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Blog category: 2013

Our 2013/2014 Annual Report

Written by Isabel

We have just published our Annual Report for 2013/2014 which is available to read here (link). We would like to thank you all for your support over the past year, and hope you continue on the journey with us! Below is a summary of what we have achieved with your help, and highlight of some of the work we’ve done over the past year. All of this, and more, is explored in more detail inside the report.

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Why Education?

Our work is completely focussed on changing lives through education. Whilst the impacts of schooling are experienced on an individual level, its benefits are multiplied to include families, communities and wider society. Among the benefits are an increased earning potential, a reduction in the infant mortality rate and an increase in average GDP by 0.37%.

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Further than ensuring education becomes universal, we work with our link schools to provide a quality education. To ensure this, we have 5 main targets on which we focus:

• Infrastructure
• Teaching Quality
• Learning Resources
• Inclusion (of all social groups)
• Community Support

Below are some examples of the projects we have been involved in during the 2013-2014 period, each of which reflect one or more of our targets.

St. George’s School Project

‘Having worked with schools elsewhere in Ethiopia, I could see the huge contribution that St. Georges is making to improve education’
– Hannah, Teacher and LE Volunteer

Link Ethiopia supported the establishment of the St George’s School project, an initiative set up by the Northwood School Group here in the UK. St George’s, a not-for-profit non-government school, provides learning opportunities for a large intake of orphans and disadvantaged children from the local area.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

By March 2014, the core buildings were completed and already in use. The aim is for the project to continue to expand in order to provide schooling until Grade 12. A very big thank you to Broomwood Hall and the Northwood School Group for your vision and direction so far!

Case study: Dudmegn School, Gondar

In February 2014, we installed a water station of 24 new taps at Dudmegn School. Before the installation, the school was managing with just two functional taps for a population of over 2000 students. The wider availability of water in the school has resulted in a higher attendance rate among students. We are hugely thankful for the purchases made from our Gift Ethiopia shop, shop.linkethiopia.org, and also for contributions made by the Mandala Trust, in addition to the supporters of our gift scheme.

Case study: Sincil School, Lincolnshire

At Sincil

The link between Sincil Sports College and Times Choice Academy in Bishoftu has been especially fruitful, and the partnership provided an opportunity for two students, Kyle and Ryan, to take part in the British Council funded ‘Connecting Classrooms’ exchange programme. This was a great opportunity for the boys to visit Times Choice Academy, which they really enjoyed! We are also pleased to say that Sincil were awarded funding for a second ‘Connecting Classrooms’ trip. Well done and thank you to both schools for maintaining a strong and successful partnership.

Sponsorship case study: Tejitu

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Tejitu, an 18 year old young woman from Bishoftu, has been sponsored by Link Ethiopia for approximately 5 years. Through our School Links, Volunteering and other project programmes, she has been able to gain confidence in her English language skills, engaged in global learning with students at her link school in the UK. She also helped to coordinate a ‘World Challenge’ trip at her own school, which helped her to further develop her global outlook and grow in confidence. We are extremely proud of her achievements and we look forward to seeing her fulfil her ambition of studying Biology at university.

Teaching Quality

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Investing in quality teachers is central to providing a quality education. During the 2013-2014 year, we were able to train grade 1 and grade 2 teachers in the phonics method. We have observed fantastic results so far, among them a 77% increase in the number of students using the library and a 65% increase in test scores for students of the trained teachers.

You can flip through the report below (click in the middle to view fullscreen). Enjoy!

Click here to see the full report and hear about the above achievements in detail, as well as the results of our work on global awareness, learning resources, and inclusion. Once again, we want to thank our link schools for your dedication, fundraising and ideas – none of the above would be possible without your contributions. We look forward to future engagements and successes!

Posted in 2013, 2014, 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Fundraising, Gender, Global Education, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Project expeditions, Projects, School links, Science and technology, Sports, Tours, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Water and sanitation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Corvallis-Gondar Sister Cities Association win Best Overall Program award!

The work of the Corvallis-Gondar Sister Cities Association (C-GSCA) to develop sustainable programs and promote cultural awareness, respect, and understanding has been recognised by Sister Cities International, who have awarded them the ‘Best Overall Program’ award in their annual awards recognitions.

