The last of our four-part series of guest blogs from Volusion CEO, Kevin Sproles (with reporting and photography by Kari Costanza and Jon Warren from World Vision) is on one of the most important issues facing Ethiopia today- education.
If you’re just tuning in, you may want to start with the first post. From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank you for reading Kevin’s accounts of his trip and for supporting The Volusion Foundation!
Imagine only having access to an education equivalent to the 4th grade. For many in this region, if they have access to a school at all, this is the highest education they can hope to complete. Before World Vision began putting donors’ dollars towards the construction of new schools almost all education in Ethiopia ended after what would be equivalent to our 4th grade. Since then, World Vision has been making a major difference in the lives of Ethiopian children by opening up a world of education to them that they could have never imagined.
This is the story of how a generous donation by the Simpson Family has altered a school, and the lives of its students and the entire community.
Two months ago, students moved into a new school, complete with two new classrooms and a new office. The 124 new desks provide students with places to sit, and something they had never had before- places to write. Previously students sat on crowded benches with no writing surfaces.
We took a four wheel drive vehicle off-road, traversing bone-dry riverbeds to get to Bekektu-Mume Elementary School. It is the proverbial oasis in the desert. Upon reaching our destination, Principal Abdele Wodeso was there to greet us. He explained to us how the school used to educate students until the fourth grade but how at fourth grade, education ended for every student due to a lack of facilities. But with the new classrooms, the school has been able to add grades 5 and 6.
After the new classrooms were built, attendance increased by 10% last year. “Students are attracted by the new construction,” says Principal Abdele. “They are joining fresh.”
There are other benefits as well. “The quality of education has improved,” says the Principal. “Because the classrooms were crowded, teachers could not move about. The bench seating came right up to the front of the classroom.” That meant the teachers had to stand in one place and teach, surrounded by children struggling to write on benches and laps. Now they can move through the classroom, answering questions and interacting with the students in a dynamic way.
Not only have World Vision’s donors been able to prove an additional two years of schooling, they have created a place of more advanced, dynamic, and exciting teaching. Children are eager to enroll in school and the community has a sense of pride both in their infrastructure and their future.
We would like to offer a special thank you to Kari Costanza and Jon Warren from World Vision for their collaboration with us on this project!