needs to the attention of the international community.
2- Celebrating the potential of youth as active participants in today’s global society.
3- Stress on the rights of young people to have full access to education, adequate healthcare, employment opportunities, financial services and full participation in civil life.
4- Shaping the youth not just as passive beneficiaries of development efforts but as a force for positive social change.
5- Calling attention on the limited opportunities for youth engagement in many areas of the society.


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Especially in a moment of economic uncertainty, it is important that the international community not only pays attention to the issues and needs that young people experience nowadays, but also that countries recognise the potential of the youth in terms of innovation, creativity, energy and foresight. Young people are those people who will manage the future and they must be given the possibility to learn and grow.

Last year’s International Youth Day theme was “Youth and Mental Health”, while this year it will be “Youth Civic Engagement”. Attention is being drawn to a given set of cultural, social and legal issues affecting youth and the international community is invited to both take an action to help them overcome the challenge they face and involving them in the decision-making processes. The engagement and participation of youth in society is considered to be essential to achieving sustainable human development, positive social change and peace. Nevertheless, the opportunity for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are often low or non-existent. The International Youth Day is also an awareness-raising day where attention is called on the need to empower young people who will be managing the future of the world. The International Youth Day is a pivotal moment for action, both for youth and for countries. During this occasion, workshops, concerts, cultural events and meeting are held in order to engage the youth in conversations with their local, national and international leaders and to open up a space for young people to share their message and their stories/ideas on civic engagement activities. The International Youth Day is an occasion for young people to raise their voices and this years’ theme in particular – youth civic engagement – is about the youth taking action!

web_sponsor_3.jpg Link Club

Link Ethiopia’s aim is to change lives through education. If young people have access to education, they will even be more aware of their rights, more active within their communities and in the global system. Throughout the Sponsorship Programme every year more children are given the possibility to attend school and become more engaged community members and more active world citizens. One of many projects made possible by the Child Sponsorship Programme has been the construction of a New Library for Arbatu Ensesa School in Gondar. Child sponsorship isn’t only about supporting one child’s education, it rather helps to foster a stronger, more aware and more inquisitive group of people that one day will take active part in the community and in the broader national and global system.

Link Ethiopia School Linking Programme is another important initiative that aims at creating a more aware and engaged body of young people. This project aim to promote:

1- Cultural awareness, awareness of diversity and shared aims and ambitions between UK and Ethiopian pupils and teachers.
2- Racial Harmony.
3- Exchange of ideas and thoughts about important issues such as HIV prevention or climate change.
4- Global awareness and empathy.
5- Respect of other cultures through an exchange of traditions and experiences.

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On this occasion, we want to highlight Link Ethiopia’s work, that, through the promotion of equal access to quality education, cultural exchange and respect of diversity, actively participates in the mission celebrated during the International Youth Day 2015, namely the one of creating a youth which is more engaged in civil society.

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Global Education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, School links, Uncategorized |

Child Sponsorship Clubs

Link Ethiopia’s Child Sponsorship Programme has different aspects and aims. From providing students with schools uniforms and school learning resources to building libraries and toilet facilities in schools, the programme aims to provide concrete support to young Ethiopians.


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A relatively recent aspect of the Child Sponsorship Programme are the Sponsorship Clubs. These clubs aim to give sponsored children additional support and contact with our staff. It takes place in sponsored schools and all the members of the club will meet regularly. The principal aims of the Sponsorship Clubs are:

1- Providing kids with a safe space where they can support and get to know one another.
2- Creating the environment to run training and tutorial support sessions.
3- Providing extra-school support to students facing difficulties – with our staff or school teachers.

The goal of the Sponsorship Clubs is the one of providing sponsored kids with the tools and the knowledge to lead healthy and successful lives. Furthermore, Link Ethiopia, through these Clubs, is able to provide kids with tailored support, such as specific training and counselling. Students are also encouraged to take lead in discussions, share their ideas and are encouraged to become more active community members and global citizens.

Azezo-and-Makisegnit-trainee-8 Gondar-areas-trainee-3

We recently ran life-skills and heath & hygiene training club sessions with nearly 60 sponsored students in the Gondar area. Students from schools in Gondar, Azezo and Maksegnit all took part in sessions run by Link Ethiopia staff and professionals from other NGOs. Health and hygiene products were also shared out amongst participants and our team received very positive feedback from participants. These clubs continue throughout the year and we look forward to organising the next successful training events!

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

A Child Sponsorship Room in Bishoftu

Written by Mathilde & Mike

Link Ethiopia has just finished a project of a Child Sponsorship Room at the office in Bishoftu. Already in the mind of the team, this project was made possible by the hard work and dedication of a couple of long-term Bishoftu-based volunteers.

Child sponsorship room

Over the past few months Cara and Mike painted and organized the room. Several areas are available: a reading area, computers, a space for art and a studying area.

