Living in the sprawling slums of Ethiopia’s capital means scant access to basic facilities and few opportunities to escape grinding poverty. By transforming three schools in Addis Ababa this year, we empowered local children to unlock an education – and with it, the chance to build brighter futures. Zerihun*, 14, is an eighth-grade student. His parents cannot afford to buy school books, so he depends on the library at school.
“The school library doesn’t have enough books,” he told us when we first met him. “We are also not allowed to take books home. This is affecting me and my friends at exam time.”
Zerihun also explained that the school’s ICT room closed when all the computers stopped working. Following the success of our project to improve the quality of education available to Ethiopian children, in 2016 we launched a similar scheme covering three more schools. School libraries received 1,000 books, as well as desks, chairs and even bookcases. The number of children using the libraries has gone up by 57 per cent, whilst teachers are also using the latest resources to increase their subject knowledge. We set up ICT rooms in the schools, providing
computers and classroom furniture – and parent-teacher associations came together to purchase more computers.
“I wish to become either a doctor or pilot, to earn my own income and support my family and those who are in need of help. Thank you very much for what you have done.”
Our teacher training empowered school staff to use their new skills to prepare their lesson plans, draw on the internet as a resource, and to upskill other teachers. Students took ICT courses, so they could, for the first time, use technology to support their learning.
In addition, new equipment for two science laboratories gave students the chance to explore practical experiments and activities, expanding their learning experience from the theoretical to the practical.
“Things have changed,” Zerihun told us when the Islamic Relief Waqf scheme completed. “A lot of students are going to the library. Our teachers are referring to the new books, and they also advise us to refer those books. They are also providing basic computer training after school. We are also getting the chance to do practical experiments in our laboratory.”
Now, the schoolboy has big plans for the future.
In total, 2,000 children in Sor Amba, Africa Birhan, and Addis Tesfa gained access to a better education through the project.
*Name changed for protection purposes
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