7 Dec 2011

Annual Review of our Achievements in Ethiopia (ABUGIDA)

 Abugida, our "Independent Republic".

As you are aware, for the last five years we have been solely and fully responsible for the management and maintenance of the Abugida infant school, a project which has had many ups and downs along the way and involves the following: salaries for 33 staff at the present time, 3 daily meals for 235 children (4 meals in the case of the babies), maintenance, repair and extension work (just making a new septic tank cost us 5500 euros), learning materials (we have financed all kinds of learning resources for our children), uniforms and other expenses such as transport, electricity, water, telephone, etc. 

We are also continuing with the classes for adults and we have taken under our wing various mothers who are victims of domestic violence or have ended up on the streets with their children. They stay in our “refuge room” on a temporary basis and if there is work in Abugida they stay on to work or if this isn’t possible we give them a loan so that they can become independent. 

In theory Abugida school belongs to the Government but they don’t pay anything at all. They have left it in our hands, which is positive because this allows us to have direct control of its management and we can send our volunteers to give training to the staff and whose help is invaluable.

We wish to emphasize that we are “solely and fully” responsible because from time to time we have seen photos of Abugida children on other websites, FB or blogs which have undoubtedly been used without our permission in the majority of cases and this can also give rise to misunderstandings of supposed collaborations, which in reality don’t exist.

Abugida develops and grows. It’s a well established project, a "centre of excellence" and "our" children are adorable. They are growing up strong and healthy. The ones with HIV mix with the others, they don’t have health problems and they are not discriminated against.

Most of the children have a sad history behind their smiles so Abugida is an important place for them, where they can feel secure and happy for many hours of the day.
In the nursery we have a special treasure, little Dagem – who suffers severe cerebral palsy – and who thanks to Nuriya his exclusive carer and the education he recently received from Laura (a psychometrist and great professional), he is making steady progress and is a very happy child.

What can we say about the nursery school: it is unique place in the whole country. None of it would have been possible (from a material point of view, yes, but not from the point of view of attention and stimulation) without Alejandra, that wonderful teacher who tackled a big challenge at the time.  Alejandra has been travelling to Abugida during her holidays for the last two years. We know that her first year was difficult but we also know that when she returned the second year she was pleasantly surprised at how well the nursery school was running. This is all down to you, Alejandra, many thanks.  You have created something quite unique.

Thanks also to all the other volunteers who have been out to help, there have been lots of you this year and you have all made your mark.  

Currently Abugida costs us more than 5000 euros a month in fixed expenses, the instability of the Ethiopian currency and continued inflation mean that the budget can increase within short periods of time. Many thanks to all of our members and supporters who make all this possible.

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