Group homes The girls and young women supported by the Debre Markos Group Home, Jimma Scholarship House, Adet Group Home, and Laura’s Place returned to their secondary and post-secondary studies after a summer break of, well, studying. For these ambitious young women, preparation for the all-important national matriculation exams starts even before the school year begins. Most come from homes where the opportunity to study and do “homework” (of the academic kind) is an unknown luxury. Thank you to EBA employees across western and northern Canada, Kalamalka Rotary, Club Penguin, Victory Square Law Office and our many individual supporters of girls’ education.
Water Gonka Spring, some 150 kilometres west of Addis Ababa, is our biggest water project to date. Before completion of this project, families living on the mountainside and on the plains below were using contaminated surface water sources. In partnership with local organization MICDA and the community, and with the generous support of Tyler Matzen and the Salmon Arm Rotary Club, Partners protected two natural springs, constructed a holding reservoir, and created 4 water distribution areas with 16 sinks for laundry and 2 cattle troughs. These new facilities now bring clean, safe water to more than 3,000 people (and, importantly, their livestock) on a daily basis.
Schools We reported on Yetnora High School, under construction, in our last newsletter. It has now opened its doors to over 400 grade 9 students, 60% of whom are girls. The grade 9-10 school is one of Partners’ larger school projects, providing 12 classrooms, science laboratories, a library, IT and admin rooms, and a latrine block. The community raised 35% of the project’s cost, a portion of which matched Kalamalka Rotary Club’s contribution to build and furnish a block of 4 classrooms.
We also recently inaugurated Zeleka Desta Elementary serving over 1,800 students in one of poorest areas of the country. Here the community and local partners contributed nearly 45% of the project’s cost to create a safe learning environment for their children. At the opening ceremonies, community elders, teachers, and PTA members took turns to publically pledge support for additional improvements, including a laboratory block, improved fencing around the school grounds, and an access bridge. One said, “What we learn from Partners is to believe in change.”
Community-based support for orphans and vulnerable children During my summer trip to Ethiopia, I had the humbling experience of visiting the foster homes of several children who are receiving support – financial, material, tutoring, and psychosocial – to continue their education despite very challenging circumstances. These kids want nothing more than to attend and succeed at school like their peers. On Saturdays the kids come together for a day of recreational and educational activities. With local partners Afro-Ethiopia and Migbare Senay, Partners currently supports 200 children being fostered in urban and rural communities in Amhara. Thank you to the Compassionate Eye Foundation for partnering with us to continue this crucial support program.
Home for abandoned babies The Bethel Group Home, located south of Addis Ababa along an industrial and transport corridor, is providing critical and loving care to up to 24 babies who have been abandoned, often in their first hours or days of their lives. Babies and children are referred to the home through the police, child welfare services, and health facilities. A small and committed group of nannies, cooks, and caregivers provide 24-hour care, including nutritious food, medical care, clothing, and facilitated play and learning. Thank you to the Porter family for partnering with us to provide core support for this unique home. And thanks to the fundraising efforts of a small group of Partners supporters in Washington State, we recently purchased a washing machine for the home – a real luxury that will mean less time doing laundry and more time to spend with the kids.