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Blog category: Project expeditions
1st Jun 2016
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
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.
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.
3rd Sep 2014
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.Click to expand
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.”
23rd Sep 2013
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.Click to expand
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!
10th Sep 2013
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.Click to expand
“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!”
15th May 2012
Jumeriah College students worked with the local community to finish off this thirst-quenching project.