News blog

Blog category: 2008

December 2008

Seasons Greetings from Link Ethiopia!

Still looking for Christmas gifts? Look no further!

Our Gift Ethiopia website (www.giftethiopia.org) is full of fun and unusual present ideas, which will bring a smile to the faces of your friends and family this Christmas. They are all desperately needed by the children, schools and communities we work with in Ethiopia. Our projects now reach over 55,000 young people in the north and the south of this amazing country in the Horn of Africa. With your help we will be able to do even more to expand quality education to youngsters in towns and rural areas in 2009 and beyond.

Even if you’ve already got most of your Christmas shopping done, this is a great way not only to buy those extra few presents that you had not decided upon but also to target a Christmas donation or two towards something you feel passionate about; whether it be the importance of clean drinking water, hygienic toilets, books, teacher training or even an income generating chicken project! If you do nothing else, do click on the following link and see what we have to offer for you. Ever heard of a donkey library?!

www.giftethiopia.org

With each gift you receive a colourful and celebrational gift card explaining about the specific support you are giving, and these are posted to you 1st class so you can scribble a message and give it to your lucky friend.

So please do it now! Check out our Gift Ethiopia website (www.giftethiopia.org) and give a special gift to a special person. It’s a brilliant way to get involved!

Below you can find a selection of gifts to get you started. Thank you!

Water taps
£5
Water taps

 

Donkey Library
£20
Donkey Library

 

Help build a bog
£25
Help build a bog

 

Child sponsorship
£12/month
Child sponsorship

Complete school pack
£15

Complete school pack

School dinners for a year
£40

School dinners for a year

Chicken project
£10

Chicken project

Clean water for 40 pupils
£20

Clean water for 40 pupils

Toilet block

£625
Toilet block

Community football team

£50
Community football team

Teacher training

£75
Teacher training

Build a double classroom!

£1000
Build a double classroom!

Posted in 2008, News emails |

October & November 2008

Greetings to all!

Welcome to Link Ethiopia’s November news update, which embarrassingly we are sending out just hours before another month dawns!

We have been particularly busy recently with new schools joining our linking scheme, a second office in Ethiopia just opening up and a third Ethiopian member of staff joining the team. More about all of this in our January news email, but this month we want to tell you about two ways you can get involved in supporting young people in Ethiopia in the run up to Christmas. Firstly our Gift Ethiopia scheme where you can browse and buy special presents for friends and family (www.giftethiopia.org) and secondly our Child Sponsorship scheme through which you can change someone’s life. Please do read on….

Christmas is coming! Get your presents from Gift Ethiopia!

Christmas is on its way and Link Ethiopia’s alternative gift scheme is here again!

Spoil your family and friends with gifts that keep on giving, such as providing clean water for forty pupils for just £20 or giving a young student everything they need for a school year for just £15. There are gifts to suit any budget. Look out for the Donkey Library, new this year! www.giftethiopia.org

When you buy from the Gift Ethiopia catalogue or website you receive a gift card explaining about the specific support you are giving to schools and communities in Ethiopia. These gifts make a huge difference to the lives of many children. Check out our Gift Ethiopia website (www.giftethiopia.org) and give a special gift to a special person. It’s a brilliant way to get involved!

 

If you would like one or more of our printed Gift Ethiopia catalogues please email [email protected] and we will post them to you.

Focus on… Child Sponsorship

Can you give a child the gift of an education? Our sponsorship programme is unique in that it focuses entirely on supporting education which is a sustainable way to support Ethiopia’s next generation. Think about whether this is something you can get involved with in the run up to Christmas. You could even set up sponsorship on behalf of a friend or relative as their Christmas present!

Rising food and fuel costs are increasingly forcing families to choose between buying the necessities for everyday living or buying the books and pens they need for their children’s education. Without an education, most of these children will never get the chance to change their family’s living conditions. Your regular sponsorship donation will support your child with all their schooling needs as well as funding wider projects in their school providing hundreds of children with vital facilities such as clean water, classrooms, and books etc.

Contact us ([email protected]) to change a child’s life today.

Help us find sponsors for these children

Tsadiku Yohannes is a large primary school in one of the poorest parts of Gondar town, in the northern Ethiopian highlands. Many families here make a living selling produce in the local market. However, the sharp rises in basic foodstuffs and fuel have hit many families hard and it is becoming increasingly difficult to afford to send their children to school. Without help, some children could be forced to drop out of education to try and earn money to support their families instead.

Link Ethiopia has worked with Tsadiku Yohannes School to identify sixteen of the most vulnerable children with the hope of finding them sponsors so they may continue their education and secure themselves and their family a brighter future. All of these children are either orphans or live in single-parent families. For just £3 a week, the price of a magazine, you can change their lives. Help us help them. Sponsorship costs just £12 / $25 / 17€ per month.

How to get involved

Sponsoring a child through Link Ethiopia is simple. It costs just £3 per week (£12 / $25 / 17€ per month) to support the education of your sponsored child and the school which they attend. On average 20% of your sponsorship money is spent on your child’s educational needs and 80% on supporting projects in their school. Through our sponsorship scheme, your small act of kindness will give a child a brighter future.

Send us an email ([email protected]) and we will get things set up for you straightaway. Thank you.

Culture spot: Ethiopian festivals

The Ethiopian calendar is filled with festivals and holidays, coming from both the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition and from those of Islam, and both sets seem to coexist happily and comfortably to fulfil the need of all Ethiopian people to celebrate and have fun. But many of the main festivals leave a westerner somewhat perplexed as to their timing and their detail. There is not space here to go into any great depth on this matter but here are just a few samples that may be of interest.

Those in the west are, at the moment, looking forward to their Christmas celebrations. So, of course, are many Ethiopians but they will celebrate their own Christmas festival on January 6th. If this apparently late date should cause the reader any concern for its relationship with the New Year festival, be of good cheer, for the Ethiopian New Year feast is well over by then, having been celebrated in the first part of our month of September!

