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School Links Conference & British Council Training

Written by Tsegaye Alemneh & Rohan Moon

Link Ethiopia’s Annual School Links Conference and training is held in Bishoftu town and Adama town. The conference and the training took three consecutive days, 24 head teachers and 58 Link coordinators (teachers) from different schools participated in the training.

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Teachers and Directors who attended the workshop

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The aim of this conference was to report the main activities of the School Links Scheme and provide a training that helps Link Schools improve the quality of teaching and learning through fostering core (21st century) skills in to the classrooms.

‘Introduction to the core skills’ and ‘critical thinking and problem solving’ are the topics of the courses delivered to the participants in collaboration with the British Council.

After the introduction to the core skills course, the participants have got hints about six core skills and how they can integrate in the classroom. The lists of the core skills are critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and imagination, communication and collaboration, citizenship, digital Literacy, student leadership and personal development. Among the six core skills, in depth training was delivered on critical thinking and problem solving.

In addition trainees, who delivered the training, are professionals that have had a lot of experiences in delivering different courses inside and outside the country. They are also validated by the external body to give this training.

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The Charity working to improve the schools and educating systems in Ethiopia

The need for this training is emanated from the fact that on one hand many children are still out of school, but also the fact many children are in school, however these children are not learning the basics. This is badly affecting Ethiopia, which is a country located in Sub- Saharan Africa.

The participants got their own module which they could use for their future reference. The module introduces the idea of a plan-teach and reflect cycle. There was an opportunity during the workshop session to develop activity plans.

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Educating the teachers on the school systems that helps to develop young children’s learnings

As the result of engaging with the workshop material, teachers and school leaders had an awareness of the need for school systems to develop young children with core skills. The teachers planned to use a number of highly effective teaching methods to enable them to implement the teaching of core skills.

The course suits all teachers who teach different subjects in the classroom of all grade levels. Link Ethiopia is working to provide opportunities so that many principals and teachers can be benefited from this training.

Two and half months after the implementation of this training, there was a monitoring process in which the participants shared their experiences of how they integrated the training into the classroom. Most of the participants mentioned that the way they taught became effective and their student’s achievement had increased.

The concerned government officials also evaluated the impacts of the training and reported to us saying that the training was “intensive but effective”

Posted in 2016, Ethiopian news, Projects, School links, Teacher Training |

St. George’s School Phase 2 Opening Ceremony

Written by Ama Konneh

On the 9th of May, the opening ceremony for the opening of Phase 2 of our St George’s School project was held. This phase saw the construction of a further four classrooms (on top of the original 6), an IT suite for children to expand their knowledge of technology and develop IT skills that could potentially improve their future prospects, toilet accommodations to better standards of sanitation and basic hygiene, a guardhouse, and workshops. These improvements allow for a varied education syllabus and encourage creativity as well as the teaching of vital life-long skills.

“St George’s School hosted an opening ceremony for Phase 2 of construction. On behalf of the school community, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in this project and made it such a success. It was a lovely day and the photos below represent just a few of the happy memories I will take away from the event.”
Hannah Dillon – Director of Education, St. George’s School


Children singing the Ethiopian national anthem to start the ceremony

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“First of all, I am glad to be invited here for the opening ceremony of the phase 2 building at St George’s. In addition, it is my pleasure to say some words here in front of you all.
Be it in facilities, the quality of the teachers, or the teaching and learning process, St George’s is certainly the highest quality school in Gondar. The results which the students have achieved show that there is a good flow of teaching and learning.

These additional classrooms will be helpful for other orphans and vulnerable children who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to go to school. According to the information from our supervisors, St George’s School is one of the schools which produces talented students and gives us hope of the future of Ethiopia.

Finally, if St George’s School continues as it is, it will be the model school for Gondar City and for the Amhara region. We will always be at your side. Be strong and thank you.”
Mr Yigsaw Mekonnen – Head of the Gondar City Education Office


First day teaching Grade 2 children in one of the new classroms

The partnership behind this project: Link Ethiopia were brought on board the St. George’s School project by the Northwood African Education Foundation, a charity founded by Malcolm and Katharine Colquhoun, to take on the on-the-ground aspects of the projects; principally, the construction of Phase One and Phase Two of the school.