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The reading area will regularly offer reading sessions for children looking for help with their reading or those who just want to sit down and hear a story. Also, a lending library will be incorporated into this area with books in Amharic, Oromo and English. The sponsored children will be able to borrow some books and take them out at home. The library collection is formed by fiction and non-fiction books. Volunteers in Bishoftu will be able to make use of the space for teaching and training sessions.

The computer area will offer to the children the possibility to use computer help to their studies and use different programs. There are two computers at this moment but plans are already afoot to equip the space with more in the coming months. The art area is composed of drawing materials and games. The children will be able to get creative and develop their imagination. Finally, a studying area is also proposed, with some tables and chairs available for kids who just need to find a quiet place to study.

Computer areareading area

The room will be looked after by Woynishet, a support assistant in the Bishoftu office who has a qualification in computing which can be put to good use. For the moment, 35 sponsored children will benefit of this room. Future volunteers will also have the opportunity to run their own sessions and use that room to improve their lessons.

Thanks to donations from supporters and sponsors this project has been succeeded. The entire cost of the project was only £260. The room is now ready to welcome the sponsored children. The grand opening will takes place this week. The sponsored kids, volunteers and staff of Link Ethiopia will soon enjoy this room.

Mike – volunteer for Link Ethipia

“Cara and I were working at Link Ethiopia’s Bishoftu office and we suddenly thought ‘What’s that room over there used for?’, as we spied this empty space, the walls long forgotten with old felt tip soaking through and dolphin stickers peeling away. Well okay, it wasn’t quite that bad, but we felt it had a great deal more potential!

‘What’s that room over there used for?’ we asked Haile, the regional manager. ‘It was being used as the main office before but we’re planning on turning it into a room for our sponsored kids and young people’ he tells us. ‘But we need help to get it ready’. Bingo! The Bishoftu Sponsorship Room – our latest challenge.

Painting the room

We’d heard about a similar idea while in Gondar. The idea of a lending library combined with reading area and space for learning to use computers – what a great combination.

Over the past few months, Cara and I have painted the room white (twice), then painted it yellow (twice), then created the desired areas we needed for the plan to go ahead! We also built shelves to put the books on.

Setting it up in the first place has been such a fulfilling experience for me, and I know for Cara too, and it brings a tear to the eye to see the room completed and ready for the Grand Opening next week!”

Congratulations to everybody involved, including those who helped us raise those final funds, and those who will benefit so much from using the room in the future!

Posted in Child sponsorship, Libraries, books and literacy |

Tackling the challenge of Child Labour head on

Written by Cecilia

The World Day against Child Labour was established by the UN in 2002 to raise awareness and encourage actions about a current global issue: more than 168 million children between the age of 5 and 17 are involved in child labour. What are the causes and the consequences of this sad state of affairs?

child labour ilo

Source: ILO, 2013

There are many factors that create the conditions necessary for child labour to become a major issue. The link between child labour and poverty is clear. Child labour is related to the failure to ensure that all children are attending school. Additionally, it is related to the lack of social protection of the potential child labour force. Another major factor is the economic necessity that forces many children and their families to rely on the labour and income their children can generate.

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What is the link between child labour and education?

Education plays a key role and this is the reason why The World Day against Child Labour 2015 focuses on the importance of quality education as the key element in tackling child labour issues. Today is an opportunity to reflect on the failure of the Millennium Development Goal to adequately challenge the underlying causes of child labour. Education – and its role in the battle against child labour – is a driver of social and economic development: it requires attention and investment!

Within this framework many factors influence each others: lack of education is one of the preconditions that will drive a child towards child labour and, inverting this, child labour burdens can prevent children from accessing education. These two factors are related to a third one: child labour potentially leads to young people’s unemployment later in life. While 168 million of children are involved in child labour, 75 million of young people aged 15-24 are unemployed. As the International Labour Organisation puts it:

Lack of schooling results in missing educational qualifications and higher skills thus perpetuating their life in poverty.

Link Ethiopia believes education changes lives and quality education drives social and economic development. Link Ethiopia reflects on the following question: Why Education?.

statistics on child labour graph

Source: ILO, 2013

An ILO report from 2001 argues that poverty and its related issues are the principal causes that lead to child labour in Ethiopia. Children are required to work in order to supply family income. Furthermore, children are paid lower wages and do not demand workers’ rights. Another crucial cause of child labour is related to educational problems, such as distance from school, poor quality of education, lack of schooling material and over-crowding. We are already playing an important role in the march towards better education in Ethiopia and, therefore, towards an Ethiopia free from child labour.

