News blog

Circus show raises more than $1000 for girl’s education!

Link Ethiopia is partnered with SponsorHer!, a social fundraising platform connecting girls in Ethiopia with sponsors all over the world and leveraging the potential of expatriates and tourists. We are always happy to be work with people who are just as passionate about education in Ethiopia as we are. With the help of Fekat Circus, SponsorHer! were able to put on a wonderful show to many people and raise more than 1000 USD.

Written by SponsorHer!

Under the blue tent of Fekat Circus in the old centre of Addis Ababa, Piassa, adults and children impatiently wait for the circus show to start. Some minutes later, young acrobats jump, fly and roll over the scene, followed by talented jugglers and two funny clowns.

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The public holds its breath when two young girls climb up high under the circus roof just held by a simple rope and start doing breath taking acrobatics. Big applause sets in after each successful figure and even bigger so once the girls land safely on the ground again.

More than 150 people, mostly families, came to the magic circus afternoon last Sunday, 20thSeptember. Besides enjoying the wonderful show, they helped raise more than 1000 USD that will support four Ethiopian girls to attend Secondary School for the next school year.

Maria and Giorgia opening the show

            ‘Maria and Giorgia opening the show’

Habtam and Eman, selected and accompanied by our partner MYSisters in Addis Ababa, and Hamelmal and Yezibalem, supported by our partner Link Ethiopia are among the best of their class, but their families struggle to support their school education. All four will start Secondary School this week in Grade 9. Secondary School in Ethiopia lasts 2 years and is followed by a two year preparatory class for university in Grade 11 and 12.
You can learn more about them by clicking on their name above, and if interested sign up to support them during all of their Secondary School career.

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We greatly thank Fekat Circus for this wonderful show – circus art in its pure form. Fekat Circus enables professional and young artists alike to express themselves through corporal arts. Besides its professional shows, Fekat offers as a social endeavour circus training to disadvantaged children in Piassa and brings joy through clownery to sick children. This joy also spilled over to the public last Sunday, when artists, children and parents alike joined into a common dance at the end of the show.

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Public and artists join each other for a final dance

‘Public and artists join each other for a final dance’

 

Thank you everybody for coming and for your support of girls education!

This entry was posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Gender, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

What’s life like in a refugee camp?

Written by Muna

It is important to help as much as possible during the refugee crisis. Raising awareness, donating money, certain items and even your time could make things better for the countless refugees coming to Europe. Teachers – you can contribute as well by educating students for who things might seem complicated or confusing. For example, do children really know what a refugee camp is? Where are they? Who builds them? What is life like for the people living there? We have found interesting resources for teachers to use as school resources which could bring up clearance about refugees- mainly on camps.

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The documentary tells the story of a small group of Kunama refugees and their search for a new home.

 

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Home Across Lands is an award-winning feature documentary that explores the refugee experience through stories of several refugees from Eritrea resettling in the United States. The viewer gets a glimpse of how people live in refugee camps and some of the struggles they face. The documentary shows in depth that refugee camps aren’t the end station of many refugees’ lives. Many people feel caged and have nothing to do other than wait to see what the next day holds.

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A screenshot from the trailer ‘Home Across Lands’.

Shimelba Refugee Camp can’t offer many activities to civilians inside – life is stale and ‘on-hold’. We recommend that teachers and tutors show this documentary to pupils to start exploring questions about refugee camps, their purpose, their flaws and the people who live within them. It is a term that students have probably heard, especially in light of recent events, but may not know much more than the name. Go to Home Across Lands on Vimeo to see the trailer. If the movie is too long to show in class, the trailer could be just as useful. We also came up with a few questions that could help get you started:

  • Why would someone leave a refugee camp near their home country and risk the dangerous journey to Europe?
  • What are the motivations of people living in refugee camps?
  • Do you think it’s easy to get a job and earn money when living in a refugee camp? If not, why not?
  • Do you think children will receive access to a quality education in camps like Shimelba?
  • Optional: In the full film, we see families resettling in America. What challenges do you think the Kunama will face while adjusting to their new lives and environment?

