10 Oct 2009

Achievements and problems in Ethiopia.

Following our policy of complete transparency, I am going to try to analyse both the achievements and problems that we have encountered in Ethiopia.

I am going to begin with a general description of what I have seen, lived, experienced and witnessed during my regular visits to this country. The Ethiopians are extremely religious people and therefore subject to the dogmas and tabus that their religion imposes, this affects enormously every aspect of their society.
In general, they are very conservative.
It is an extremely male-orientated society.
It is a society in which children have little value (girls even less) and are considered to be of no use to the present or future wealth of their economy.
In this society they have  no concept of equality or social justice. A society in which those who have more than others consider themselves to be better than those who have little or nothing.
Being charitable is an unknown concept in their society.
It is a society which is friendly, very proud, hospitable and welcoming to foreigners.
They are courteous and respectful.
They are resigned to the life they lead in the belief (probably due to their religion) that a better world awaits them.
The bureaucracy in their country is overwhelming.
The country is fraught with corruption.
Lying and deceit has become more common in recent years.

 Having witnessed and experienced all of these problems first hand, I would now like to move on to all that we have achieved in our schools.
Almost 400 children now attend our schools where they are educated and eat three times a day.
Our schools are open all year.
Before opening our schools the majority of the children, now being educated, spent the day begging in the streets.
In our schools all of the staff is female quite simply because there are more female teachers than male teachers in this country.
These teachers are fun-loving, good-natured, patient and they love their work.
The non-teaching staff carry out their duties efficiently.
We employ 20 people from Abugida and and 18 in Birhan.
We rely on local tailors for the uniforms, suppliers for school materials and any other types of materials required for our centres.
Local suppliers provide food, vegetables and milk.
Many children now live with their family and no longer have to stay in state orphanages or end up living on the streets.
We have managed to put an end to malnutrition in our schools.
Our children have access to health services.
Last year we managed to teach 60 women to read and write in Abugida thanks to our literacy course.
This year another 60 women have registered for the same course in Abugida and in Birhan.


The Abugida school is a" bubble" filled with happiness where children, teachers and parents form part of a united community.
The teachers are happy, lively and enjoy doing all sorts of activities with the children both academic and fun.
The rest of the staff efficiently do the required work.

There is a bad relationship between el Edir and el Kebele. At the moment our building project is on hold prior to permission to continue from el Kebele.

                                     THE BIRHAN SCHOOL

The teachers are totally dedicated to the school and continue to work under extremely difficult circumstances.
The rest of the staff also work well.


The school is under a lot of pressure and lacks material and local support.
The poor relationship between el Edir and El Kebele.
The lack of legal documentation proving that el Edir owns the land and the school.
The lack of understanding between el Edir and Mediterranea.

As you are well aware , we dimissed the previous administrator for theft and we managed to dimiss the former el Edir's representative also for theft. The problem that we have with the present el Edir has nothing to do with theft but is a cultural problem and quite simply a different way of thinking.
He does not agree that the Headteacher (a woman) and the teachers should be allowed to make all the decisions concerning the school even though they are the proffesionals in school management and he has absolutely no idea about academic matters.
He disagreed with the decision to pension off the older teachers to replace them with younger ones.
To make matters worse one of the retired teachers is now giving adult classes.

He cannot understand that we are working for the future through the children and that they are the protagonists of our projects.
In the last 3 years we have dismissed two representatives for theft and lying.

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