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Specific projects in 2013, for which the C-GSCA and Link Ethiopia were praised, included:

  • improving the quality of student learning by promoting sound teaching practices in Gondar schools, through training and professional development,
  • establishing computer access and literacy, and
  • creating a culture of reading, maths and science proficiency.

You can read the full press release regarding the award over on the Sister Cities International site.

This brilliant work was made possible by the fundraising and management efforts of the C-GSCA, all the way in Oregon, USA! They work hand-in-hand with local NGOs like Link Ethiopia to implement their projects and have developed a real connection and link between communities and cultures – just the sort of relationship which we like to help foster.

Tsadiku Yohannes Elementary in Gondar was chosen as the C-GSCAs ‘Model School’ and together they have been able to make fantastic strides in improving the quality of teacher training, the school’s educational environment and improving access to computer and literacy facilities.

We look forward to continuing to work with them this year and beyond, and congratulations again for the award!

Posted in 2013, 2014, Fundraising, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Science and technology |

Alastair’s Trip – Making sure we make a difference

I’m nearing the conclusion of a stint with Link Ethiopia just shy of 3 months.  I’ve been very kindly sponsored by Integrate Hands,

 a small post-conflict charity founded and run by Katinka Nicou.

I’ve spent the majority of my time here sleeping, or involved in two long term projects, both education-based, a Libraries and Literacy project very directly related to education, and a project to increase female attendance at school with a broader background and impact.  It is now a cliché as worn as an Ethiopian welcome mat that education is the building block for a society, or words to that effect.  But it’s so oft-repeated because it’s an accurate reflection of its significance.  The one disclaimer is mostly too obvious to be added, that education must be of sufficient quality.  More than the presence of a student in a classroom for eight, nine, ten, even twenty years is needed.

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Leaving aside its impact in the UK, through varied methods Link is working to increasing the quality and quantity of that education in Ethiopia.  And in doing so, provide the tools that today’s children will need when it is their turn to be part of the ripples of change that will overcome problems Ethiopia will still be facing in ten, twenty or thirty years.

And not that many tools are required; an ability to read and write in English (which opens a world of knowledge and self-teaching not available in local languages), basic arithmetic, an inquisitive mind, and that old cliché from a thousand commencement addresses about a liberal education, ‘the ability to think’ (actually surely gained far earlier than university). Given those tools, who knows where the next Ethiopian generation could end up.

They could be doctors, or lawyers or bankers.  They could make truly dedicated teachers,

who put the hours of planning into their lessons to raise education levels across the country. They could be part of the efforts to pull some of their most ill-fated compatriots out of significant poverty.  They could have the insight and courage to see female genital mutilation for the mutilation it is and help reduce the horrific rates of it in the country. They could have the daring and ambition to fight violence and all the forms of discrimination against women, the tirelessness to develop truly representative government, the perspective to appreciate their countries role in minimising the effects of climate change, the empathy and thoughtfulness to help improve the well-being of the animals they work and live with, or they could simple be able to live richer and more creative or fulfilling lives.

 

None of that is to say that present day Ethiopia does not have many of those people. Indeed I met a bunch of them already working for Link and in local schools.  A group of dedicated individuals, lots of whom could perhaps be earning more money for more predictable hours (and less demands from ferengi’s like me), elsewhere.  I have great admiration for their daily efforts.  However, it is important too, not to deny the distance that the country still has to come, if it is to create an environment for the greatest human fulfilment, to this sprawling and at times beautiful country.

 Those are just words and perhaps over-dramatised words at that.  For that reason, and a more general fear that my involvement in development work will be more back patting than doing good, the most interesting part of my time here has been setting up and running programmes to monitor the progress of the projects I’m involved in.  Not only is showing improvement vital for funding – it’s vital for the work, vital for the people Link are trying to help help themselves.  We’re not interested in a programme unless it works.  Unless we see a measurable improvement, to hell with it, we’ll put our efforts into a different programme that we know does work.

Collecting data is not very glamorous or sexy.  But it’s finding what is effective.  And that’s about as important as development work comes.  During the seven or so months I’ve spent in Africa to date I’ve heard more than enough stories about hindsight revealing vast amounts of wasted effort and money.  Therefore being involved in projects that we’ll very quickly know the impact of, know if they are implementing the change they seek, is great.  And although there’s a long way between a measure of literacy and some ultimately immeasurable feature of collective human well-being that we’re striving for, it’s at least on the right road, long and winding as that road might be.