Personal questions:

  • How would you feel to live in a refugee camp?
  • If you had to leave your home, what would you miss the most?
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Domiz Refugee Camp was established in April 2012 to host Syrian Kurds.

 

If the students have access to computers, Refugee Republic would be a good website for them to visit.

It is an amazingly interactive resource that lets you explore life in Domiz Camp, a Syrian refugee camp in northern Iraq, home to around 64,000 predominantly Kurdish Syrian refugees. The website has a very detailed map and shows many routes on that map. Every route contains lots of photos, sound recordings and life stories of the refugees living there. Refugee Republic was a project set-up by a Dutch daily morning paper, named de Volkskrant. The web-documentary has won many prizes for their way of combining storytelling with visual work.

If you more interested in other refugee related topics, visit this article from Global Dimension. We also recommend to explore their website for more (global) resources and to bring the world in to your classroom.

This entry was posted in 2015, Global Education, Inclusive education, Other news. Bookmark the permalink.

Victory goes to The Wolves!

Written by Muna

You may have seen it on our Facebook page already this week, but we are pleased to announce that the Wolves won the Gondar Under-17s Cup Tournament! After battling through the group stages, quarters and semi-finals against colourfully named teams like ‘Fuad Grocery’ and ‘Medhanealem’, they tenaciously won the final against their rivals ’Esufikir’– a team who had previously trumped the Wolves 1-0 in the group stages. After their success we spoke to the members from the Link Ethiopia Wolves to tell us about that glorious day.

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A late end to the rainy ‘Kiremt’ Summer season in Gondar meant the football pitch was in particularly bad shape for this year’s tournament.

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“On Monday, all my team members were confident that we would win. But I was a bit less confident.” said the Wolves’ coach Ermias Dejen. Even though the team was in high spirits in anticipation of the game, Ermias and the audience that day felt differently. In his opinion, 95% of the spectators were sure that our team would lose. The coach elaborates why they thought that:

It’s because Esufikir have been together for the last 4 years, both in the winter and summer. They train three or four days a week. My team only meets when the academic year is over. In terms of fitness and training, all the teams we faced were better than us. It seemed like we were an under-15 team while the others looked like under-20 teams.”

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A tense half-time team huddle discusses the defensive tactics for the final half of the match.

During the final, the teams both played well and their friendly rivalry made itself known on the pitch. Esufikir may be good, but The Wolves were performing at the same level.

That’s because my players were better at controlling the ball” Ermias explains. We learned not to give up hope easily from them. We were also able to continue defending well to take them to the penalty shoot-out.” The tensest part of any game are penalties. The Wolves’ captain, Solomon, missed the first penalty, which left the team and fans crestfallen. But to everyone’s relief the team’s savior came in the form of our goalkeeper, Atirsaw. He blocked two penalties, which ended the game with The Wolves winning the Cup!

We asked Amanuel Tesfahun, lead striker for The Wolves, what his thoughts were about the game: “I didn’t expect to score that day. But all of us played the first 10 minutes well and created the chance to lead deep into our opponent’s territory into the last minutes. The fact that we scored first helped us to go all the way to the penalty shoot-out. But when they scored the equalizer we were all shell-shocked.”

He continues: “When our Captain missed the first penalty, I thought we were finished because this was what happened to our team in last year’s final. But with the heroic effort of the goalkeeper and the other penalty takers we were able to win it this time. Winning a cup is the ultimate success and it has made me very happy.”

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Members of the team proudly displaying the winner’s cup.

Against all odds, our team proved that they were the best out there and claimed a triumphant winning. Throughout every match the Wolves played, they gained new supporters, which motivated them to win. Their coach has the final word: “The prize meant a lot to me personally. Link Ethiopia has been patient with me for the last three years. And now we have contributed our part to make Link Ethiopia well-known around Gondar.” We congratulate our underdogs, the Link Ethiopia Wolves, for winning the Cup in such nail-biting fashion!

We support the Wolves in Gondar, and another young team in Southern Ethiopia, as part of our commitment to supporting sports, fitness and physical education in schools and communities across Ethiopia.

