9 May 2012
Back in Ethiopia
We are in Ethiopia. We are sorry that we couldn't send you our news sooner but we weren’t able to for security reasons. As you can imagine, things can get rather complicated when you don’t tolerate corruption.
We take the threats very seriously, after suffering very unpleasant experiences in the past.
We have been waiting for the letter of recommendation which arrived a short time ago and the local authorities have provided us with a policeman for protection.
A new experience, after we’ve been coming here for so many years.
But it’s good that we have this support and we are extremely grateful for it.
During this visit we plan to do the following:
A- ABUGIDA SCHOOL
We will make the medical selection of the new babies who will be starting at the Abugida nursery. The medical selection takes place according to the child’s clinical history and a physical examination, where we weigh all the children. Up until our arrival 150 children had been waiting for a place.
They are all around one year old and they all have a certificate declaring poverty. We have to select the boys and girls who present the worst cases, taking into consideration their state of health and their social/family situation.
Children with a disability or HIV are admitted directly.
Children whose mothers are single with illness or disabilities get preference. Similarly, those with single fathers who are ill or disabled get preference. Orphans being cared for by grandparents or other family members are also given preference.
Children with fewer financial resources, in other words from families with low and variable incomes also get priority, although this is unfortunately the case with all of them.
Attending Abugida means that children are ensured a happy early childhood and good food and stimulation up to the age of six. Children who suffer from hunger don’t get all the possible benefits from their education, even when they are lucky enough receive a proper education.
As on all our visits we will meet up with the sponsored families and the mothers and fathers.
Together with the school staff we will make pre-arrangements for the future psychomotricity and games room which will be inaugurated when the school year is over and which will be greatly valued all year round, especially during the rainy season from June to October. As you know Abugida is open throughout the year.
Thanks to your donations we have taken some good equipment for the room and the children will be happy.
Our volunteer will be responsible for laying a new soft floor and Sami the artist will decorate the walls with paintings, either on his own or with the help of others.
We are also going to convert the classroom of the the two year olds to make it even more fun and recreational, before they turn into little buddhas. They are too small to go to the other playroom so they will have their own play area. We brought out a fantastic ball pit, rocking horses and other toys that we’re sure they’ll enjoy. At this age psychomotor development is fundamental for good physical and mental development.
B/ OTHER SCHOOL DINING ROOMS IN AKAKI
1/Visit to Fitawrari School where we feed more than 400 children. Here we have a school dining room which has been running since 2010. We employ 4 cooks. Remember that in this school we built bathrooms for the girls and the pre-school playground.
2/ Visit to Biru Tesfa School where we have a dining room which provides breakfast to nearly 200 children. We refurbished practically the whole school as it had serious structural problems, broken windows and inusable bathrooms. We now need to try to repair the playground or buy another one if we can’t fix it.
We employ 3 cooks in this school.
3/ Visit to Akaki Mengist School where we plan to give breakfast to 74 infants as of the start of the next school year. We also want to study the situation of the children and young people with disabilities who use two special classrooms there, to see if we can include them in the breakfasts and improve their conditions. We have already brought them some recreational-educational material and in July we plan to send out two professionals to improve the teaching skills of their teachers.
In addition to the 50 jobs we have created directly, we give a large volume of business to the local markets and shops.
C/ Inauguration of the day centre for the elderly in the part of town near the railway.
We will inaugurate this project which is novel for us and for Ethiopia.
We cannot deny that we would have liked to have had more professional advice on this matter but all our phonecalls were made in vain but we hope that it gets going and we will try again to speak to those people who work in this sector so they can share their experience and knowledge. An occupational therapist and a psychologist with multiple skills will travel out in July and we’re sure they will throw some light on the subject.
The elderly people are really happy with all the things they are being provided with and some of them are planning on starting a small business inside the centre.
D/ Visit to Sebeta School where since May 2011 we have been running the Messi room, a workshop to provide stimulation for the blind and partially sighted children who live there and the psychomotricity project in the gym. We employ 4 instructors and 5 laundry ladies.
We will meet the new director who has shown that she is keen to get involved with Mediterránea.
E/ Meeting with local authorities to exchange ideas and visit the plot of land they are allowing us to use to create a recreation and sports ground for the children and young people of Akaki.
They consider this project to be very important as there is nothing like it in the local area and at Mediterránea we think it’s very positive to create a place to which all the residents of Akaki can have access. This is also a novel project for everybody involved.
As you can see we have plenty of work to do!!
We will attempt to communicate with you from Ethiopia.
A very big thank you to all of you who make all of this possible. None of this would exist without your help. And the more we are, the more we will be able to do so please come and get involved with Mediterránea!