Ten years ago, Mekenisa School was born. Just 20 students attended, taught by one teacher under the shade of a tree.

Abdulnasir was one of those children, a young eight-year-old boy attempting to get an education. He remembers the school well, but not fondly, recalling the discomfort of spending long lessons on the ground, constantly keeping dust out of his eyes or trying to cool down from the baking sun.

Abdulnasir’s education did not last. He dropped out after two years, just 10 years old, and never looked back.

The previous classrooms at Mekenisa School.

One of the old classrooms at Mekenisa School.

A lot has changed since that day. The school roll grew and grew, and the community came together to build classrooms, made of sticks and mud.

It was better than the shade of a tree, but not by much, says Mohammedhussein Mohammed, a Parent-Teacher Association member.

“When imagine1day came and saw our classrooms [in 2013], it was so dark that they said this is like a jail cell, not a classroom.”

Together with the community and our supporters, we built a new school for students of Mekenisa in 2015.

“In the past, our children sat on stone and wrote on their laps. Now, they are sitting and writing on a proper desk. In the past, they could only learn up to grade 4, but now they can pursue their education up to grade 8. This is a big improvement,” says Mohammedhussein.

Abdulnasir outside Mekenisa School

Abdulnasir outside Mekenisa School

Today, the school is thriving, with 405 students enrolled, and a drop-out rate of just 1%, down from 41%.

One student, in particular, loves the new classrooms: Abdulnasir.

He is 18 now, but when the new school was built he saw the chance to get the education he missed as a child.

“I enrolled back in school last year in grade 3. I am in 4th grade this year,” he says shyly, but with a hint of pride in his eyes.

Read the final report from Mekenisa School. This school was funded with the support of the participants of Imagine Ethiopia 2015 – our annual trip to Ethiopia, Educate a Child and Disney’s Club Penguin.