More important as a celebration in Ethiopia is the festival of Epiphany. This is called ‘Timkat’ and is a major focus of colour and culture that takes place around January 19th. After that, Ethiopian Easter (called ‘Fasika’) is rarely coincidental with that of the west and is frequently several weeks later in the year. It follows, as in the UK, a period of Lenten fasting but, whereas this is measured at 40 days and nights here in the west, in Ethiopia it is the culmination of a significantly longer 55 days of abstinence.

Coming up on UK Television

  • Air Crash Investigation
    An Ethiopian aircraft is hijacked in mid-air
    Thurs December 4th (for 2 days) (National Geographic)
  • Saving Planet Earth – Saving wolves
    Graham Norton in the Simien Mountains
    Thurs December 18th (UKTV Documentary)
  • Pole to Pole – Crossing the line
    Michael Palin encounters a troubled Ethiopia
    Fri December 26th (UKTV Documentary)

Ethiopian proverb

Coffee and the king, with the mouth alone they do not talk

English proverb

Birds are entangled by their feet and men by their tongues

Website link

World Class is a BBC website that supports school linking and Link Ethiopia is one of their partners. www.bbc.co.uk/worldclass

and, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |

September 2008

Welcome to the September news update!

Hello from Link Ethiopia to all supporters and interested parties!

We told you lots about our Volunteering Scheme in the last News Update, and we hope you enjoyed reading it. In this September edition we want to tell you about recent progress with some of the school classroom projects being funded by Link Ethiopia. If you would like to get involved financially in what we are doing here, do get in touch. Every bit of help is significant in the great scheme of things!  Onwards…

Calling football supporters!

Visit our eBay auction and bid for any of six remaining signed Premiership team shirts! Each of them have been signed by the whole football team, and collected by John Barnes as part of our Score Ethiopia initiative. Still available are shirts from Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal, Fulham and Portsmouth. Bid generously!!
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Wash-Go-Score-Ethiopia

Focus on… Classroom Projects

We want to introduce you to another couple of rural schools that Link Ethiopia supports. You can read about some of our other projects on our website – http://web.linkethiopia.org/projects/index.html. We are always seeking donations to enable future projects like these and, if you think you can help, please get in contact with us or donate online (http://web.linkethiopia.org/donate). Email Matt at [email protected] if you can help.

Aba Entonious classroom celebration

Aba Entonious is a small but growing elementary school set in rural countryside north of Gondar town in northern Ethiopia. Its catchment area is huge and every day pupils walk long distances to reach their lessons. A year ago the school had four classrooms and a temporary shelter for an additional class that had opened but over the last twelve months, thanks to St Petroc’s Church in the south-west of England, we have been able to work alongside Aba Entonious school to construct three new classrooms, and here they are:

From today the school starts teaching Grade 5 pupils in two of the new classrooms and the Grade 1 class which was previously learning outside will move into the third of the new classrooms.

Lots of the local community recently joined in a ceremony to officially open the new classrooms.

Defecha classroom construction

Defecha Elementary School is situated in beautiful surroundings high above the Angereb River in northern Ethiopia. Its nearest town is Gondar which is roughly an hour away by foot. The school caters for Grades 1 to 4 after which pupils often stop their education and help their parents at home or in the fields. Some pupils walk to the next elementary school which caters for Grade 5 but space at the school is limited.

We started working with Defecha school about a year ago. The needs of the school are too numerous to list here but at the top of the list was the community’s desire to expand the school into Grade 5. With some generous funding from the Padstow Rotary Club in the UK we have been able to support the school by providing the materials needed to build a Grade 5 classroom and a teacher’s office. Members of the local community have been hard at work to construct their new classroom and it is due to be completed shortly.

How to get involved

If you or your group are interested in funding one of our projects, or if you know someone else who might, please get in contact with us. There are always many more projects that we would like to support than funds we have available to do so. Email Matt at [email protected] – thank you!

News from Ethiopia

  • The UN’s top aid official, John Holmes, has just been in Ethiopia to make detailed assessments as to the severity of food shortages in the country. Ethiopia was hit with severe floods last year which destroyed most of the food crops. This year, drought has worsened the situation. Drought is especially bad for Ethiopia because farming employs more than 80 percent of Ethiopians and accounts for half of all domestic production, as well as 85 percent of exports.
  • At the same time, Ethiopians are celebrating the restoration and re-erection of one of the country’s most significant artefacts, the great Axum Obelisk which was taken by troops in 1937 during the Italian occupation. The monument weighs more than 150 tonnes and was recently brought back from Italy in three pieces, following decades of negotiations between the Italian and Ethiopian governments, and long delays in transporting the heavy stones from Rome. The monument is now back in its original home.

Meet the Team: Chris Clare

Chris Clare is Deputy Head of Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, England where Link Ethiopia started its life nearly thirteen years ago. Chris is an enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable trustee for our organisation, and his advice is highly valued at all times.

Culture spot: The Ark of the Covenant

This month we tell one of the most important stories in Ethiopian traditional history – about the Ark of the Covenant and how it comes to be guarded in a treasury built for the purpose in Axum, in the north of the country.

The Ark, that most powerful of objects described in great detail in the Old Testament of the Bible, is said to have been taken from King Solomon’s temple and brought to Ethiopia by the first Ethiopian king, King Menelik. It resided for hundreds of years on an island monastery in Lake Tana, just south of Gondar, and then eventually found its way to the ancient city of Axum. Emperor Haile Selassie had the treasury built beside the cathedral in Axum to house and protect the Ark.

One monk guards the Ark and he never leaves the compound. No one else is allowed in, and they pass the monk’s food through to him each day. No living person (apart from this monk) has ever seen the Ark, although it used to be brought out and paraded around the town in earlier times at the festival of Timkat. But it was always shrouded in thick materials – as are all the other ark copies or ‘tabots’ that are the centre of each Ethiopian church.

