For decades, the community of Gereb Abdela had felt little ownership in their local school. The prevailing view saw it as a government institution, not a village asset. Many sent their children, but otherwise paid little attention.

What a turnaround it has been. Today community members turn out for volunteer work, helping plough fields and plant wheat – to be sold for income for the school. Religious figures stand up in church and preach the value of education. Local leaders go door-to-door, encouraging parents to send their kids to school.

School Principal Haile Abadi Adhane and Parent-Teacher Association Chair Kahsay Meresa

School Principal Haile Abadi Adhane and Parent-Teacher Association Chair Kahsay Meresa

“imagine1day training has helped to increase community ownership of the school and their engagement to improve the school,” says Haile Abadi Adhane, the School Principal.

Parent-Teacher Association Chair Kahsay Meresa nods in agreement: “Community participation was minimal in the past; today it has significantly improved.

“For the first time in the history of this school, community members came out with their 84 pairs of oxen and ploughed the school farmland, ready for wheat planting.”

With that support, the school expects to make almost $2000 in profit for school supplies and repairs. “That would be over double the amount we used to get from the lease,” he says.

imagine1day provided training for key local influences, covering topics leadership techniques, the value of education and community mobilization.

Haile says the message about the value of education is being heard loud and clear: “The leaders, after participating in the imagine1day-sponsored training program, are mobilizing the community, not only by preaching at churches but also oftentimes going around house-to-house, saying ‘send your children, send your girls to school’.”

The mobilization has paid off – an extra 140 out-of-school children have been enrolled, and, for the first time ever, there is an equal number of girls and boys attending school.

Gereb Abdela School was funded by our partner Run for Water, honoring the support of Ryan and Trish Huston.

Gereb Abdela’s Ladybug Classroom for Early Childhood Education was built with love in memory of Melanie and Margot Mueller by their friends and family – may their joyful spirit inspire students to grow, play and create.