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Blog category: Tours

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%.

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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, shop.linkethiopia.org, 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

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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

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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 , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do we have a Right to Education?

Written by Laurence

It might seem like a simple question with an obvious answer; yes.

But across the world it’s not necessarily that simple. Children surely have the right to education. But do adults? What kind of education are children and young people entitled to? Should we have to pay for education, and if so, does education still exist as a fundamental right? Or is it now a commodity like gold, corn, property or oil?

UNESCO - Out of school children

Following the intro animation you can explore the situation in Ethiopia by going to the right-hand bar.

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Even if we all agree that we, or at least children, have a right to education, does that mean that all children will now have that education within their grasp? Will governments and institutions rise up and sever the chains holding back girls, rural children, poor children and others? Unfortunately, when you look around the world today, even with the Right to Education enshrined under Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 58 million children around the world are still out of school.

The UNESCO graphic, which you can access via the image above, explores some of the reasons why children in a variety of circumstances struggle to access education:

  • Lack of access in rural areas,
  • More than half of boys aged 7-14 work,
  • Many girls work or undertake chores at home,
  • Poverty keeps three-times as many poor children out of school than their richer counterparts.

There is such a variety of challenges facing children in a country like Ethiopia that sometimes you marvel even at the luckier children who do have access to education – the boys who work part-time to help support their family; the girls who spend so much time looking after young siblings, cooking and cleaning; the children who walk miles every day just to get to school.

Link Ethiopia began with the question ‘why education?’ What is so important about education, why does it matter, and what changes does it bring to the lives of young people? Perhaps this seems like another obvious question with a clear answer. But in order for governments, institutions and people to change – to see that 58 million children out of school across the world is a disgrace – we sometimes have to bluntly show why education is so vital.

7MajorImpacts-01_SMALL The impacts of education on an individual’s – and a country’s – future can be considerable. © Link Ethiopia

The above graphic attempts to do that. Things are always more complex than graphics, charts and reports can show. And many of the benefits of education are intangible and can’t easily be mapped, recorded, or given a financial value. But here are some basic facts that highlight just how important education is – for health, wealth, happiness and much more besides. And I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, 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 |

A Day in Addis

Written by Ben Robinson

Many volunteers are able to spend just one day in Addis at the beginning or end of their stay in Ethiopia. Here Ben, a previous volunteer, outlines his recommendations of where to eat and what do with that day. One option in Addis is to stay at Leya Hotel, and these recommendations are written from there.

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Breakfast – Sunbird Cafe

“Go out onto the main road outside Bole Mini and cross over the road. Turn right heading back towards the airport and go past the NOC petrol station. Just past here almost on the roundabout you will find Sunbird Cafe on the left. Its on the ground floor and has big glass windows and the name is massive so you can’t really miss it. Both the fatira and pancakes are good here as are most things on the menu.

Lunch – Taitu Hotel

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For lunch go to the Taitu Hotel between 12 and 2.30pm. It’s situated in Piassa and is very well-known so you can always ask people. Get the vegan buffet as it’s a nice mix of Ethiopian and Italian style food. The hotel is also the oldest in Addis Ababa (and probably Ethiopia) and is a very charming and beautiful building. Also a good, comfortable place to stay, though not as inexpensive as some other hotels. If staying the evening in Addis, check out the ‘Jazzamba Lounge’ Jazz club, which is attached to the Taitu Hotel and is a fantastic place to catch some amazing local music – funky jazz, classical Ethiopian folk and more.

Dinner – Lime Tree Cafe

From the hotel go back onto the main road outside Bole Mini and stay on this side of the road and turn left. Walk for about 5-10 minutes, you will go past Kaldis Coffee, Friendship Supermarket, Parisien Bakery, and lots of cafe’s in buildings set back from the road. Once you are past all of these you will see a 3/4 storey glass building set-back from the road with a sort of car park down below. There is also a large Zemen Bank building to the left. You go down the ramps to the car park and into the glass building. There is a hotel lobby on the ground floor on the right. Lime Tree is on the second floor, and there is a cocktail bar on the first floor and Kiriftu Diplomat restaurant in the building as well.

Things to do –

Red Terror Museum:

If you were to do one thing in Addis this should be it. It’s a small museum about the oppressive Derg regime. No entrance fee, only donations (we donated 50 birr each). To get there go out onto the main road and cross over to the other side and flag down a blue and white minibus. All buses should go to ‘Stadium’ but you can always just check my simply asking ‘Stadium’. Take the bus all the way until it pulls into the chaotic ‘bus station’. The bus costs 3 birr.

Stadium is the central bus station and you can get anywhere in the city from here, so if in doubt just get a bus back to Stadium and go from there.

Meskel Square

The bus station is essentially on Meskel Square which is the central square in the city – its worth climbing up the steps for a bit of a view of the city. To find the Red Terror Museum walk through Meskel Square to the opposite end to which the minibuses parked and back up the main road (stay on the same side of the road) that you came down for a couple of minutes. You will go past a cafe and then you will see the museum.

If after the museum you want lunch then you can just walk back to the bus station you can ask for the bus to Piassa (3 birr) and then find the Taitu Hotel from the bus terminal in Piassa – just get out at the end when everyone gets off.

Ethnological Museum

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If want to do more sightseeing before lunch then you can go to the Ethnological Museum which gives a good history of Ethiopia and has lots of traditional Ethiopian artefacts on display too. Take your student cards for a discount.

To get there go to bus terminal at Stadium and ask for ‘Arat Kilo’ (3 birr). At Arat Kilo then ask for the bus to ‘Siddist Kilo’ (1.5 birr). This has the ‘Yekatit 23’ monument in the middle of the roundabout. Then from here you carry on walking up the road, over the roundabout, straight ahead (Algeria St) for about 5-10 minutes. The museum is within the University Campus so if in doubt just ask for the university. Once you go through the main university entrance just keep walking in a straight line through the campus all the way to end, but once in the campus if you ask for the museum people will point you in the right direction.

