11 Jul 2009

Update on the Abugida school

In the next few days the Abugida school will undergo further growth. This will consist of the following:

Two new classrooms (for the first two Primary classes) which will be built within the school enclosure but will be separate from the main building, the reason being that the Akaki "kebele" has informed us that Ethiopian law states that Primary classrooms must be built separately from Nursery classrooms.

An outdoor dining room. The Akaki "Kebele" informs us that Ethiopian law states that their children are not permitted to eat where they study nor study where they eat.

Complete exterior roofing and at the same time a renewal of the interior false ceiling which also needs repaired The rain has damaged the roof to such an extent that it will have to be totally rebuilt.

Abugida is a school which is under the control of the "kebele" governing the area of Akaki.

The fact that Abugida has become a "model" school (due to its successful management, the active participation of the village mothers and fathers, the quality of the dining room, the adult courses etc..) puts us in a position where the standards and expectations are high. For that reason we must follow the regulations scrupulously since we rely totally on the "kebele" for the continuity of this school.

The overheads have risen tremendously (even though we have haggled).
We CAN do this and we WILL do it come what may. All of us together and with your support and understanding we will succeed.

The new Primary building will be constructed in such a way that later it will be able to take the weight of another floor on top of it, ie the 3rd and 4th year Primary classrooms.

The first class of two year olds will start this academic year.
The construction company has promised to have finished the classroom for these children before the beginning of the new term.
The Edir of Akaki will receive a signed contract and he will personally supervise the construction progress.

I am very happy to work so closely with the Edires. They are like a state organization with tremendous social prestige within their communities. They have the power to make projects really work because they consist of neighbors associations which make the whole system more democratic.
In actual fact, we are beginning to have more personal contact with the parents of the children in our schools. We organize meetings during which they can express openly their fears, their worries, their joy or even their opinions as to whether they believe that their Edir is doing a good job or not.

We know, especially from previous experience (we only have to recall the behavior of the former Edir in our school in Yeka) that no institution is perfect and that greed is worldwide. We need to collaborate with these "officials" for the benefit of the people we wish to help. Unfortunately, the local Ethiopian NGOS are riddled with corruption and many members only seek their own enrichment.

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