“My involvement in Ethiopia began in November 2014 when I flew here to manage the building of St George’s phase two construction.

Qualified as an architect in 2013, I was looking for an adventure and Ethiopia has definitely not failed to deliver. I moved back to the UK last summer continuing in my role as project architect for the school.

This week I flew out to take part in the opening ceremony alongside the founders of the school Sir Malcolm and Lady Colquhoun. This marked the completion of the Phase 2 construction – a year on from when we broke ground in May 2015.

It has been a terrific week, made mostly by the presence of the parents, local community, director of the education and mayoral office on the day.

After one failed bid, many macchiatos and mixed juice it was a gratifying moment to see the children take occupation of 4 new classrooms, a chai hut, ICT/library along with a new guard house, workshop, store and sanitary facilities.

As we move forward with Phase 3, which will take the school through from Grade 2 to Grade 12, it was a gratifying moment for all. Personally it bookmarked all of the fantastic people I have had the opportunity to work with and volunteer alongside.

Long may Link Ethiopia’s involvement in the community continue.”
Project Architect Lucy


The construction team, Birara(director), Lucy(architect), Sisay(foreman), Endeshaw(contractor), Malcom(founder), Elsa(manager of Link Ethiopia)

We would like to thank the Link Ethiopia and Broomwood staff in Ethiopia who worked on this phase of the project, the architects and volunteers, the construction company, the NAEF, Gondar Education Office, and all the children, families and communities at St. George’s School. Link Ethiopia would like to express our gratitude for the involvement of everyone who helped to make this project a success and give vulnerable children the opportunity to have an education.


Broomwood thank you display


The ceremony was over just before it started to rain

Posted in 2016, Classrooms and furniture, Projects, Uncategorized |

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 |

Adventures with a Donkey in Ethiopia

Written by Rory

It’s 2pm in the heat of the Gondar afternoon and I’m following the happiest donkey in Ethiopia. Happy because he’s spreading the joy of reading in for Ethiopian students without libraries … and because carrying his load of books, rather than bags of cement or teff (a grain used to make injera, Ethiopia’s stable bread) that are the usual fair of his fellows, is a cushy number.

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I am at Bahire Ginb school near Maksegnit, a small village between Gondar and Bahir Dar, to see one of our donkey libraries. Link Ethiopia has three donkey libraries – two in Gondar and one in Bishoftu. Each donkey visits five rural schools who do not have a library, one a day over a week. Via our donkeys, children can access books which are usually scarce at home and at school; they are able to read reference and textbooks to support their lessons but also to read fiction in Amharic and Oromo. These free reading sessions, as well as group stories, can be a gateway for students into the world opened by reading – reading for pleasure, reading for reading’s sake.

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Donkey libraries are a great service for rural schools without libraries. Teachers and students are always excited when the donkey library arrives and more and more schools request to be included. There are thousands of students who do not have access to books beyond their school textbook. For that reason, Link is seeking to increase the number of donkey libraries from 3 to 4, which would allow us to serve an additional 1000 students in rural schools. Click here if you’d like to help and support us to bring the Donkey and his books to so many more children.

At Bahire Gunb, a group of students are sitting in a circle around Belete, our donkey librarian. He is reading from a book of Ethiopian folktales and the class follow along from their own copies. Stage left, our mobile library sits in the shade of a tree job done for another day.

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Posted in 2016, Fundraising, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

World Water Day – Water and Jobs

Written by Ama Konneh

World Water Day is an international opportunity for people to learn more about water related problems, highlight and increase awareness on these issues, and make a global impact. The day itself dates back to 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly dedicated March 22nd as the first World Water Day and has since become an annual affair. Each year, World Water Day focuses on a specific aspect of water – the theme for 2016 is ‘Water and Jobs’. Previous years have included Water and Sustainable Development, Water and Energy, and Water Cooperation.

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Clean water should be accessible to all and has been explicitly declared as a fundamental human right – ‘the right to water and sanitation’. However as we know, millions still go without this basic necessity and are forced to drink contaminated water containing harmful bacteria which leads to thousands of cases of water-borne diseases every day.

