Editor’s note: a group of ONEMoms are in Ethiopia, and we will be running updates from them daily. Here’s the first installment. Read more here.
My respect for educators took another leap when we visited two schools in the village of Mojo. This town outside Addis Ababa, is modest, to say the least. The dirt roads are filled with townspeople, livestock, and donkeys transporting bundles of sticks. The businesses we can see as we drive by are small metal shacks filled with all manner of day-to-day necessities. A glimpse down a side lane hinted at the labyrinth of residences hidden from street view.
We began with a visit to the local high school, and moved on to a primary school. Both schools educated their students with the sparsest of materials. The rooms are bare with thin wooden desks, the books are old and mended with tape, the classrooms were crowded, and the buildings are crumbling. It’s hard to see past the initial “lack,” but we were about to learn how school grants from the British government have made possible significant improvements for both students and teachers.
The administrators and teachers were proud to tell us about the progress they’ve made. The upgrades are modest when you compare them to American schools, but they make a big difference to students and the teachers. Everything from textbooks to lab equipment to computers to improved bathrooms were made possible by British grants. Teachers were able to receive training to deepen their skills, and the results showed in the students’ exam scores and graduation rates.
We’re hearing from mothers that their biggest dream for their children is for them to get an education. Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the educators we met, in partnership with the Ethiopian and British governments, kids in Mojo are getting that chance.
Written by Asha Dornfest
All images by Karen Walrond