Posted in 2013, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Volunteering |

Addis Alem students enjoy the gift of water!

Addis Alem is one of the oldest school in Gondar, serving 655 children from very poor families living in Kebele 03. There used to be only 1 water tap for the entire school (children and staff) which used to get quite crowded during break time. However, thanks to funds from COFRA (a Switzerland based charitable trust), we were able to change this and now they have a water station with 12 functioning taps! Thanks to COFRA, the Addis Alem students are better able to concentrate on their lessons!

Posted in 2013, By project type, Projects, Uncategorized, Water and sanitation |

Library And Literacy Project – Following up

In addition to the Sounds of English training, given by Sue in Gonder, and myself in Bishoftu, earlier this term, the librarian, director (headteacher) and a few teachers form each Library and Literacy Project school were given library training by SEDFA’s Mark Smith.

This was a two day course that sought to make the best possible use of the school’s libraries.  From making sure they have appropriate facilities, displays and basic facilities for lending books to setting up the library for teaching reading, establishing reading clubs, performing case studies of library users, and getting local community members and parents involved in their students library.  The aim is to ensure a) that schools have well equipped libraries and b) that they use them to engender an infectious enthusiasm for reading in their pupils.  In short, the project seeks to inculcate reading.

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The project funding provides a grant of 2,000 birr (only around £70, but that goes quite a way here) for library improvement.  With this and the two sets of training happening right at the start of the year, it’s important that early momentum and enthusiasm is not lost, but maintained not only this year, but into the next years.

To help with this, we have arranged regular visits, every two months, to each of the libraries.  During these we assess the libraries progress on a set of criteria based on 3 increasingly difficult and sophisticated levels; bronze, silver and gold.  We arrange a meeting with the librarian and a senior teacher responsible for the library, during which assess each of the criteria at one level.  The presence of a senior teacher is to make sure the librarian gets support from the school, and chiding where necessary.  Furthermore, the libraries must be integrated parts of the pupils’ education.  There’s little point having a library with every bell and whistle allowed in your average library if it exists almost in isolation from the rest of the school and its teaching.

The bronze silver and gold criteria allows us to give the libraries clear targets for what to improve, while giving us clear information about what stages each of the libraries are at and the data to track their progress.

It’s a surprisingly tough job.  We have to be clear in whether the targets are met, which involves encouraging the librarians who need it, and not letting who could do more blag their way to a certificate. Finding the line between offering an easy ride that leaves the libraries unchanged day-to-day without helping the pupils, and a ruthless hard-line approach to each target that disheartens overworked and underpaid staff, is harder than it seemed from writing criteria in Link’s walled garden in Northern Bishoftu.  We also don’t want to be constrained or blinkered by the targets. As we’re often told, cat skinning can be done in multiple ways and we must be aware of the limitations of our criteria.

Our visits to date have been promising.  Most of the librarians and schools have been welcoming and grateful, not irritated by the interference of outsiders without formal library training presenting them with extra work.  Only a small minority took each missed target as a significant personal blow and one proved tricky to track down (we finally corned the librarian at Foka school on our 4th visit, but once there, he turned out to be excellent).

The motivation is mostly a better library, better literacy and better educated pupils, but we dangle certificates in front of them too.  Just as the ‘Sounds of English’ course shows teachers will still do more things than you’d have expected for a sweet, so far librarians have shown a similar soft spot for certificates.

The visits will continue through 2014, building to a reading competition between the local schools in Bishoftu and Gonder at the end of the school year in June.  There, we hope to celebrate and announce the achievements of the project while showcasing reading as the laudable pleasure it should be.  Although our visits and the competition won’t alone ensure sustainability, they should keep reading at the top of the local agenda.

Posted in 2013, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Volunteering |

A mother’s love

Link Ethiopia is pleased to introduce you to Samirawit Ketema, a 14 year-old and her mother Fanu Girma. Their story shows the value of dedication, family unity, education and ambition.

Samirawit was born to an illiterate mother, her father left the family home several years ago. Her mother knew that education was central to improving the lives of both her and her daughter. She committed herself to setting the best possible example for her daughter by enrolling herself in night class.

She enrolled immediately determined to go school herself and help her only child at home. Fanu joined grade 1 at night program and started reading and writing and in doing so was able to her child do the same.