If you are then going for lunch at Taitu (the buffet stops at 2.30pm) walk back to Siddist Kilo, take the bus to Arat Kilo (1.5 birr), and then take the bus to Piassa (3 birr). If going to the museum after lunch take the bus from Piassa to Arat Kilo (3 birr) and then go to Siddist Kilo.

St. George Cathedral, Derg Hammer & Sickle Monument and Lion of Judah

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If you have time you can also go and see the St George Cathedral in Piassa There is also the Derg Hammer and Sickle monument on the main road from Piassa to Stadium if you are interested. At the bottom of this road you will find the Lion of Judah monument – the symbol of the Ethiopian monarchy.

Getting home

If you are in Piassa then you can find buses that go all the way back Bole (5 birr). These are the ones with the Orange signs on top. You just get out when you see the Bole Mini sign on the main road. Say ‘waraj’ to stop the minibus. But if you can’t see then all the conductors know Bole Mini so you can always ask them.

If you are at the museum and are trying to get home from there, then walk to Siddist Kilo, take the bus to Arat Kilo (1.5 birr), then take the bus to Stadium (3 birr) and then from there take the bus to Bole (3 birr).

Of course if you don’t fancy the bus you can always get a taxi (the blue and white cars). From Piassa to Bole shouldn’t be more than 150 birr, medium trips e.g. Bole to Stadium, Stadium to Addis Ababa University should be around 100, and shorter journeys e.g. Siddist Kilo to the University about 50. Prices are a bit higher at night.

Going to airport

Aim to arrive at the airport 2 hours before your flight. Remember to go to the right terminal – the International and Domestic are close together, but make sure you’re not waiting in the wrong one. There may be queues to get into the airport, but don’t worry security is at the entrance, and its just one big queue to get through security and check-in and there shouldn’t be any queueing at all after that.

The man at Leya Hotel can arrange a taxi for you from the airport – arrange it with him the night before. We paid 70 birr.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Addis, and that your time volunteering goes well!”

Posted in 2014, Ethiopian culture, Tours, Volunteering |

Gelada Monkeys – Exclusive to Ethiopia!

The Gelada old-world monkey is endemic to Ethiopia and only found in the highlands, with large populations residing in the Simien Mountains, in the North. The Gelada’s have adapted to the cooler climate; with their thick coats these rugged mountaineers are protected from the cold.

Gelada Baboon

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Interestingly they’re the only monkeys on Earth that survive on a meat-free diet, feeding predominantly on mountain grass. The lack of calories in their diet means they spend most of their day grazing and sitting down to save energy. Appropriately, the literal translation of ‘vegetarian’ (in relation to animals) in Amharic is ‘Sar bel’ or ‘grass eater’!

Geladas reside in large groups and are some of the most sociable and peaceful of primates, preferring to settle internal disputes by pulling faces rather than through violence. The male Gelada can be particularly stunning, and is in possession of a golden mane and heart-shaped red patch on their chests.

Our tour of Northern Ethiopia provides the opportunity to see the Gelada Baboons in their nature habitat (alongside a host of other incredible sights, sounds and smells); the Simien Mountains – so you can enjoy watching them eat grass and puff up their ‘heart-shaped boxes’ in macho face-pulling contests:

http://web.linkethiopia.org/get-involved/Tours/

Posted in 2014, Ethiopian culture, Ethiopian news, Tours |

Growing tourism for Ethiopia. Why not experience this beautiful country for yourself?

Written by Julia Wathen

The tourism industry in Ethiopia has long been left trailing behind other African nations, yet it seems people are beginning to appreciate and embrace the culture and wonders of this amazing country. The visitor numbers are growing by 10% each year, the Simien Mountains National Park (a prime tourist site) has experienced a huge increase in the number of tourists from 5,000 in 2007 to 24,000 last year. Read more information about tourism in Ethiopia here.

Ethiopia is a beautiful country with warm friendly people and we offer guest tours to introduce you to the country. The tour provides exposure to the richness of Ethiopia – its culture, music, food, religion, historic sites, wildlife and of course it’s hugely welcoming people. At the same time you are supporting the education of children in the country with all proceeds from tours going directly to our work in Ethiopia. To find out more about the 12 day tours we offer click here.

Mountains

Posted in 2014, Ethiopian culture, Ethiopian news, Tours |

Melkam Fasika for all — Happy Easter Everyone

Written by Julia Wathen

Fasika (the Amharic word for Easter) follows the Eastern Orthodox calendar and tends to fall after Easter in the Western calendar. However this year both calendars have aligned and so Easter falls on the same date as the Orthodox and Latin/Protestant celebrations – April 20th 2014. In Ethiopia, Fasika is considered more important than Christmas as death has greater meaning than birth in Orthodox Christianity, and Christmas has not become the secular holiday which it currently is in the West.

Chris on the Cross

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Similarly to Easter in the UK, a period of fasting occurs prior to Easter Sunday (known as lent) although the fasting before Fasika is more intense, taking place over 56 days, during which time no meat or animal products of any kind are eaten. One the eve of Easter families participate in a church service lit with candles, this usually ends around 3am. Afterwards, everyone returns home to break their fast and celebrate the risen Christ.

Easter Sunday amongst Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia is a day of celebration, there is a release of enjoyment after the lenten period which represents the suffering of Christ. Families and friends gather for feasts and Doro wat, a spicy chicken stew, is a traditional dish often served by many on Easter.

Posted in 2014, Ethiopian culture, Ethiopian news, Tours, Volunteering |