We don’t have the space to tell you more here. Buy Graham Hancock’s book “The Sign and the Seal” for a superbly personal investigation!

Coming up on UK Television

  • The Nile – The Great Flood
    Life in the Ethiopian Highlands
    Tuesday September 30th (UKTV Documentary)
  • Cliffhangers – Girl Power
    The gelada baboons of the Simien Mountains
    Saturday October 11th (Nat Geo Wild)
  • A Fork in Africa – Ethiopia
    A varied and enlightening programme
    Sunday October 26th (Travel Channel)

Ethiopian proverb

Some proverbs bring a quarrel; and others finish a quarrel

English proverb

Birds are entangled by their feet and men by their tongues

Website link

The site of the Ethiopian Embassy in London
www.ethioembassy.org.uk

and, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |

August 2008

Welcome to the August news update!

Hello everybody, and welcome to the August 2008 news update from Link Ethiopia.

Our schools are on holiday and enjoying some well-earned rest but we want to keep you up to date on our activities so this update will focus on our Gap Volunteer Scheme and tell you about some of the latest developments. This is an area of our work that is receiving a great deal of attention at the moment and the scheme benefits our schools in Ethiopia in a considerable way. Read on …

Focus on… Volunteer Teaching

Our volunteer scheme started some 12 years ago in response to our partner schools in Ethiopia needing native English speakers to help with English language tutition. Link Ethiopia was able to place volunteers within our partner Ethiopian schools and organise tutition focussing on communication skills. This support has continued ever since and remains crucial (see below).

Our volunteer programmes have expanded at the same time and you can read about some of our current activities in this section. Our partner schools always have more demand for volunteers than we have individuals ready to go. If you would like to get involved please do contact us to find out more (email [email protected]).

English teaching

The cornerstone of our volunteer scheme is English teaching. A good grasp of English is essential for Ethiopian young people because from the end of elementary school all lessons are taught in the language. This can be a challenge since before that time lessons are taught in the local mother-tongue with is Amharic in the areas we currently work.

Volunteers focus their teaching on English communication skills and these lessons support and encourage students to use their considerable grammar and vocabulary from formal studies with confidence and clarity.

The programme concentrates on pronunciation, role play exercises and activities to apply the English language to a variety of different situations.

Direct communication with a native English speaker is rare for Ethiopian students so by communicating with our volunteers in a relaxed classroom environment, with small class sizes, pupils can really put their skills into practice.

Computer training

Through Link Ethiopia resourcing and other support many local schools now have a small selection of computers for staff and students to use. Unfortunately however, in many cases, there isn’t a sufficient knowledge base within the school staff to effectively use them.

Volunteers joining our computer training programme work with both students and staff to help them develop basic IT skills. The computer tuition includes the use of the operating system, word processor, spreadsheets, internet and email. As most of the computers are second-hand our skilled volunteers help with technical glitches and ensure the computers operate well and reliably.

Sports coaching

Sport in Ethiopia is a passionate affair! Many people play sports, in particular football, and even more people watch it and follow it at local, national and international level. In schools sport plays a vital part in the development of the young people’s skills and abilities. Sporting activity is always welcomed but where facilities are limited the range and scope of play can restrict the number of pupils getting involved.

Our sports volunteers work alongside Ethiopian staff in schools to tutor young people in new games and activities which ensure everyone can take part. Volunteers also help with the more popular sports such as football to set up competing leagues and after school clubs.

How to get involved

If you are interested in becoming a Link Ethiopia volunteer or if you know someone else who might be keen to get involved then please do send us an email  ([email protected]). Thank you!

News from Ethiopia

  • Congratulations to the Ethiopian Olympic team! They proved unstoppable in the long-distance running events of the Beijing Games where Tirunesh Dibaba won the women’s 10,000 metre and 5,000 metre gold medals, and Kenenisa Bekele won the men’s 10,000 metre and 5,000 metre gold medals. Sileshi Sihine won the men’s 10,000 metre silver medal, Tsegay Kebede won the men’s marathon bronze medal and Meseret Defar won the women’s 5,000 metre bronze medal. Congratulations to all the athletes who took part and we look forward to future success at the London 2012 games!
  • Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, ex-president of the United States, and his daughter Chelsea have been visiting communities in the highlands of Ethiopia, visiting some of the projects of his own family’s charitable foundation. Quite how many of the villagers he met knew exactly who he was is not known, but wherever he and his family went, hundreds of welcoming and enthusiastic people came to see him.

Meet the Team: Jean Bailey

Jean Bailey is one of Link Ethiopia’s five Trustees, overseeing the work of the organisation as a whole. She is the current Chair of the Anglo-Ethiopian Society of Great Britain, and also is the founder and Director of the Aysanew Kassa Trust that helps young people and schools in the village of Azezo in northern Ethiopia.

Geography spot: Highs and lows

Whenever our teaching volunteers prepare for their stay in Ethiopia (as several are doing at this very moment), one of their tasks is to ensure they have all the required vaccinations up to date. However, a visit to the doctor has to take the very unusual geography of Ethiopia carefully into account.

The Gondar region of Ethiopia, where most of our volunteers are based, lies on the Historic Route on the high plateau that ranges over much of the central and northern part of the country. Addis Ababa, where their experience starts, lies at 2,400 metres above sea level, and that makes it the third highest capital city in the world. Gondar itself is at 2,200 metres.

But much of the rest of Ethiopia lies at a much lower altitude. Indeed, the Danakil Desert in the north of the Afar region is one of the lowest and hottest places on earth.

So, when planning your next trip to Ethiopia, plan carefully and be very aware of the different geographic situations that exist in the country. Trekking in the Simien Mountains will require radically different preparation from taking a stroll in Danakil country!