Access to water and sanitation in Ethiopia is some of the poorest in the world. Nevertheless, Ethiopia is on its way to achieving the Millennium Development Goal related to water. More than half of the households (54%) have access to an improved source of drinking water, compared to 35% in 2005. Despite this vast progress, the improvement of sanitation is proving more challenging. The National Water Sanitation and Hygiene data indicates that children in schools are particularly vulnerable as only 33% have improved sanitation and a mere 31% have access to safe water. Samuel Godfrey, Chief of WASH Unicef in Ethiopia stresses that “we should focus on women and children as the primary beneficiaries of water in Ethiopia”. Poor water sanitation in Ethiopia means that diarrhoea is responsible for 46% of infant mortality and the capital city, Addis Abba, is ranked 6th dirtiest city in the world.

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Many of the events that take place on World Water Day are held worldwide and raising awareness takes many forms. This includes theatrical and musical celebrations of water, sports competitions, fundraising or donating to charity for those who are in dire need of clean and affordable water, and educating all generations on the importance of protecting water resources to prevent water scarcity.

Link Ethiopia endeavour’s to provide children in Ethiopia with a better quality of teaching and a range of school resources. We encourage teachers and tutors to use these materials to enhance the children’s education on this important day and further emphasise the significance of clean water as well as the consequences of drinking unsafe water-

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Learning activities:

Understanding Cholera

Exploring water sustainability

Posted in 2016, Other news, School links, Water and sanitation |

World Aids Day

Written by Muna

World AIDS Day takes place on December 1st. It’s a day to highlight the continuing spread of HIV and the need to fight discrimination, social stigma and support sufferers of HIV. At the same time we must not forget to acknowledge the progress that has been made and how close the world is to seeing an end to this viral disease. On this day many events take place around the world and people are invited to wear a red ribbon in solidarity.

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When HIV first emerged into the public eye in the 1980s, there was very little information available about the disease, how it was contracted and methods of treatment. There was no clarification made between the difference of HIV and AIDS. Forty-five years on, we know much more. HIV remains one of the worst global epidemics the world has endured, but many improvements in treatment have been made, such as anti-retroviral treatment.

Combating the disease was part of the Millennium Development Goals set up by the UN. It’s bulleted as Goal number six- ‘To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases’. According to the EFA Global Monitoring Reports, 83 countries have halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics such as India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. So in many places, MDG6 was achieved many months ahead of schedule.

We can celebrate this success today, but we can’t forget that the fight continues.

Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the “others” and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.
We proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment—15 million success stories.

Many more success stories can be told in the future.  Prevention is key, and education is a powerful tool to be used for this. Raising awareness has prevented many people in contracting HIV. Not only educating adults and children about prevention and contraception, but also about recognizing symptoms and to get tested. Finally, education helps make us all more compassionate, sympathetic and understanding of our compatriots who have suffered through this disease.

For example, educated mothers are more likely to seek testing during pregnancy and to know that HIV can be transmitted by breastfeeding. They are also more likely to know that the mother-to-child transmission can be reduced by taking anti-retroviral drugs during pregnancy; only 27% of women with no education in Malawi were aware of this, compared with 60% of women with secondary education or higher, according to EFAGMR.

EFA Global Monitoring Reports has also stated that young people who have stayed in school longer are more aware of HIV and AIDS. Therefore ensuring all children have access to school is essential. They are more inclined to take protective measures such as using condoms, getting tested and discussing AIDS with their partners. Schooling reduces the risk of HIV infection – but needs to play a bigger part in communicating knowledge about HIV and AIDS.

Since 1996 Link Ethiopia has striven to provide children in Ethiopia with better school materials and improved the quality of education in many Ethiopian schools. We have gathered school resources about HIV/AIDS and encourage teachers and tutors to use these school resources on this special day to educate children about the viral disease. Click on the links below or visit www.linkethiopia.org/school-resources for more school resources.

Learning activities

http://www.linkethiopia.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/shared_learning_activities_hiv-2.pdf

Hand-out 1: Current state of AIDS

http://www.linkethiopia.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Handout-1-Current-state-of-AIDS-epidemic.pdf

Hand-out 2: Article Jigsaw

http://www.linkethiopia.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Handout-2-Article-jigsaw.pdf

Articles

http://www.linkethiopia.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/HIV-Articles.pdf

Curriculums ideas

http://www.linkethiopia.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/KS4-HIV_Activity.pdf

Posted in 2015, Inclusive education, Other news, Uncategorized |

Chihira Elementary School welcomes Link Ethiopia’s youngest ever fundraiser!

