The spirit of goodwill in Abugida has reached the Birhan school.
To our great joy, we can inform you that the tremendous spirit of goodwill experienced in Abugida has now touched the Birhan school.
The older teachers retired at the beginning of this academic year and have given way to the new, highly motivated young generation of teachers who are excited, active and "raring to go", singing, dancing and playing with the children.
The generation gap has been closed, replacing old-school teaching through bullying and punishment ( not only the children but also the younger staff, a situation we witnessed during our visits, creating an oppressive atmosphere) and has been replaced by the same spirit of happiness felt in Abugida. The older staff now work in the evenings on our adult reading and writing initiatives.
Both parts are benefitting from this change and the older generation of staff are much more content being in charge of the adult education.
We had a wonderful reception, singing, dancing from children and staff. The teachers were beautifully turned out in traditional dress and looked a treat.
This year the children wear the same uniform as the pupils in Albugida.
After the ceremony we had a meeting with the headmistress.
This lady had replaced the former headteacher and at that moment we still did not know why.
We spoke on an individual basis with all of the teachers who informed us that it was a clear case of nepotism. The new headteacher is a member of the Edir's family. They told us that she is a lovely lady but unqualified for the job and lacking the experience recquired.
We decided to call all of the teachers to vote for who they considered to be the best qualified for the position but that it would be a secret ballot.
They were all keen to vote but became frightened of how the Edir would react when the result vote supported Genet, a membr of the teaching staff.
We told them not to worry and that we would deal with everything. We would have a meeting with the Edir.
We organised the meeting with the Edir and at first there was a lot of tension in the air but through clear, honest talking we managed to bring the Edir around to our way of thinking. At the end of the day , our aims are the same and both sides are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the boys and girls who attend the centre and of course the future of the Birhan school.
The Edir is struggling to obtain official accreditation for the school. Bureaucrocy is slow and complicated in this country.
Despite all of these difficulties the school is flourishing and looking beautifully decorated thanks to the teachers and pupils.
Most importantly, the children are very happy.
Personal files are being drawn up about every individual child including their family background and health.
Thanks to these files we are beginning to identify certain health problems which are being addressed.
The same as in Abugida,the teachers in Birhan will be attending a 3 month computer course.
The reading and writing course in Birhan is a great success.
We are financing one of these groups and the Kebele is using our instalations for two other reading and writing groups.
Barry has completed a construction project for when the school finally receives accreditation. The estimate for this buliding works out to 30,000 euros.
Unfortunately, our attempts to have a meeting with the parents of our schoolchildren was frustrated by the intervention of some mafia-type characters who are trying to upset all of our plans and the future of the families and children in our care.
We hope that the authorities will help us with this matter and that the culprits will be dealt with.
Photos:The Romeos and Juliets of the school, some of the staff,children, Genet, the new headteacher, some dancing, our welcome party.