One key way in which you could work with us to achieve this is joining Link Ethiopia’s Child Sponsorship programme, which works to:

  • Tackle overcrowding by helping to fund classroom construction.
  • Improves quality of education by funding teacher training – e.g. phonics training.
  • Provides the resources – books, pens, uniform, shoes etc. – for children from particularly impoverished families, to reduce the financial burden of education placed on them, and reducing the likelihood that that child’s labour is then needed.
  • Supports students with additional tuition and training – to better aid them to achieve their potential.

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Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Global Education, Other news |

What can learning phonics do for 3 shy sponsored children?

Written by Mathilde

The short answer is – quite a lot! Read on for the slightly longer answer.

Link Ethiopia sponsorship programme is in place to support children who face greater hurdles when accessing education than their peers. These barriers are often simple; not being able to afford a school uniform or the basic resources necessary to complete school work. Because of their difficult life circumstances, these children and young people may also greatly benefit from additional tuition or extra-curricular training & support – so we make this possible too.

Volunteers supporting Link Ethiopia often step into this role, and with their experience, training and insight they can offer these children that vital bit of support – support they are unlikely to have seen before. What do you think the impact of this can be?

Kalkidan Grade 7 and BarbaraKalkidan, in Grade 7, learning with Barbara, Link Ethiopia’s volunteer teacher and mentor.

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A great recent example of this is the English training sessions run in Yekatit 23 Elementary School in Ethiopia. Barbara, whose background is in education, put together and ran a tuition club for the older sponsored children at the school. Barbara focused on this area because

the end of school Grade 8 exams play a big part in determining what doors remain open for future education and life“.

Kalkidan, Betelhem and Mekdes were three students who attended those sessions. Shy at first, they nevertheless worked extremely hard and gained confidence over the duration of the lessons. The focus was on learning that was relevant to their curriculum and to succeed in their upcoming exams. One method used was phonics, to improve their English reading & writing ability. In the final session, they put this learning into practice and wrote a short letter to their sponsors, detailing and illustrating their own lives and their recent progress.

The three students really enjoyed the sessions and had the right attitude to learn a lot from them. At the end they received a well-deserved certificate to attest to their hard work and dedication. These sessions were a success and a good way to focus on the specific needs of each child. We will work with Barbara to continue the English tuition and phonics programme next school year.

Mulusew, school director presents Betelhem with her certificateBetelhem received her certificate from Link Ethiopia, Barbara and her school Teacher.

The volunteer program is a wonderful opportunity to change children live’s through education. By helping them to learn, progress and succeed, volunteers like Barbara contributed valuable time and experience to build these young people’s future. You too can take part to this adventure and make a real difference. Link Ethiopia is currently looking for volunteer teachers and librarians. And you can learn more about our work with phonics here.

The sponsorship program gives you the opportunity to donate what amounts to few pence a day to enable a child to go to school, have the books & resources needed to succeed at school.

Betelham (left) and Kalkidan

Students doing their English homework

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Global Education, School links, Volunteering |

A New Library for Arbatu Ensesa School, Gondar!

Written by Cecilia

Link Ethiopia has just finished a project of construction of a brand new library building for Arbatu Ensasa School in Gondar, Northern Ethiopia.

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Nearly finished!

The new library replaced the small, ill-equipped older facility at the school, which was very inadequate for keeping up with the demand of the schools and students, and failed to match the school’s growing ambitions for improving the reading and learning ability of their student body.

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Exterior 1

The beautiful new library in all its glory!

The construction of this library, as well as other important projects, has been possible thanks to the supporters of the Link Ethiopia Child Sponsorship Programme. This programme is not only supporting one child’s education; it is helping to formulate a stronger foundation for a whole school. To help foster a stronger, more aware and more inquisitive group of young people that one day will take active part in the community and in the broader national and global system.

Arbatu; pupils in classroom

Students learning in Arbatu.

This new library also fits in the broader project focus we currently have at Link Ethiopia with our Literacy and Library project, in partnership with the Waterloo Foundation. You can read more about this project here.

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Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Global Education, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects |

How vital is education?

Written by Laurence

Many of our sponsors’ involvement and commitment to our Sponsorship programme runs over many years, and sees their students through from Elementary School all the way to University. This support is life-changing and epitomises our mission of providing access to quality education for Ethiopian students.

Unfortunately, as we all know, life has a habit of getting in the way of our best laid plans…

As a result, every year we have a small number of sponsors who are forced to stop their involvement in the programme.

We have a number of students who are now facing this situation. We’ve continued to support them and subsidise their sponsorship from other areas of our work, but unfortunately this can’t continue indefinitely.

Here are two of their stories.

AsterAster (left) lives near to Gondar town in Northern Ethiopia. She’s 16 years old but is studying in Grade 6, as she’s had to cope with numerous interruptions to her education over the years.

She currently makes the 1.5 hour walk from the family farm to and from school every day, twice a day. Her ambition is to become a pilot when she is older, and she knows that “without education I can’t achieve this“.