Not only do these projects give young people a fantastic opportunity to be active and focused during the long Summer breaks from school, but they give young people something to be proud of – and be part of! This is invaluable for the communities in which we work, where young people face many challenges and a lack of local facilities for getting involved in activities such as sport. If you’d like to support this work, head over to our Projects and Donate pages to get involved.

This entry was posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Projects, Sports, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Triumphant string of victories for The Wolves

Written by Muna

It was a busy week for our Summer football team, the Link Ethiopia Wolves.

The Wolves competed in four matches, battling through the group stages of the Gondar Under 17s Cup tournament, last week. The first game was against ‘Esufikir’. Both teams were strong and remained upbeat throughout the match. At the end of the first half, the score was 1-1.

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Despite the Wolves best efforts, Esufikir gained the upper hand and scored their second goal. Esufikir won the match 2-1.

The second game saw The Wolves facing ‘Brigata.’ After the Wolves defeat against Esufikir, they were more determined than ever to win this game. If they were to lose, they wouldn’t proceed to the semi-finals. The band of brothers, drawn from Link Ethiopia schools across Gondar, definitely didn’t want to go home yet.

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In an early bout of energy and enthusiasm, The Wolves scored an early goal in the first half, which ended 2-0. In the second half, The Wolves kept energetic and sealed their victory with another goal. The final score was 3-0! This was one of their best scores, not to mention displays of skill and tenacity, yet. Things were looking up….

By winning the match against Brigata, the team entered the quarter-finals with confidence. The third game in a week was against a team called ‘Fuad Grocery’ – some of the participating teams come from schools or NGO’s, like ours. Fuad Grocery is one of the teams sponsored by a local business. Cheered on by growing numbers of avid fans the team won 2-1 and secured their reputation ahead of the semis. The Wolves were on a winning streak as the semi-finals approached and it was tense for all involved – from the players to their coach and the Link Ethiopia staff in Ethiopia and the UK. In the semi -final game they played against a team regarded as the best and most competitive competing in the tournament: ‘Medhanealem’ whose players loom larger-than-life and display a level of skill usually reserved for older players. Yet, despite this intimidating presence, The Wolves managed to score an early goal in the first half. Their tenacity and skilful defending saw The Wolves dig in and securing the match 1-0.

The Link Ethiopia Wolves have now qualified for the finals once again. They play against Esufikir – the only team they lost to this year. Last year our team made it to the finals, against ‘Kebele 03’and lost – on penalties! It was a tense and nerve racking final that ended in disappointment. We hope that this year the result will go better for the Wolves. We know they’re ready for this year’s finals and we can’t wait to see how they do.

 

This entry was posted in 2015, Sports, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Happy International Literacy Day!

Written by Muna

In 1965, UNESCO has proclaimed that September 8th will be marked as International Literacy Day. Today is a day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. A day to remind everybody that reading and writing is one of the basic skills every person should and has the right to have. For over 55 years UNESCO has worked to ensure that literacy remains a priority on national and international agendas.

This year’s theme is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. Projects and events are being held all around the world in dedication of this day. In New Zealand babies born on September 8th, get a free book so new parents can read to them straight away.

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Literacy is a fundamental human right and everybody should be able to have access to it. Many countries have worked on improving their education system and made many efforts to reduce national illiteracy rates. For example, since 1951 the overall literacy rate in India has increased from a mere 18.33% to 74.04%. On an average, literacy rates have went up by at least 9-10% every decade.

On education, children from Finland are more ahead than other countries. Teaching is a well-paid and respected profession and at start of 2016, Finnish children will start learning computer coding. Finland is known for their innovative ways of education. They don’t dub foreign shows, but rather use subtitles to encourage viewers into reading and learning a new language. The Scandinavian country also has a strong library culture. 80% of Finns visit the library regularly. On an average, each person borrows 10 books, DVD’s or magazines in a year. And the UK isn’t that far behind!