Samirawit’s mother wanted her daughter to be educated, to understand the value of attending school and to have someone at home who could help her with her studies. With hard work and the support of her mother, Samirawit has been scoring over 90% for her exams in English, Maths and Physics – she hopes to train as a doctor when she finishes school.

Fanu would love to continue her night classes all the way to grade 9. Unfortunately however, she has been torn between helping her daughter with her studies and supporting her financially. She has had to drop out of her night classes to concentrate on her job as a cleaner so that she is able to continue to provide for herself and her daughter. As a result of this her education has come to a halt and she is now less able to support Samirawit with her studies.

Could you help to support Samirawit and her mother to continue their education together? With a little help with school fees and the buying of essential study materials we hope that both will be able to continue to support each other with their learning.

If you would like to help Samirawit and her mother please follow this link to make a donation or an offer of support.

Posted in 2013, Child sponsorship, Inclusive education |

The Sounds of English – Following up

It’s all very well delivering a project or some training, but as discussed previously, we have to know if it works, and have to follow it up.

Therefore after each delivery of the ‘Sounds of English’ course (four in total), we went to watch each teacher giving a lesson.  It allows us to check if the course teaches what it seeks to teach, modify the course for the next batch of teachers when it hasn’t been clear enough, correct simple mistakes the teachers make, praise good work and show that we haven’t just abandoned the teachers after a week of glitzy (well, sort of) training and Tesco’s fruit pastilles.  It also gave us the chance to visit some more rural areas, see the schools we try to affect change in – their resources, location, equipment, staff motivation etc.

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Our first visit was back where we’d given the training and my first assignment was watching the class star (of indecipherable speeches) teach a cover lesson.  He arrived, donning his white coat dramatically and armed with a set of flashcards and his ‘Sounds of English’ notes.  I settled down with our feedback sheet to enjoy a five minute lesson and whatever else he had in store…

An hour and a quarter later I staggered out into the corridor having heard every sound of English, and a few more besides, uttered by every student it the class, probably twice.  He’d managed to multiply the five minute lesson by fifteen, and then some.  Aside from completely missing the point of the central message for their classroom teaching, it wasn’t actually that bad… All very teacher-centric, but at least his sounds were alright.  I gave what feedback I could, and wandered off to see if Sue had had any more luck.

She’d had a mixed bag, and over the weeks she and I have seen our share of missing letters from the alphabet (no x or e was a nice effort, p and q have also been reported missing), classes chanting the alphabet 8 times, flashcards held at angles and pointing in directions I barely knew existed, (then usually dropped all over the floor), 16 repeats of an incorrect ‘a’, teachers asking us to teach and most other things in between.

But we’ve seen some great stuff too, and have adapted the course as we’ve gone to cut out the mistakes and misunderstandings.  We’ve seen perfect short lessons leading into the national curriculum, great correction and encouragement, lessons plans, material carefully prepared in advance, new activities designed, and most pleasingly, activities that get the pupils to think for themselves rather than the national blight of being lectured at.

The worry is that the teachers we observe end up teaching to us, not their pupils.  That they know what we want to see and can put it on for us, but do they abandon activities or a short recap of blending as soon as we’ve left in preference for something they know better?

It’s difficult to protect against this.  It means that the most important part of our teaching has been convincing the teachers and schools that we’re not imposing some unwanted external programme onto them, but that our interests are aligned.  That the ‘Sounds of English’ course and the larger role of the ‘Library and Literacy’ project, will help them improve the education and reading of their pupils.  To date the teachers and librarians have seemed enthused.  It appears we’re pulling them willingly towards a common goal, rather than pushing them reluctantly to a goal they neither understand or wish for.

We’re likely to find out in June.  In the meantime I’ll just hope not to hear too many more alphabets.

Posted in 2013, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Volunteering |

Sincil Sports College experience Ethiopia – including the Great Ethiopian Run!

Written by Sincil Sports College

On Monday 18th November three of our teachers set off on an adventure of a lifetime – visiting our Link School, Times Choice Academy (TCA) in Debre Ziet, Ethiopia.

We exchange work with TCA three times a year to share experiences about our schools, life styles and culture. Last year 2 of our teachers visited TCA and strengthened the links between the two schools with the help of Link Ethiopia.

