News blog

Blog category: Project expeditions

Andinet’s new classroom – a success story

Written by Rhi and Ama

Ethiopia is still a country of economic divides. Although there has been major progress recently, there is still an obvious gap between urban and rural areas in terms of basics such as education, sanitation and development. In the countryside, an agricultural way of life often means that time is limited, as rearing livestock and tending crops leaves little to spare. The schooling resources for rural areas are often scarce. Educational facilities are lacking, and the school buildings themselves can be old, unsafe, with poor structural integrity and reduced light and space.

As part of our rural education campaign, Link Ethiopia has been working with Girlguiding North East England and AidCamps International to rebuild schools and classrooms in the satellite developments and farming communities around Gondar. Structures that are bright, airy and welcoming are provided, as well as having more space and facilities for the children using them. This is important because with limited space, schools may not have capacity for all the children, or be able to offer education past a certain age. This means many children cannot continue in education, as the travel to the next nearest school that offers further education can simply be too much, leaving them no time to complete domestic or agricultural tasks required, let alone tackle homework. Each additional year of schooling increases a person’s earning potential by 10%, meaning that the possibility of lifting an area out of poverty becomes more of an attainable goal with the correct infrastructure in place.

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A typical classroom in a rural area

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Andinet School is one of the most recent school partners in this joint partnership. The school previously had a rundown set of classrooms, with lumpy stone floors, poor roofing, and unplastered walls. Originally built from traditional wood and mud, one in particular had fallen into a state of disrepair and was no longer serviceable as a building. Providing little shelter from the elements, the classroom was a difficult environment for young children to be in. As a small space, access was restricted and some of the children could not progress to higher grades.

Link Ethiopia worked with the local community to discuss what they needed out of a new school building. A double classroom was planned, allowing children the space and security they need to continue their education. We had worked with a volunteer architect on previous school projects, and the structural changes she had suggested to improve the life of the classrooms were also implemented here. This included plastering the mud and wood, metal shutters for security at night and use of a wooden cross beam to prevent lean on the building.

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Our volunteers and their hardwork

Link Ethiopia partnered with Girlguiding North East England and AidCamps International over the last few years to fundraise for, and sign up volunteers, to open this vital resource for children in rural Ethiopia. AidCamps team of volunteers were motivated and engaged with the project, and helped ensure the building was completed on time. A number of Girlguides will also be going out this year to continue the restoration and improvement work at Andinet School – this will be their 2nd visit.

The classroom was opened in plenty of time for the Summer term. Representatives from the education authority and the local kebele attended, as did the school director. The project build had been challenging in places, liaising between contractors, volunteers and the local authorities, so we were delighted to have opened on time and to see the difference this build will make straight away. The classroom is spacious and a positive space for children to develop and learn in. Having previously had to finish educating children at grade 3, the school now plans to educate children up to grade 5. The opportunities this will provide for the local children are huge.


The new classroom in use

Link aims to build a further 20 new classrooms in rural areas, with a focus on schools that cannot currently offer all grades. For more about how to get involved, you can read our page here.

Posted in 2016, Classrooms and furniture, Project expeditions, Projects, Uncategorized, Volunteering |

‘Beautiful by Sky Hormbrey’

Written by Laurence

The wonderful single ‘Beautiful’ is out now! The song, written and performed by Sky Hormbrey from Headington School, is raising money for their partner school in Ethiopia – Hamle 19!

The school have done amazing things over a Link relationship that has lasted many years. We really hope this amazing effort furthers the fantastic work they’re already engaged in.

You can download the song on iTunes here, and help us change lives through education: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/beautiful-single/id983283795

Posted in 2015, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Fundraising, Global Education, Other news, Project expeditions, School links, Volunteering, Water and sanitation |

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 |

World Challenge Team At Addis Alem Elementary School

Written be Zemene

“A school World Challenge team, from Winchester College, arrived in Gondar on the 24th of July 2014 to take part in a trip of a lifetime. The group of students are part of one of Link Ethiopia’s exciting expedition trips, in partnership with World Challenge, which aims to connect Secondary School students from around the world with schools and communities in Ethiopia.

The team spent a week refurbishing a classroom at Addis Alem Elementary School, and also painted two blocks to help foster a positive and colourful learning environment for the students in the coming school year.

Mixing Cement with gravel

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The school community welcomed the visitors by preparing a beautiful Coffee Ceremony and presenting a bunch of flowers for the group. After such a warm welcome, the students then prepared to spend the next week at the school!

From the first day, the group of school students started working on their classroom refurbishment project. Their main task was cementing the floor of one classroom – no easy task. You can take a look at the photos below for a better idea of the task and the incredible result! They also completed the project by painting the inside and outside of the building in bright and welcoming colours

They also painted the nearby classroom and two other blocks which has helped to make the school very attractive, and just in time for the new school year. It will help create a good impression with new students, and parents, and helps make the whole community proud of the school and it’s achievements.

We would like to thank everyone on the team from Winchester College, and to World Challenge for making the expedition possible. It went brilliantly, and the students who took part really found the trip memorable and worthwhile.