Coming up on UK Television

  • September sees repeats of the very excellent Tribe series. Learn about the Nyangatom, the Dassanech and the Suri tribes
    10th – 14th September
    16th – 17th September
    20th September
    (UKTV Documentary)

Ethiopian proverb

Being alone is only good for going to the toilet

English proverb

A dwarf on a giant’s shoulder sees farther of the two

Website link

Link Ethiopia’s London office is situated in a building also used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  Learn more at   www.linkethiopia.org/link/4

Of course, visit our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |

July 2008

Welcome to the July news update!

With our schools now enjoying a restful holiday period we at Link Ethiopia have been hard at work both in the UK and in Ethiopia expanding our Child Sponsorship programme and extending the scope of our Gap Ethiopia volunteering scheme. Our thanks go to the part-time volunteers who have been helping us in the London office and who have made a great deal of difference! Look out for next month’s news update where we will be discussing our volunteer teaching scheme.

We are delighted and honoured to have recently received the approbation of the authorities in Gondar city who presented Link Ethiopia with an award for having furthered the cause of education in its schools. We look forward to continuing to work alongside the local and regional education departments in coming years.

So let’s get on with the job – here is our news update, this month focusing on our school linking scheme. Read on…

Focus on… School Linking

A link between two schools provides an opportunity for both sets of students to learn about a very different culture. This is achieved through regular letter writing, curriculum based activities and maybe even a visit by teachers and older students. The Ethiopian partner school also benefits from regular (but manageable!) fundraising towards a project that they have identified as being particularly important, for example books for their library or new water facilities.

Our oldest school link – between Dr Challoner’s School and Fasiledes School – dates back 12 years. However, this month we will be exploring the very successful link between Backwell School in Bristol, UK, and Angareb School in Gondar, Ethiopia, which started in 2006. If you would like to get your school involved in one of our school partnerships, contact Chris ([email protected]) for more information.

Learning through linking

 

Letter exchange is central to all our school links. Twice a year bundles of letters flow between Backwell and Angareb schools which provide their pupils with a very personal insight into another culture.

Students also develop teaching and learning materials for their link school to display and use in lessons. At Backwell, students produced both written and video accounts focusing on their own daily lives, and life at their school. These were recently taken to Ethiopia and met with fascination! Students in both countries have also worked hard to create fabric maps of their local area, which again were transferred between the schools in order to facilitate discussion about the differences and similarities in local environment and way of life.

Exchange visits

Two teachers from Backwell visited Angareb in March this year. They observed lessons and were particularly impressed by the weekly student forum at Angareb, in which matters important to the student body are debated. After teaching a lesson based around life in the UK, the teachers had a truly unforgettable experience when one of the Ethiopian students walked them across a river to his grandparent’s tukul (mud and straw hut), where everyone shared a meal.

They also visited Hannah and Cassey, the two gap-year students from Backwell who did a superb job teaching English communication skills at Fasiledes School as part of our volunteer scheme. The visit has enabled the teachers to write specific lessons that fit into their schemes of work, as well as providing a fascinating first hand insight into another culture. Perhaps students will be able to experience similar cultural exchange visits in the future, like those at several of our other secondary schools

Fundraising

As part of their current project to help fund a new toilet block at Angereb, Backwell are running a ‘Blue-Peter’ style ‘Spend a Penny’ campaign, which involves making a small contribution to use the toilet at reception.

In March the school held an Ethiopian evening in which parents contributed ‘promises’ and then auctioned them, followed by indulging in some very tasty traditional Ethiopian food. Not only was this a fun evening, but it also helped to raise the profile of the link in the wider community. Previously, Backwell have raised money to fund an internet connection and other IT equipment at Angereb School, which will open up a new range of communication possibilities between students and enhance their link even further.

 

How to get involved

If you are interested in starting up a school link with Ethiopia please get in contact with Chris ([email protected]), who can provide you with more information. It would be really helpful if you could include some basic information about your school (location, pupil ages, size etc). Thank you!

And finally…

A big thank you to two Link Coordinators who have been really committed to developing their school links. Katie Summers, at Elangeni School, is off to teach English at an international school in Thailand, whilst Anita Lawrie is retiring after 13 years at Whiteheath School. We wish both of them the best of luck, and we look forward to working with the new Link Coordinators at both of these schools!

News from Ethiopia

  • DFID has announced a doubling of its food aid budget to Ethiopia, bringing the fund to £20 million to help alleviate the prospect of famine for some 4.5 million Ethiopians in drought-ridden areas. The 300% price rise in some basic food stuffs has worsened the situation.
  • The UN and the African Development Bank report that the economy of Ethiopia is forecasted to expand by 7.5% this year and another 7.4% in 2009 in response to the positive growth in the country’s industry, agriculture and service sectors. The two most productive areas of export at the moment are firstly coffee beans and secondly oil seeds.

Meet the Team: Melaku Getachew

Melaku Getachew is an Ethiopian lawyer of great repute here in the UK and one of the trustees of Link Ethiopia. He has a wonderful family with a lovely wife and four charismatic children and they all live out in the country to the west of London. He is our main man when it comes to making contact with the Ethiopian authorities, whether it be the Ministry of Education in Addis or the Ethiopian Embassy in London.

Culture spot: Religion

In a country as large and diverse as Ethiopia, it is not easy to give very accurate statistics when it comes to religious belief and affiliation. Certain areas, especially in the Amhara region of the country, have clearly a preponderance of Christian belief, with the typically circular churches being seen wherever a community has its centre. The Ethiopian Orthodox religion was founded in the 3rd century and, as such, is one of the oldest Christian cultures in the world.

