27 Jun 2009

We are off!

The time to leave has come. This time two of us will start out and six of us will return.
In reference to the Abugida school, the construction of a dinning hall and more classrooms will shortly begin for the second year primary students. We hope the rainy season does not slow the construction down too much.

The estimate for the classrooms is near to the 18000€ mark. Building costs in Ethiopia are high and all the building materials are imported.
Building using Ethiopian Low Cost standards have proven to be of such low quality that the structures do not last long and can actually be dangerous. We want our buildings to be of good quality, no risk and last many many years.

When the next term starts Abugida will have 50 new children, bringing up its total to 215 children between the age of two and eight.
Ethiopian law obliges us to have a nurse in the center so we will have to find one. We have also had to employ another kitchen helper.
The lessons given to adult women (and some men) to learn to read and write have been a great success. We will continue with this project and new students will join the course in September.
We have noticed that there are children between the ages of 10 and 13 who do not know how to read and write. We will discuss this subject with the local Edit to see if we can provide this band of the population with classes. The classes could be in the afternoons and that way they can work in the mornings. (if they do not work they can not survive, many support their existing family. The problem is enormous but if we can help them have a better future we are increasing their chances of survival).
Re the Yeka Birhan school, the Edir comity has been changed, for the better. The Edir is the neighborhood organization that owns the land the school is on and collaborates with us in the day to day running of the school, just like the one in Abugida. Last year we built a low cost kitchen and dining room here. We also built toilets and a shower.
We built Low Cost as the land was still not in the name of the Edir and we did not want a new building to be built on private property. The Edir has assured us that they will soon have the documents proving that they own the land. Once they do that we will demolish the low cost buildings and build long term buildings for the children.
Next term in this school we will have 3 preschool classes and one new class room for 8 to 14 year olds that have never been to school. In total we will have 200 children.
That takes us over the 400 mark! In both schools we will give classes to adults iin the afternoons.

Aniother thing we would like to do is obtain birth certificates for all the children this will let them obtain an ID card. We want our children to be registered in their society. A child with an ID is a safer child and has the rights of a citizen of the country. We will fund those families that can not pay the small amount of money that it costs to give legal status to their children. Most of our 400 children do not officially exist.
Our Womens Home in Addis is going well and soon the first promotion of child minders will graduate from it. We plan to expand the course we have in the center.

Still, this is what we are going to work on in this trip.
More news on our return.

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