At TCA

One of the aims of this years’ visit was to use Sports Leaders to teach the Ethiopian pupils at how to play Rounders’. Whilst at TCA we met our sponsor children, Lidiya and Samirawit. We gave them a Sincil t-shirt along with a small gift each.

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TCA had organised a fun packed week from us with visits to the National Museum, Link Ethiopia Office, TCA, the pre-race pasta party with Haile Gebrselassie, The Great Ethiopian Run itself and lots of lovely restaurants.

We tried a variety of Ethiopian food over the week, including Tibbs, Fetira, Injera, Dora Wat to mention a few and enjoyed every meal.

The final day was race day, it was the 13th Annual Great Ethiopian Run, this is the biggest race in Africa, 37,000 people took part in the 10km race – a great achievement in a great atmosphere at 8000ft altitude, it was tough but we completed it!

A big thank you to the staff and pupils at Times Choice Academy and the staff at Link Ethiopia for looking after us for the week.

Posted in 2013, School links, Uncategorized |

Why do we travel?

I should travel more. I always want to but my timidity drags me back home.  There are goods and bads of travel, before I launch into the good, I want to mention the bad, it’s too easy to skip over them and swoon about how amaaazing a place was when you’re back home.  To do so overlooks the boredom, that it’s an effort to talk to people in a stunted language (yours or theirs), sunburn, difficultly sleeping in heat or a new bed, nausea-inducing malaria pills, constantly being watched and followed because you’re white, people trying to rip you off, Ethiopian TV (no offence, well a little, but not much), wondering if you can get egg poisoning (I was nudging 21 per week at one point), loneliness, running out of deodorant and having to use insect repellent as a last minute replacement, etc. etc.

BUT.  Travel lets you see a new perspective (you learn much more about your own country and own life back home from being able to see them from the outside).  New experiences appear to take longer, they don’t slip by as quickly into amalgamated memory, but the memories stand out and when reflected on later, fill more space, and apparently more time in your head.  The routine and monotony of daily life is broken – you don’t have time to get stuck in monotony if moving on to new places, while routines are so much easier to break when you’re forced out of them, I often don’t have the strength of will at home.  Then there are the stunning views, new friends, new food and drink, new experiences you wouldn’t dare try at home.  Plus I can grow a beard and wear my cricket hat without looking any more ridiculous than I already appear.

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The worst thing is missing people back home.  At times while travelling I’ve felt like a paraphrased version of a Californication quote, “It was the best of times, if only someone had told me.  My family and friends go on without me; while here I am, rotting away in the warm African sun…”

At times, I’ve wondered if I’ve been lonely.  I was sadder than I expected when Sue left after 4 weeks.   It may have been exacerbated by spending half an hour of the same day looking for a copy of a children’s book called “Where is my book?”, but I think it was mostly knowing I would miss her company and having a fluent English speaking companion.  I went back to the accommodation at lunchtime after she’d gone and wandered aimlessly around the house, wondering if Sue had just played a trick and was actually hiding under the broken table.  She wasn’t.  Though checking seemed to help.

In the UK you need not just English-speaking company but company you really get on with, can share what you like with, without the need for any masks.  Abroad it’s often nice having any English speaking company, a break from either your own head, or misunderstandings and communicational effort.  Someone who can easily understand jokes and can relate to experiences compared to home.

I’m long convinced that the phrase ‘You can laugh or cry’ is much more than a throwaway cliché, but a valuable insight.  Here, it is borne out in the choice of laughing at delays, hastily re-hashed or haphazard plans and misunderstandings, or crying at them, being frustrated and irritated by them. I’m so much better at the former when with someone. In fact, with someone I barely get frustrated or irritated at all.  But it seems I, or my ego, needs an audience to bother even trying to make jokes, however dreadful they are, and that they, and the feeling of solidarity they bring, are my main source of relief from petty daily travails.

Perhaps the question of loneliness is easier thought of in terms of opposites; I’m not surrounded by the close friends from back home, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been lonely.  A lot of that is down to the Link staff, they’re friendly and welcoming and kind.  They’ll make jokes with you and do everything they can to make your entire stay as rewarding as possible, not just your time working on Link projects.  Elsa, Zee and Eyayaw took me out to dinner, Haile introduced me to his friends (and hairdresser), the Bishoftu office invited me to Habtamu’s wedding 3 days after arrival.   That’s not to mention their daily help, appreciation and friendship.  The warmth of Link’s staff, here and in London, is undoubtedly one of its strengths.

