Dembecha Elementary School

In the summer of 2009, Club Penguin and the New Horizon Foundation generously committed to fund the Partners’ portion of the Dembecha Elementary School project. This will virtually rebuild the existing school, add a library, latrines, bio gas digester, bakery and tea room to the benefit of 1975 students, and provide income generating activities for orphan and vulnerable students.

The total estimated cost of the school project is CDN $135,232, with Club Penguin funding $100,956 and the community donating $34,276 of the cost with labour and materials.

A virtual rebuilding of an existing, well run school. The Project will renovate 16 Classrooms, construct a Library, Latrines, and Bio Gas Digester. A second feature of the Project will consist of Rebuilding a Bakery and Tea Room and commencement of Garbage Collection and vegetable, market garden, all for use in income generating initiative for orphan students.


Project Location:
Dembecha Elementary School, Dembecha, West Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Purpose of the Project:
To increase student enrolment, attendance and quality of education by improving physical facilities and to provide income generating opportunities for orphan and vulnerable students

Program Beneficiaries:
1975 students including 50 orphan/students who will continue their education while supporting themselves with the income from the Bakery, Tea Room, Vegetable Gardening and Garbage Collection initiatives

Project Period:
Construction, April to December 2009

Income Generation, May 2009 to April 2012

Project Development Partner:
Dembecha Development Association

Project Cost:

Total Estimated Cost (Including 10% Contingency) CDN $135,232
Club Penguin / Partners’in the Horn of Africa’s Share CDN $100,956
Community Share CDN $34,276

The Problem

Dembecha Elementary School is one of the oldest schools in Ethiopia and shows its age. 1975 children attend the school, which, for the most part, consists of chika (mud over eucalyptus) buildings. A few years ago the community raised funds from parents and built 4 Classroom Blocks. Each block has 4 classrooms. The floors are dirt, there are only a very few desks, no windows or doors and the walls are starting to erode from rain.

A unique feature of the school is its program for Special Needs Students and its support (through staff donations) of approximately 50 student/orphans and vulnerable children..
There is no proper, functioning latrine for the students. Boys use the open fields while girls who require more privacy simply drop out.

The school has no library.

Many of the orphans now attending the school had dropped out of school to work and support their siblings. Now they are attending school with teachers contributing funds so that the orphans can make bread on a wood burning stove and support themselves by selling the bread to the local community.

The Solution
Our “partner” in this project will be the Dembecha Development Association, a local community group of concerned citizens and former graduates from the school living in the area.

The four Classroom Blocks (16 classrooms in total) will be renovated and supplied with desks. Cement floors will be laid, mortar applied over the existing chika and doors and windows will be installed. Cement Plastering will be applied to external wall and proper drainage installed for all blocks. Student desks and teachers tables and chairs will be provided in each classroom.

A new cement block library will be built and furnished with desks, chairs and books.

A new latrine, capable of handling 10 students at a time will be built and will direct waste to a new 22 cubic metre cement Bio Gas digester which, in turn, will generate methane gas for use in the Bakery and Tea Room. A water line to the latrine will run from the current water point used by the school and water will be stored in a new tank built on the premises.

The Income Generating aspects of the Project will involve assisting orphan students to raise money by the sale of bread and tea on the school premises and by collecting garbage from local residents for a fee. In addition they will develop their own vegetable garden on the school grounds to provide food for themselves and their siblings or for sale to the local community.

The existing bakery will be dismantled and moved nearer to the Bio Gas Digester so that fuel from the latter can be used to fire bread-making ovens in the Bakery. An existing, but dilapidated Tea Room on the School grounds will be renovated and also hooked up to the Bio Gas Digester so that the orphans can also sell tea to students and teachers during school breaks.

A 1/4 hectare plot on the school grounds will be handed over to the orphans for use as a vegetable garden. This facet of the Project will be assisted by the Dembecha Micro Finance Office and the local Agriculture Office. Vegetables grown in the garden will either be sold by the orphans or used to feed themselves and their siblings.

Garbage Collection will be undertaken, for a fee, by the orphans who will be provided with a cart for collection of refuse, working overalls, gloves, boots etc. etc.

The construction component of the Project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2009. The Income Generation component will be supervised and monitored until April 2012.