But in other areas, especially where the Oromo people predominate and elsewhere, Islam is the dominant belief, with colourful and elegant mosques clearly visible and often audible. And it is certainly worth stating here that both religions occur throughout the country, existing side by side with acceptance, tolerance and genuine good nature. Yet less structured belief systems are also very common, especially amid the many and varied tribes in the south of the country. Here it is often the trees, the animals and the countryside itself that provides the awe and the treasured focus of the community.

Coming up on UK Television

  • $100 Taxi Ride – Ethiopia
    Interesting goings-on around Ethiopia
    Saturday 9th August (Travel Channel)
  • Pole to Pole – Crossing the line
    Michael Palin in a troubled 1990’s Ethiopia
    Friday 22nd August (UKTV Documentary)
  • Long way down – Egypt and Ethiopia
    Ewan McGregor and friend journey through Africa
    Monday 25th August & five days later (National Geographic)

Ethiopian proverb

The same water never runs into the same river

English proverb

A man that breaks his word bids others to be false to him

Website link

Lots of facts on Ethiopia in a compact article www.linkethiopia.org/link/3

and, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |

June 2008

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the June news update from Link Ethiopia. As our schools in the UK and in Ethiopia begin to wind down over the next few weeks we look back over the last academic year and are amazed by all that’s taken place. Thanks to everyone who has been involved – whether through your school, through volunteering, through child sponsorship, through donating and funding projects in Ethiopia, or whether simply through words of encouragement. It’s all been valued very greatly by our team and by the schools we work with in Ethiopia.

This month we are focusing on our child sponsorship scheme which we hope you or your friends might be interested in joining. Read on…

Focus on… Child Sponsorship

Have you ever considered sponsoring a child? Our sponsorship programme is unusual in that it focuses entirely on supporting education. This is a great way to support Ethiopia’s next generation in a very long-lasting and sustainable way. Your regular donations go to support your specific sponsored child with schooling materials and equipment as well as funding wider projects in the school which they attend so that hundreds of pupils can benefit from new facilities and resources such as clean water, classrooms, books etc.

Read on to find out more about the scheme, and if you’re interested please get in contact with Matt ([email protected]) who can answer any questions you may have and get things set up for you.

Introducing Selam Girma

Let us introduce you to one of our sponsored children, ten year old Selam Girma. She lives with her mother in the Arbatu Ensesa community in northern Ethiopia and goes to the local elementary school. Her father is no longer alive but her mother works as a daily labourer on building sites to bring in just a little money for the household. This can be exhausting work, with no certainty of regular employment. Her mother struggles to afford the everyday costs of schooling and Selam’s education suffers because of this.

 

 Supporting Selam Girma and her school

Selam is typical of many of our sponsored children. Thanks to child sponsorship we are able to work alongside her and provide the resources she needs to take full advantage of her schooling without putting further financial burden on her family. These resources include the basics of school uniforms and bags, stationery, notebooks and paper along with reference books and text books as they are needed. We then assess the specific needs of each child and tailor the support they receive to best suit their situation.

At the same time we are able to work with Selam’s school and plan projects which will benefit hundreds of other pupils as well. We are currently working with the school to build new classrooms and toilet facilities.

 

How to get involved

Sponsoring a child through Link Ethiopia is really easy to set up. We ask of you just £12 / $25 / 17€ per month (or more if you feel able) to support the education of your sponsored child and the school which they attend. When you think about it, that’s not much money, but it will enable us to work with your sponsored child and their school in a detailed and long-term way. On average 20% of your sponsorship money is spent on your child’s educational needs and 80% on supporting projects in their school.

Send an email to Matt ([email protected]) and we can get things set up for you straightaway. Thank you!

Fundraising idea of the month

How about putting a little gentle pressure on the more energetic members of your family to engage in a sponsored event for Link Ethiopia? Events can range from a marathon run or a sponsored swim to something much more sedate such as a sponsored silence or a sponsored Sudoku solving tournament (no, we don’t know how the latter idea would work either!).

If you’d like to do this for us, we can send you posters and leaflets to help the cause. Get in contact with Chris ([email protected]) and let us know. We are very grateful to all those who help with our fundraising efforts and we rely on them greatly. Thank you!

Educational DVD / video appeal

Do you have any educational DVDs or videos that you no longer need? We are looking for material suitable for infant or primary school aged children, to give to schools in Ethiopia. Email [email protected] if you think you can help. Thank you!

News from Ethiopia

  • You will no doubt have heard news of the recent food shortages in some parts of Ethiopia. The Belg rains (the early rains so essential for Ethiopia’s farmers) have been scant in volume and irregular this year. This, teamed with the ever-rising cost of basic staple foods such as ‘tef’ (from which ‘injera’ is made), means that there is real concern for the nutrition of people in various areas of the country. The Government and NGO’s have been responding and a recent plea was made to international donors for help.
  • At the same time, the World Bank’s Chief Economist recently visited Ethiopia and expressed confidence in the future development of the country. He described Ethiopia as having a “healthy economy and vibrant business environment”. In response to the drought that some areas of the country are suffering he thought that Ethiopia needed to improve its farming systems to curb future food shortages. A large percentage of Ethiopia’s population rely on subsistence farming.

Meet the Team: Mulugeta Derso

Let us introduce you to our latest team-member. This is Mulugeta Derso, the new and enthusiastic young graduate working in our Gondar office. He is in charge of coordinating and monitoring our projects within the Ethiopian schools we support and we are delighted at the energy and intelligence that he has already given to our work.

Culture spot: Traditional transport

While vehicular transport is used throughout much of Ethiopia, you can still find some excellent traditional methods of moving around if you look carefully. A quick visit to Gondar (and many other places in the country) will soon provide an introduction to the ‘gari’ – the horse-drawn cart. While an engineer might not be totally impressed by the construction of some of these, there is no doubting the usefulness, the economy and the durability of such transport.