Finland ranks very high amongst developed countries in education and literacy. Link Ethiopia have been working hard to decrease the illiteracy rate in Ethiopia with our project work in schools. Not that long ago, Link Ethiopia started our Libraries and Literacy project. Just like Finland, our goal is to promote a culture of reading and combat low literacy levels in schools at the same time. The project’s objectives are:

  • To improve children’s reading attainment in the early grades.
  • To increase access to books and libraries for younger children.
  • To encourage reading for pleasure.
  • To improve early grade teachers’ confidence in teaching reading and English.
  • To improve the quality of teaching through adoption of pedagogies of systematic phonics and reading comprehension techniques.
  • To improve outcomes for those identified as weaker readers in secondary school.

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We’ve seen success in the Libraries and Literacy. Since 2013, we have been able to expand the project over 46 schools and bringing the joy of reading to many children. Our missions continues as we try to including more schools in to the Libraries and Literacy project – join us.

This entry was posted in 2015, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Projects, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Ethiopia’s helping hand during refugee crisis

Written by Muna

Many refugees from Eritrea and South-Sudan try to flee to neighbouring countries for safety. Ethiopia and Kenya are some of the largest recipients of refugee’s in the world – a fact not that well known here in the West. But where do the refugees come from and what are they fleeing from?

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Robert Stansfield/Department for International Development [CC BY-SA 2.0 or OGL], via Wikimedia Commons

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South Sudan
South Sudan has been in a conflict situation since soon after it declared its independence from Sudan – the two countries still harbour significant grievances against one another; a hangover from a decades-long civil war.
In South Sudan a civil war broke out at the end of 2013. Since then, conflict spread across the country until a ceasefire was signed in January 2014, followed by a peace agreement in August 2015.  Although there has been violence split along ethnic-tribal lines, this explanation of the conflict is overly simplified – weak state structures, a divisive leader, external pressures and a historical context of violent conflict closely linked to politics –  all contributed to the current situation.

Hospitals, clinics and schools were looted and destroyed during the fighting. In May, Médecins Sans Frontières had to escape a hospital where they were operating in Leer due to missile strikes. Approximately 200,000 people were unable to get medical attention. In Bentiu thousands of people fled to UN-controlled areas and spoke about how villages had been burned down, families were brutally separated, people being attacked or killed and many people, including woman and children, were abused and left behind in terrible conditions.

More than 1.5 million have been internally displaced in the country and more than 223,214 have found refuge in Ethiopia.

Eritrea

There is little information about the situation in Eritrea since the Eritrea government doesn’t share many official records. But what we do know paints a difficult picture.

There hasn’t been an election held since 1993. Since then the country has been ruled under a repressive regime. The media is censured and many journalists and critics have been arrested in the past. A UN rapporteur has been denied entry to the country, when the organisation try to investigate human rights in the African country. Furthermore, Eritreans cannot leave the country without permission from the authorities. They must first apply for an exit visa, but in practice almost no one gets such a visa, say human rights organizations. Eritrean men are in a state of what the Guardian describe as “indefinite military service”. Many citizens see no other option to flee, even when fleeing means risking their own lives at the border or on an overcrowded boat crossing the Mediterranean.  Nearly 360,000 refugees are being dealt with by the UNHCR as of 2014 – with nearly 106,859 in Ethiopia. 34,000 Eritrean refugees arrived in Italy last year. This makes Eritreans the second largest group to arrive in Italy by boat, after Syrians.

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John Lavall, CC BY-SA 3.0

Ethiopia is a developing country that is tackling its own development, security, health and education challenges – but it has become a refuge for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence, persecution and hunger. Germany, with a GDP per capita of $48,226, received 96,830 asylum applications in the first 4 months of 2015 – by contrast, Ethiopia, whose GDP per capita stands at $1,455, received approximately 200,000 in the same period.

Link Ethiopia continues to work towards a situation where children and young people in Ethiopia have access to a quality education. Over the years, we’ve been able to impact the lives of over 100,000 children across 100 schools in Ethiopia. The more we can do to support Ethiopia while it offers safe haven to those fleeing violence, oppression, hunger and disease, the better. And, as Ethiopia and other developing countries are giving shelter to a huge number of refugees, surely here in the UK and Europe, we can do the same?

