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3 schools, 500 children, a daily lunch programme, parent workshops, health screening, tutoring & family support

Education, the best investment for a bright future

Improving educational attainment will create major social returns and benefit individuals, communities and nations.

Ethiopia’s economy is growing at more than ten percent a year. Yet only one percent of its population goes to university. More Ethiopian young people than anywhere else in the world are poised to enter the workforce in the next thirty years. They desperately need training to keep up with the country’s burgeoning economy. We fund higher education projects, to propel more young adults into this university educated minority.

And it’s not only at university level that education often falls short in Ethiopia. Only half of all children in the country attend primary schools. This number drops to a third in secondary schools. We make sure that the children in our care complete their education – and crucially have a solid career path at the end of it.

Lack of support from the family can result in children being pulled from school to carry out household chores or bring in a meagre earning. We educate the parents of our students to understand the long-term investment of their child’s education. This takes time; acceptance can be a slow process. But over the years we see fewer absences and our students come on time with homework done.

Very small issues can impede education outcomes. Worm infection, for example, is a vast problem worldwide. High levels of morbidity associated with intense worm infection can cause nutritional and cognitive impairment in children. Education can be affected. In our three schools in Addis, we de-worm all our children twice a year. This is a low cost/high return strategy that many of the leading development organisations promote.

Hunger impedes concentration levels. This effect was highly visible from the first day we opened our primary schools. Children came with very little or nothing to eat at lunch. Many parents were too ashamed to send their children with no food and so they kept them at home. Absences were shockingly high, results were unacceptably low. Together with our Parent Committee we established the Lunch Programme, which provides a hot, nutritious meal to ALL our students EVERY day. The results were immediate and immensely satisfying. Absences dropped, results improved and we have received thanks and recognition from parents, community leaders and the local government.

Yetenite – in grade 10 has received the highest educational achievement award of the sub-city. This not only demonstrates the quality of education our students receive but gives hope that indeed every extra year of schooling for the girls in our schools will provide them with an extra 10% of income over their lifetime.