Meanwhile, the fishermen and those living close to the banks of Lake Tana can still be seen using the ‘tankwa’, a form of reed boat that has probably not changed in any major way for the last two thousand years and more. Made of reeds that have been tightly bound together into the shape of a fairly large flat canoe, these are used not only to ferry people across the narrower stretches of the lake, but also to allow fisherman to cast their lines out into the deeper waters in order to catch fish for their families and for selling in the local market.

(Thanks to those who responded about our last ‘Culture Spot’ on manners and traditions. We shall be doing an update on this subject soon. We would welcome anyone else’s input!)

Coming up on UK Television

  • Tribal wives – Ethiopia
    A Scottish airhostess amid the Afar tribewomen!
    Wednesday 2nd July (BBC2)
  • Long way down – Egypt and Ethiopia
    Ewan McGregor and friend journey through Africa
    Sunday 13th July & later in month (National Geographic)
  • Wild Africa – Mountains
    Gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves
    Thursday 24th & 25th July (UKTV Documentary)

Ethiopian proverb

When the first born becomes foolish, the last born inherits the cattle

English proverb

A cheerful look makes a dish a feast

Website link

A major website for the Ethiopian community at www.cyberethiopia.com

And, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |

April & May 2008

Hello everyone!

Welcome to a joint April and May news update from Link Ethiopia. Members of our UK team have just returned from an intensive visit to Ethiopia, working alongside our in-country staff and visiting schools and projects.

In Gondar, our Country Manager, Ato Belayneh, is now partnered with Mulugeta Derso, a young graduate who has recently joined Link Ethiopia as Project Coordinator and who has made an enthusiastic start. We are therefore putting a particular focus in this edition on some of the projects which are developing successfully and well in the various local schools we work with. Read on…

Focus on… Resourcing Projects

Below you can read about three of our recently funded school projects in the north of Ethiopia. Other projects are also discussed on our website – http://web.linkethiopia.org/projects/index.html. We are always seeking donations to enable future projects like these and, if you think you could help, please do get in contact with us or donate online (http://web.linkethiopia.org/get_involved/donate.html).

Kebele 16 Elementary School water project

This elementary school caters for over 1,800 pupils on a large site near Gondar town. We recently worked with the local community to fund and construct their first drinking water system on the school site. Now complete, the water facility enables twelve pupils at a time to drink clean water throughout the school day. This helps reduce dehydration and improves concentration in lessons.

 

 Arbatu Ensesa Elementary School classroom project

Let us introduce you to Arbatu Ensesa, an elementary school in a semi-rural situation in the north of Ethiopia. This is a growing school, with 700 pupils currently enrolled between Grades 1 to 6. Thanks to a generous donation from a family in the UK we have been able to partner with the school to build four new classrooms which will expand the school into Grades 7 and 8. The classrooms are nearing completion!

 

Edeget Feleg Secondary School toilet project

Edeget Feleg Secondary is situated in the heart of urban Gondar. Some 2,900 students attend the school in a shift system where half learn in the morning and half in the afternoon. Until recently their toilet facilities were seriously inadequate (see bottom photo) but we recently supported the school to build a new toilet block (top photo) which houses six sturdy cubicles for the young people to use. This will improve sanitation and reduce the spread of disease.

Fundraising idea of the month

How about running a tea party for friends and acquaintances and helping Link Ethiopia make some funds for our school projects? Or perhaps a small dinner party could also be used to raise just a little money? Remember that just a small sum can provide so much in Ethiopia. If you’d like to do this for us, we can send you posters and leaflets to help the cause! Get in touch and let us know. Email [email protected]. Thank you.

News from Ethiopia

  • The Ethiopian government has launched a new coffee brand which will champion Ethiopia’s famous, unique and distinctive fine coffee in the international market. Though Ethiopia is the historic birth place of coffee and Africa’s leading coffee exporter, the country has still some way to go in getting international consumer recognition and familiarisation with its famous product. Meanwhile, Nick and Marc Francis’s highly influential “Black Gold” film continues to heighten the world’s awareness to these issues.
  • German archaeologists believe they have found the Queen of Sheba’s palace at Axum and an altar which may have held the most precious treasure of ancient Judaism, the Ark of the Covenant. Scientists from Hamburg made the startling find during their recent spring excavations of the site in the far north of Ethiopia.

Meet the Team: James Love and Rose Bradbury

James and Rose have been fantastic team members for some time. They are just coming to the end of a five month research project in the Gondar region where they have committed much time and energy to exploring future ways in which we can support education. We hope that they will continue to help and advise us in the future.

Culture spot: Manners and traditions

One of the fascinating aspects of different cultures is the way in which very basic human mannerisms and interactions may vary. For instance, in the UK, if you want to call someone to you with a ‘come here’ gesture, you extend the hand with the palm upwards and flick the fingers to and fro. Use that gesture in Ethiopia and you get some puzzled looks. But turn the hand so that the palm faces downwards and your intention is suddenly clear.

In contrast with the UK, Ethiopian people greet each very fulsomely and warmly. Anything up to four kisses on alternate cheeks is normal amid friends and this accompanies a lengthy session of questioning as to the person’s health, the health of their family, the person’s health again, the health of their children, the health of their partners and their own health yet again!

A particular gesture is made in Ethiopia when shaking hands with someone considerably older than oneself or someone who has a social standing above one’s own. While the right hand is engaged in the shaking process, the left hand clutches the underneath of the person’s own right forearm – a clear signal of deference.

Perhaps those particularly knowledgeable about Ethiopian culture would like to email us with further examples which we can include in future news updates.

Coming up on UK Television

  • Africa Trek – Ethiopia
    Tribal Realm, Christian Empire
    Sunday 1st & 2nd June (Travel Channel)
  • Pole to Pole – Crossing the line
    Michael Palin in a troubled 1990’s Ethiopia
    Friday 20th June (UKTV Documentary)
  • Don’t forget your passport – EthiopiaA wealth of history in a stunning African landscape
    Friday 20th & 21st June (Travel Channel)

Ethiopian proverb

For what is cold, the hand; for what is hot, the spoon

English proverb

Action is the proper fruit of knowledge

Website link

Learn about the Ethiopian Orthodox Church  at http://tinyurl.com/5v5skf

And, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |

March 2008

Hello everyone!