Go to http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/03/refugee-crisis-what-can-you-do-to-help to see a list of charities who are working to directly support refugees during the current crisis and check out the various ways you can help – from donating to volunteering your time and donating unwanted items.

This entry was posted in 2015, Ethiopian news, Other news, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

What is the difference between a ‘refugee’ and a ‘migrant’?

Written by Muna

Europe is dealing with a major refugee crisis – the largest since World War Two. Many refugees are fleeing their countries to find sanctuary in European countries. More than 300,000 people have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far this year and over 2,600 haven’t survived the dangerous crossing. It is predicted that these numbers will increase. Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have contributed heavily to the refugee crisis. In the media across Europe and beyond, you’ll come across the word ‘migrants’ referring to refugees. However, as we’ll find out, migrant is not a synonym for refugee.

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By Haeferl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Many refugees have no other option than leave their home in order to find a save haven for themselves and their family.

A migrant is a person who moves from one place to another in order to find work or better living conditions. The motive for leaving their home isn’t because of a direct threat – but they nevertheless may have a compelling reason for moving across the world. Someone who leaves their country because of poverty is not seen as a refugee according to international laws and obligations. Those same laws grant refugees humanitarian aid and international protection.

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By CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors behind someone leaving their home and attempting a dangerous migration – like that which is playing out on beaches across the Mediterranean – are powerful. Endemic poverty; the criminalisation of behaviour such as homosexuality; oppressive governmental and social environments, such as that in Eritrea – all of these are powerful ‘push factors’ that cause someone to migrate. Quality education can be a ‘pull factor’. Many migrants all over the world would move to a country that has better education system.

A range of media organisations have asked themselves the same question: migrant or refugee?

UNHCR: ‘Refugee’ or ‘migrant’? Which is right?
Al Jazeera: When it comes to refugees, terminology matters
BBC: The battle over the words used to describe migrants
Channel 4 (Lindsey Hilsum): Migrants or refugees: what’s the right word?
Guardian: We deride them as ‘migrants’. Why not call them people?

Global Dimensions has a suggestion for engaging this issue in class with students:
Perhaps you could discuss in class the words that have been used, and what these words mean. Not just ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee’, but describing groups of humans as ‘swarms’ or ‘floods’, or comparing them to insects or vermin. Why do people use these words? What impact does it have? Students could explore ways in which specific groups of people have been ‘dehumanised’ through use of language, for example in Nazi Germany or during the genocide in Rwanda.

Go to http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/03/refugee-crisis-what-can-you-do-to-help to see a list of charities who are working to directly support refugees during the current crisis and check out the various ways you can help – from donating to volunteering your time and donating unwanted items.

To help us change lives through education in Ethiopia, you can visit our website and learn more: www.linkethiopia.org.

This entry was posted in 2015, Other news. Bookmark the permalink.

Should we boost children’s IQ?

Written by Muna

Bringing up Britain, a radio show on BBC 4, had a segment yesterday about children’s IQ. The big question was “is possible to boost their IQ?” However, one main theme emerged during the radio show: do not put too much pressure your child to achieve academically well. Marielle Frostrup, the show’s presenter, was joined by Dr Stuart Richie, Postdoctoral Fellow in Cognitive Ageing at the University of Edinburgh; writer and consultant Sue Palmer; Dr Sophie von Stumm, Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths and Director of their Hungry Mind Lab; and Hilary Wilce, writer.

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The programme started by asking the guests to define intelligence in its simple form. Dr Richie sees intelligence as the general learning capacity people have. Dr. von Stumm’s explanation isn’t that far off from Dr Stuart’s. According to her, intelligence equals the adaptability of the brain and ability to adapt to of changes in the environmental and elsewhere. Intelligence isn’t just academic, but this is an important element of it. Through play, for example, children learn complex skills like social regulations, leadership and teamwork.  However, some parents do directly link intelligence with school performance to the exclusion of other indicators. For a kid, one of their main environments is school and we find it easier to look at school ability rather than other, perhaps more difficult to quantify, measures. School is also not always a positive environment and some children may thrive in other circumstances than academic education.