Written by Zemene

Its not very often that donors to development organisations get to see exactly how their money has been spent, and that’s why I was delighted that young Misha, along with his mother and young brother, were able to come with me to visit Chihira school, in rural Amhara, to see the results of his committed fundraising. Chihira school is only accessible by foot – its about a 45 minute walk from the main road. However, given that a sponsored walk had been Misha’s main fundraising activity (177 miles walking along Offa’s Dyke!) I didn’t think he would mind!

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Whilst great strides have been made in education in Ethiopia recently, there unfortunately remains a large gap in both access to, and quality of, education between urban and rural areas. The inaccessibility of rural schools makes them harder to support, and the more agrarian way of life in rural areas, where large amounts of time have to be devoted to farming livestock and tending to crops, means that rural schools suffer from limited resources.

In 2013 Misha had raised £2,534.05 and with this money we were able to build 2 new classrooms at Chihira School. By increasing the number of classrooms from 5 to 7, the school is now able to operate more efficiently, and now students are able to carry on schooling beyond Grade 5, without sacrificing the time available to the children to help with family tasks. This is crucial to ensuring that rural children do not drop out from school.

Misha was also able to fund our Donkey Library for one year, which means that the children at Chihira School have access to the wide variety of text and fiction books available from our roaming library. Our donkey carries books and an accompanying librarian, who visits 6 schools in the Northern Region of Ethiopia. For schools in rural areas of Ethiopia a library is an all too rare luxury and yet access to books is one of the most fundamental necessities for education. The donkey brings books to children in remote villages, giving them regular access to books on all subjects.

As well as spending time with the students and parents, to whom they donated some additional school resources, Misha and his family also got the opportunity to see the donkey library in action at Chihira. Once again thanks to Misha for supporting Chihira school!

Posted in 2015, Classrooms and furniture, Fundraising, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Uncategorized |

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.

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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 |

International Day of the Girl

Written by Ben

Today is International Day of the Girl, and this year’s theme is adolescent girls. In 2000, the UN set the Millennium Development Goals, which expire this year, and 1 of the 8 goals was to ‘Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015’. Girls who were born in the turn of the millennium, are now adolescents, and the progress made under the MDGs has seen a closing of the gender gap in terms of primary and secondary enrolment across the Global South, and in Ethiopia.

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However, despite the great improvements, there still remain a number of challenges to overcome. Our research found that whilst Ethiopia had made great strides in ensuring that as many girls as boys now enrol in primary school, however at secondary school the gender gap remerges. Despite similar numbers of boys and girls starting secondary school education, many more boys complete secondary schools than girls, as challenges unique to girls hinder their attendance and attainment. For every 10 boys in secondary school in Ethiopia there are only 9 girls.

At Link Ethiopia we are entering a new phase in our support for Girls’ Education. We already ensure that over two-thirds of children on our child sponsorship programme are female to counter the increased risk of dropout. Our Gondar office has held its first meeting of the ‘Girls’ Education Steering Committee’, a community-based group comprised of local women from a range of backgrounds who meet monthly to guide Link Ethiopia’s female education policy.

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The group is currently working on designing pilot projects to be run in 2016, which will focus on singular interventions targeted at a small number of girls, and are currently considering proposals such as girls’ accommodation blocks and expanding Girls’ Clubs in schools. Through careful monitoring and evaluation of the different pilot projects, Link Ethiopia will be able to build up a body of knowledge of the most effective ways to support girls in education. The most successful of these pilot projects will then be developed further, and expanded across Link Ethiopia’s schools.

Please support our Day of the Girl campaign to support the Girls Education Steering Committee and their pilot projects so that Link Ethiopia can increase it support for female education in Ethiopia and help close the gender gap. 100% of all donations that come through our website until 18th October will go towards funding our pilot projects programme, and you can donate here. If you’d like to fundraise for Girls’ Education email jasmine@linkethiopia.org. You can also spread the word about our work by sharing this blog post on social media with the hashtag #dayofthegirl.

Thanks for reading and watch this space for updates on our Girls’ Education projects.

Posted in 2015, Gender, 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.

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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.

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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 |