If you’d like to know more about our school challenge expeditions, please get in touch with [email protected]

Posted in 2014, Classrooms and furniture, Fundraising, Project expeditions, Projects, Uncategorized, Volunteering |

Magdalen College School staff are warmly welcomed by everyone at Tana Haik School

Written by Zemene Mersha

There was excitement in Bahir Dar recently when Tana Haik Secondary School welcomed visitors from their Oxford based link school, Magdalen College School, for three days. Ashley, Ruth and Tom were warmly welcomed and enjoyed a busy stay experiencing many aspects of Ethiopian school life as highlighted from this daily journal:

Day 1

The visitors arrived on Wednesday morning to a warm welcome from everyone at Tana Haik School. Greeting speeches were given by staff and pupils of the school, including the school vice director. Ashley from Magdalen College School also took to the stage to make a speech to the school community.

The students later introduced the guests to local traditions including music, dance and a coffee ceremony (we all know how delicious Ethiopian coffee is). The visitors were given a tour of the school, they provided over 50 books to the school library and connected with the Ethiopian staff.

Magdalen-tana haik

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Day 2

On Thursday the guests were fully integrated into the school day through class visits and observations. They were able to observe an array of classes from Maths and English to ICT and Biology. The UK teachers were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the lessons highlighting strengths and weaknesses to help in enhancing the quality of the classes.

Day 3

On Friday morning discussions were held between the visitors and the link club students to improve communication and productivity of the link relationship. The students were keen to discover more about education in the UK and how it differs from Ethiopian education.

The guests were provided with a traditional Ethiopian lunch and a farewell meeting was held in the afternoon to express their thanks for their visit. The UK teachers expressed happiness regarding the strong sustainable relationship they had built and both sides reaffirmed their commitment to developing their partnership further and making the most of the educational benefits that come from it.

The guests were sent home with some Ethiopian traditional gifts, such as a ‘shema’ scarf to make sure they had something to remember their trip to Tana Haik School.

Posted in 2014, Project expeditions, School links, Uncategorized |

Clemy’s Trip of a Lifetime

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At the beginning of August, I flew out to Ethiopia as one of fourteen Girl Guides, accompanied by four group leaders. The trip was organised through Girlguiding North East and a few weeks after the selection camp in September last year, I received a letter to say I had been chosen to take part in a community project in Ethiopia arranged by our Ethiopian-born leader, Hannah. The trip sounded fantastic, I had never done anything like this before! I was determined to raise enough money!

I had been eagerly anticipating the trip ever since, whilst patiently fundraising the money required, and I am pleased to say that all the hard work paid off!! We arrived in Addis with a sense of excitement and nervousness, and after a few days acclimatising to Ethiopia, we moved to Gondar. Our project took place at Andinet Elementary School, where we gave the classrooms a much needed lick of paint, cemented the buildings and ran a summer school with the children. The experience tested our teamworking skills which really improved on this trip, but everyone contributed to a wonderful experience.

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Each morning the children were always waiting for us with excitement, cheering and smiling, a memory I certainly won’t forget. They were so welcoming, helping us with our  bags as we got off the bus, coming to hold our hands, and even though they did not speak much English, they were always asking us how we were, and always offered to help. They were all so positive and always had a smile on their faces.  I would like to thank our translator Elsa, and the teachers at the school who were brilliant. They supported us with any problems we had and really helped us to communicate with the children by translating for us. I feel extremely privileged to have been selected for this trip. I have certainly learnt a lot from this once in a lifetime experience and it is a memory I will treasure forever. I will most definitely keep in touch with Link Ethiopia and would recommend a trip there to anyone!

Posted in 2013, Project expeditions, Projects, Volunteering |

Electricity, Water & Classrooms for the Andinet Elementary School

This summer Andinet Elementary School has had a well needed refurbishment, with the help of Girlguiding North East whose hard work has improved the quality of education for the 325 children who attend the school. It was established in 1974 and until recently was severely run down. 8 of the 13 classrooms were made from wood, mud and sticks and there was no electricity supply in the school at all. These conditions were far from ideal, with dusty, dark and damp classrooms which often inhibit learning.

This August a group of 18 Girl Guides from the North East of England have worked with us to improve Andinet Elementary School. The girls helped in refurbishing classrooms, cultivating a vegetable and shrub garden, running a summer camp for the students in the school and creating a mural with the school kids. 4 classrooms have been fully refurbished and the school has been connected to the electricity supply! This
has totally transformed the school and helped to make it a much more enjoyable and productive experience, for both the pupils and teachers!

We have also been working with the school to develop facilities and have so far supported the school to have a clean water supply with the help of Broomwood in Ethiopia!

Click below to read about Girl Guide Clemy’s experience, and to see the transformation the school has undergone.

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“Each morning the children were always waiting for us with excitement, cheering and smiling, a memory I certainly won’t forget. They were so welcoming, helping us with our  bags as we got off the bus, coming to hold our hands, and even though they did not speak much English, they were always asking us how we were, and always offered to help. They were all so positive and always had a smile on their faces.  I would like to thank our translator Elsa, and the teachers at the school who were brilliant. They supported us with any problems we had and really helped us to communicate with the children by translating for us. I feel extremely privileged to have been selected for this trip. I have certainly learnt a lot from this once in a lifetime experience and it is a memory I will treasure forever. I will most definitely keep in touch with Link Ethiopia and would recommend a trip there to anyone!”

 

Posted in 2013, Classrooms and furniture, Project expeditions, Projects, Uncategorized |

Water brings new life to Dukem students!

 

Dukem No 2 water stationIt was exciting to see Dukem 2 Elementary students queuing up to use the new water facility we recently built with our long term partners – World Challenge!

Jumeriah College students worked with the local community to finish off this thirst-quenching project.

 

Posted in 2012, Project expeditions, Projects, Water and sanitation |