As you read this news update for March, several members of the Link Ethiopia team are planning and getting ready for one of their regular visits to Ethiopia. As more and more schools join the family and make relationships with Ethiopian schools, so the team have more and more tasks to fit into the weeks of their visits. Not only will they be visiting already linked schools, checking on the gap volunteers and their welfare, and saying hello to some of the individually sponsored children, but they will also be visiting projects in all their stages of development to ensure that all are on course and going to plan.

And for the news, do read on…

News from Ethiopia

  • Two of Ethiopia’s great long distance runners, Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba, will be in the UK at the end of March. They will visit Edinburgh in Scotland to lead a very strong team of Ethiopian athletes at the World Cross Country Championships on the 30th March. They will undoubtedly be well worth watching – and they will also undoubtedly experience rather cooler temperatures than in their homeland for their run!
  • Meanwhile, March also sees the Ethiopian premiere of Nick and Marc Francis’ “Black Gold”, recently shown on UK television, when it is one of the much awaited films to be shown in the Addis Ababa Film Festival. Nick himself will be there in Addis at that time. For those who have not yet been able to see it, do pay a visit to http://www.blackgoldmovie.com/screenings.php where screenings all over the world are clearly listed.

Meet the Team: Jane Blues

Jane Blues is the volunteer who coordinates our colourful news emails, ensuring you receive them each month! Her two sons, Richard and Chris, have both been enthusiastic visitors to Ethiopia on separate school trips in the past, and Jane had the opportunity to accompany the team to Ethiopia last April. We are delighted to have her input to our work.

Football in Ethiopia – the beautiful game

As in so many other countries of the world, football is the King of Sports in Ethiopia. It is loved with a passion that is rarely matched in any other area of existence, especially by the young males in every Ethiopian town. A tourist travelling around the country would need to be well-versed in the details of each UK Premier League football team to have any chance of maintaining a meaningful conversation on the subject of this sport. They know the players, they know their current reputations and they certainly know whom they support.

Football shirts are seen everywhere, often obtained from large piles of second-hand clothing on sale in the marketplaces and worn with great pride. Although facilities for playing football are rarely sophisticated in any Ethiopian town outside of Addis Ababa, nevertheless the youngsters are undaunted in their involvement. Walk into a town or village and kids of all ages can be seen with improvised footballs made of socks and rags which they kick about with vast energy and enthusiasm. Link Ethiopia is one of the Score Ethiopia partners working to improve football facilities in the town of Lalibela – find out more here: www.linkethiopia.org/score/

School Link focus

The link between Warrender Primary School (in Ruislip, London) and Kola Diba Elementary School (an hour’s drive from Gondar) has got off to a very exciting start!

All students at Warrender have just enjoyed ‘Africa Week’, to raise awareness and understanding of Africa throughout the school. Included in the events was fascinating entertainment from Ghanaian drummers and Nigerian storytellers, and an exhibition in the school hall of beautiful pieces of artwork that the students had created. The week ended with ‘Ethiopia Day’, during which all students in the school – from the age of 3 upwards! – presented what they had learnt or worked on during the week to their very proud parents and teachers. All students came dressed in the colours of the Ethiopian flag, and among the highlights were students reciting Amharic words, showing their handmade Ethiopian flags and masks, and singing African songs.

Money raised during the week will go towards improving the very basic science facilities for the students at Kola Diba, which is additionally benefiting from money raised during a Warrender cookie and cake sale at Christmas, which is helping provide better library resources.

Students at Kola Diba Elementary are no less enthusiastic about learning all about life in the UK, and we are confident that via this link students and teachers in both schools will gain a deeper understanding of each others cultures.

Our Gap Ethiopia scheme

Four teaching volunteers, two from Bristol and two from Buckinghamshire, are well and truly in the swing of things out in the Gondar region of northern Ethiopia. Cassey North and Hannah Ray are working at the Fasiledes Secondary School and are the first female volunteers that the school has had. Meanwhile Will Grave and James Harmer are travelling daily to teach in the Azezo Secondary School, between the town of Gondar and its airport out in the countryside.

They are all testing out a new set of written teaching schemes as they help all members of their small groups with their English Communication Skills. They are also, of course, taking a full part in the life of the Gondar community, visiting other schools, helping in other places, and generally making the most of their still unusual and rare placements in Ethiopia. We hope that many more young people will wish to join in this scheme as we expand it over the next couple of years.

Coming up on UK Television

  • Globe Trekker – Ethiopia
    Zany presenter Ian Wright explores
    Saturday 29th March (Travel Channel)
  • Don’t forget your passport – Ethiopia
    A wealth of history in a stunning African landscape
    Monday 7th April – late night (Travel Channel)
  • Wild Africa – Mountains
    Gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves
    Monday 28th April – four showings (Travel Channel)

Ethiopian Proverb of the Month

It is foolhardy to climb two trees at once just because one has two feet

English Proverb of the Month

Fair words fill not the belly

Website Link of the Month

Imperial Ethiopia – it’s culture and traditions www.imperialethiopia.org

and, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |

February 2008

Hello everyone – and welcome to the February news update!