The show goes deeper into this topic when Mariella and her guests debate the role of parenting on intelligence. Examples such as exercise and sleep show how important these non-education related factors are. Then there are the more controversial and underexamined parenting interventions: breastfeeding, flashcards, violin lessons and superfoods – can these really make children more intelligent?

There isn’t an easy answer. But one clear piece of guidance emerges from the discussion: avoid forcing or over-pressuring children with extra school work, stifling them with after-hours tuition, or giving them supplements in a vain attempt to boost IQ.

The radio show was focused at intelligence but looked at how parents should avoid behaving. Dr Sophia von Stumm said earlier about how the main environment for children is school. In Ethiopia that is the case but they challenge different things. Such as under-educated teachers and poor quality educational environment – classrooms, books, resources etc. Some children don’t even go to school. They feel the need to drop out of school to support family income needs or girls are being pressured to not attend school due of prejudice, hygiene issues or family affairs. Poor quality educational environment – classrooms, books, resources etc.

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The show made us think about The Good Child Report the Children’s Society posted. The Good Child Report stated that 84% of children in Ethiopia ‘totally’ like going to school. Only 26% of children in the UK feel the same way. All the consequences the radio show suggested stifled children are borne out in the Good Child Report. 13% of children in England are unhappy with their body; nearly a quarter are unhappy with their self-confidence. It’s unnecessary to pile more pressure upon children already in a results-driven learning environment, and who also may be insecure about their appearance and lacking in self-confidence. Children have the capacity to teach themselves and should learn from their mistakes. A combination of a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and the right amount of support from their parents should be enough.

If you want to hear the radio show go to the Binging up Britain website:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0680g5x.  If you want to read more about the Good Child Report then go visit http://goodchildhood2015.childrenssociety.org.uk/.

This entry was posted in 2015, Global Education, Other news, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Charity Golf Club team raises £1,250

Written by Muna

The Charity Golf Club organisation held a fundraising event recently at the Hainault Golf Club outside of London. The club consists of more than 20 friends, who work to make a difference in the lives of thousands by raising money for various charities. They do this by holding golf tournaments for a different charity every month throughout the year.

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We were thrilled when we heard that the club had chosen Link Ethiopia to be supported for the month August. On a sunny Saturday afternoon the golf charity tournament was held for golfers and guests. Anyone who wanted to give back by playing a friendly game of golf was more than welcome to join in. We can imagine what a fun day it was for the participants. In the end, they raised an incredible £1,250 for Link Ethiopia! The money will be used to support our work improving the quality of and access to education in Ethiopia. We want to thank the work the Charity Golf Club team have done and we wish them well in future events.

If you want to follow the club’s example, visit our website at www.linkethiopia.org and click on ‘Get Involved’. Also, don’t forget to go to http://www.charitygolfclub.org/ to support the group in future fundraising events.

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This entry was posted in 2015, Fundraising, Sports, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

The Wolves return!

Written by Muna

About a week ago, our favourite summer football team the Link Ethiopia Wolves, from Gondar, played against the Andinet Elementary School. The weather they played in would make it difficult for anyone to succeed in. As if Mother Nature had it in for the Wolves, the playing field was very slippery and wet due to the continuing rainy season. But the Wolves had their eye on the ball and the as a whole maintained a strong, energetic and persistent front. In the end, the match resulted into a draw. The final score was 2-2.

Almost a year ago, we wrote about the Wolves playing and winning their first ever match in the The Gondar Town Under-15’s Tournament against Hamsalomie, another school in Gondar! Unfortunately, although they made it all the way to the Cup Final, the Wolves didn’t win and were defeated in a tense penalty shoot out. We proud of how far our team made it- in their first tournament!

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We continue to be so proud of the Wolves. We’ve seen them progress a lot and they’ve surprised everyone with their determination. We hope to see many more goals to be scored in the future by our footballing hero’s. The Gondar Town Under-15’s Tournament continues this month and we hope our Wolves go even further than last year.

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To learn more about our sports & fitness projects such as the Wolves Football Team, and to pledge your support, please head over to our Projects and Donate pages on our website.”

This entry was posted in 2015, Projects, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.