Elsewhere, as in most of Africa, the parallel to being famous when you’re evidently a foreigner is overt.  People gather round you, shouting, yelling excitedly, the more daring trying to get close enough to touch you, or shake your hand.  And you’re admired for something as fatuous and arbitrary as real fame.  Here it’s because you’re white, rather than because you conform to certain standards of attractiveness, can sing, or hit a ball a long way.  The feeling is therefore as empty, as unwelcome and at times as plain irritating as fame must be to those who see it for what it is.

Perhaps my biggest reason for travel is that it brings my experiences closer to this Christopher Hitchens quote than I can ever really muster for life back home,  “Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”  Thanks to Link for letting me have a bit more of those things.

Posted in 2013, Volunteering |

Queniborough Teachers Visit Yekatit 23

We recently blogged about a school link between Queniborough and Yekatit 23. Two teachers from Queniborough, Lindsay Jones and Helen Francis went out to visit their link school. What follows is blog about their trip from their point of view, providing a valuable insight into the benefits of visiting a link school. Yekatit 23 is situated in the town of Bahir Dar in northern Ethiopia.

“On arrival to Yekatit 23 we were immediately made welcome with a traditional coffee ceremony. The children danced and sang for us and the Kindergarten class welcomed us with a bunch of flowers each. We spent the day observing lessons in our link school. It was clear that there is a huge difference between our education systems. In Ethiopia, each child learns from the same textbook and lessons are based on rote learning with limited opportunities for children to be creative. The resources were very limited but each child has a pen and a pad of paper on which to write.

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The children that we met at Yekatit 23 were so willing to learn and they greatly appreciate the education they are receiving. They aspire to be the best they can be and work really hard to achieve their goals. Observing the very basic lessons made us thoroughly appreciate the education system and resources our children have access to and made us really value our school ethos and aims.

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The next day was a national holiday so we went to visit the surrounding area with two of the teachers from Yekatit 23, Abundeje and Mullu. In the morning, we went on a boat trip on Lake Tana – the source of the Blue Nile. It is a beautiful and relaxing place to visit. We visited the monasteries and had an opportunity to visit a traditional village on one of the islands. We were treated to a traditional lunch at Abundeje’s house which consisted of injera with a variety of other foods and of course, a coffee ceremony. Later in the afternoon, we visited the picturesque Blue Nile Falls.

On the Wednesday we really ‘got stuck in’ with the teaching. In the morning, we spent a lot of time with the children in the Kindergarten class. We taught them some songs and some very simple number activities which they really seemed to enjoy. At the end of the morning, we gave each child a pack from the parents of our Foundation Stage and Year 1 children which included school supplies and a simple letter. It was very emotional watching the children beaming as they opened their packs and clung so tightly to them. Later that day, we taught English to two classes and shared letters from our Year 2 pupils.

The next day was our last full day and we completed a music project and our enterprise project. We taught a group of children at Yekatit 23 one of our children’s favourite songs and recorded the performance. Since visiting, we have shown this video to our children and they have sung along so that it sounds like they are all singing together, united as friends.

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Throughout our visit we also saw the difference that Link Ethiopia’s Child Sponsorship Programme makes. Link Ethiopia representatives visited to give out children’s sponsor packs which included shoes, uniform and school supplies. Spending a week in school has shown us how beneficial these basic packs are to each sponsor child.

Our enterprise project was one of the most rewarding parts of our visit. We spent some time sitting under the trees in their school compound teaching eight children how to make friendship bracelets. They listened so well and picked up how to make them easily and quickly. By the end of the session, more and more children kept sneaking in to the group so that they could help out with the friendship bracelets and our numbers had doubled! The teachers at Yekatit 23 are going to send over all of the friendship bracelets when they are finished so that our ‘Kids Who Care’ team can sell them back in Queniborough to raise money for their friends in Ethiopia.

We also had the opportunity to pass on gifts from families in our school to their sponsored children. This was very rewarding and we saw how grateful each child was for a simple gift such as a set of new clothes or a book.

On the Friday morning we said goodbye to our new friends at Yekatit 23 and headed off to the airport to catch our connecting flight to Addis. We had an amazing time and have learnt a lot from experiencing first hand how our link school operates and how we can best create positive and meaningful links.

Posted in 2013, Child sponsorship, School links |