We are now productively enjoying our new office in north London, and the Ethiopian community who use this church complex on a Sunday have made us very welcome indeed. Meanwhile, out in Ethiopia are James Love and Rose Bradbury who are actively involved in a detailed research project on Link Ethiopia’s behalf – visiting schools, talking to local education chiefs, and collecting valuable data that will guide our own steps in the future. And for other news, do read on…

News from Ethiopia

  • As many of you probably know, Operation Solomon and Operation Moses were responsible in the 1980’s for airlifting a considerable community of Ethiopian Jews – called ‘falashas’ – out of the country and in to Israel. It was recently in the news that the Israeli Government has launched a five-year project aimed at helping the falashas integrate better into Israeli society and getting a more secure footing on the ladder of work and jobs. This would be delivered partially by helping young Ethiopians at school level with extra tuition and support.
  • It was also recently reported, by the UN, that Ethiopia is supplying five helicopters to support the peacekeeping force in the Darfur region. These aircraft will be used to fly troops and supplies around this huge, remote region of western Sudan. This offer seems to be one of the first pledges of support from an African Union country.

Meet the Team: Rupert Bateson

Rupert Bateson is our volunteer masterminding many aspects of the ever successful Gap Ethiopia scheme. On his visits to Ethiopia, Rupert has coordinated the gradual expansion of our volunteer teaching programme and he is able to draw upon the charity sector experience he has gained from the rest of his professional life.

Black Gold: A film about coffee & trade

Almost as soon as you read this comes a programme on UK television which should be seen by us all and which Link Ethiopia is very proud to feel affiliated with.

Ten years ago, a young man called Nick Francis went out to teach in Gondar as one of a pair of our gap volunteers. He spent three months in Ethiopia, teaching English, entertaining hundreds of people in Gondar with his skills in magic, and giving himself an extraordinary experience amid the very welcoming Ethiopians who were his hosts.

Nick recently produced, with his brother Marc, a film called “Black Gold”, which has already had a significant impact on the Ethiopian coffee world. The film is to receive its UK TV premiere on Tuesday of this week, Feb 26th, on the More4 channel at 10pm. But do not fret. If you miss it because it is so soon after the arrival of our newsletter, then you can catch it again on Saturday March 1st, also at 10pm and also on More4.

It has won awards all over the world – at the film festivals of Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, London, Sundance, etc etc. It has to be seen! The Daily Telegraph called it “remarkable – a moving but scandalous story. Black Gold has extraordinary power”.

Do try to catch it, whether here in the UK or on DVD wherever you are based. It is to be shown for the first time in Addis Ababa on March 21st and we have plans with Nick to show it in the Gondar cinema as soon as this can be arranged. Visit www.blackgoldmovie.com for more information.

School Link focus

We are really pleased to have three new pairs of schools join our school linking scheme. In Gondar, Ethiopia, Edeget Feleg Elementary School has been linked with The Green Primary School in Tottenham, London. The Green has a small but very diverse student body and many of the students have ancestral links to the African continent.

Our Bahir Dar base in Ethiopia has been expanded with Queniborough Primary School, in Leicestershire, linking with Yekatit 23 Elementary School. History buffs will be able to tell you that Yekatit 23 takes its name from the date that the Ethiopian Army defeated the Italian invasion at Adwa in 1896.

Our final new link is between Broadwater Primary School in Tooting, London, and Bahir Dar Academy, which is an unusual school by Ethiopian standards because some of the teaching staff are recruited from other countries such as Canada and India. The Coordinator of this link in the UK spent 2 years in Ethiopia as a volunteer so she will be able to bring some first hand experience – and enthusiasm – to her new link.

Link Ethiopia is always looking for new opportunities to introduce students to other cultures – so if you, or someone you know, would like to consider linking a UK school, please get in contact and we will send you some more information.

Community project news

One of our longest running community initiatives is called the Clean Gondar Project, which is run in partnership with the Tara Centre in Gondar, Ethiopia. The scheme works with some of the poorest children in the town, to teach them about the value of work and to demonstrate to the rest of the community how little effort is needed to keep their local area clean.

Each Saturday morning, 30 children aged 8-15 do two hours’ work picking up litter in some of the dirtiest parts of the town, and in return they receive breakfast, lunch, a shower and clothes. The scheme also enables the project staff to get to know the children better which in turn can sometimes help them in different ways, for example encouraging them to attend school during the week. Typically a total of about 120 disadvantaged boys and girls participate in this project each year.

To support the Clean Gondar project, visit our Gift Ethiopia website where a donation of £40 will cover all the costs of running the project for a week. Thank you!

http://www.giftethiopia.org/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=57

Our Gap Ethiopia scheme

Our next four gap volunteers have just left the UK to take up their teaching postings in Gondar and Azezzu.  Cassey, Hannah, James and Will are equipped with a brand new set of teaching activity books and have just completed their training sessions at our Project Office with flying colours! They will be concerned particularly with helping their small groups of students to clarify their pronunciation of the English language, but will also assist with extending their vocabulary and improving their general use of correct English. It is a rare experience for any pupils in Ethiopia to be able to converse with native English speakers in small group situations over an extended period, and those lucky enough to be in the volunteer’s classes gain considerably from this contact.

Meanwhile, Link Ethiopia is seeking applicants for next year’s cohort of volunteers. If you want to find out more about this, see our very thorough website at http://www.linkethiopia.org/ and get in touch with [email protected].

Coming up on Television

  • Black Gold
    An eye-opening expose of the multi-billion dollar coffee industry, tracing one Ethiopian man’s fight for a fair price.
    Tue 26th Feb & Sat 1st March (More4)
  • $100 Taxi Ride
    Interesting goings-on around Ethiopia
    Fri 7th & Sat 8th March (Travel Channel)
  • The Nile – The Great Flood
    Life in the Ethiopian Highlands
    Sat 15th & Sun 16th Mar (UKTV History)
  • Tribe – Suri
    The self-sufficient and amazing Suri tribe
    Thu 20th March (UKTV Documentary)

Proverb of the Month

By persevering the egg walks on legs

Website Link of the Month

Black Gold – learn more about the coffee industry in Ethiopia and how much of your money reaches the coffee farmers. www.blackgoldmovie.com

and, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.

www.linkethiopia.org/donate

Posted in 2008, News emails |