HannanHannan (right) also lives in Gondar. Her parents have both passed away so she now lives with her guardian and 4 siblings in a 1-room house.

She is growing increasingly worried that now that she is older, she will have to stop going to school to help support her family by working.

Hannan is a fantastically hard worker and has ambitions to open her own business, and we want her to realise her dreams.

Sponsorship over a number of years has meant that these girls’ ambition has been met with concrete support, and they’ve taken this and made the absolute most of it. We’re not talking about handouts or dependency – just the tools and confidence to succeed. Sponsorship means these students have a new school uniform and resources to make the most of their time at school, and support and training where they need it most.

It also means development projects at their school, providing a whole host of improvements – new classrooms, toilets, teacher training and more – that benefit not only sponsored children but the entire student body.

If you’re interested in support these girls and their schools, please get in touch and pass on this blog post to your friends and family.

Thank you.

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship |

Our 2013/2014 Annual Report

Written by Isabel

We have just published our Annual Report for 2013/2014 which is available to read here (link). We would like to thank you all for your support over the past year, and hope you continue on the journey with us! Below is a summary of what we have achieved with your help, and highlight of some of the work we’ve done over the past year. All of this, and more, is explored in more detail inside the report.


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Why Education?

Our work is completely focussed on changing lives through education. Whilst the impacts of schooling are experienced on an individual level, its benefits are multiplied to include families, communities and wider society. Among the benefits are an increased earning potential, a reduction in the infant mortality rate and an increase in average GDP by 0.37%.


Further than ensuring education becomes universal, we work with our link schools to provide a quality education. To ensure this, we have 5 main targets on which we focus:

• Infrastructure
• Teaching Quality
• Learning Resources
• Inclusion (of all social groups)
• Community Support

Below are some examples of the projects we have been involved in during the 2013-2014 period, each of which reflect one or more of our targets.

St. George’s School Project

‘Having worked with schools elsewhere in Ethiopia, I could see the huge contribution that St. Georges is making to improve education’
– Hannah, Teacher and LE Volunteer

Link Ethiopia supported the establishment of the St George’s School project, an initiative set up by the Northwood School Group here in the UK. St George’s, a not-for-profit non-government school, provides learning opportunities for a large intake of orphans and disadvantaged children from the local area.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

By March 2014, the core buildings were completed and already in use. The aim is for the project to continue to expand in order to provide schooling until Grade 12. A very big thank you to Broomwood Hall and the Northwood School Group for your vision and direction so far!

Case study: Dudmegn School, Gondar

In February 2014, we installed a water station of 24 new taps at Dudmegn School. Before the installation, the school was managing with just two functional taps for a population of over 2000 students. The wider availability of water in the school has resulted in a higher attendance rate among students. We are hugely thankful for the purchases made from our Gift Ethiopia shop,, and also for contributions made by the Mandala Trust, in addition to the supporters of our gift scheme.

Case study: Sincil School, Lincolnshire

At Sincil

The link between Sincil Sports College and Times Choice Academy in Bishoftu has been especially fruitful, and the partnership provided an opportunity for two students, Kyle and Ryan, to take part in the British Council funded ‘Connecting Classrooms’ exchange programme. This was a great opportunity for the boys to visit Times Choice Academy, which they really enjoyed! We are also pleased to say that Sincil were awarded funding for a second ‘Connecting Classrooms’ trip. Well done and thank you to both schools for maintaining a strong and successful partnership.

Sponsorship case study: Tejitu


Tejitu, an 18 year old young woman from Bishoftu, has been sponsored by Link Ethiopia for approximately 5 years. Through our School Links, Volunteering and other project programmes, she has been able to gain confidence in her English language skills, engaged in global learning with students at her link school in the UK. She also helped to coordinate a ‘World Challenge’ trip at her own school, which helped her to further develop her global outlook and grow in confidence. We are extremely proud of her achievements and we look forward to seeing her fulfil her ambition of studying Biology at university.

Teaching Quality


Investing in quality teachers is central to providing a quality education. During the 2013-2014 year, we were able to train grade 1 and grade 2 teachers in the phonics method. We have observed fantastic results so far, among them a 77% increase in the number of students using the library and a 65% increase in test scores for students of the trained teachers.

You can flip through the report below (click in the middle to view fullscreen). Enjoy!

Click here to see the full report and hear about the above achievements in detail, as well as the results of our work on global awareness, learning resources, and inclusion. Once again, we want to thank our link schools for your dedication, fundraising and ideas – none of the above would be possible without your contributions. We look forward to future engagements and successes!

Posted in 2013, 2014, 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Fundraising, Gender, Global Education, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Project expeditions, Projects, School links, Science and technology, Sports, Tours, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Water and sanitation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,