Five years ago a visibly-upset father Ahmedteyib Mohammed stormed into the teacher’s office at Yadot Primary School, furious that after four years at school, his son was still illiterate.

“The quality of education in the school used to be so bad. My child, who was back then a fourth grade student, was unable to read words. The situation was that desperate.”

Today, it’s different era. The classrooms at Yadot are filled with bubbly children poring over books. Illiteracy is a thing of the past, with an average 150 words-per-minute reading rate for Grade 1 students.

“There is huge transformation,” says Ahmedteyib. “My other child who is in second grade now reads much better.”

imagine1day started working with Yadot Primary School in 2013. The school was then one of the worst performing in the Dello Mena district, a pastoralist area in southern Ethiopia. Just 61% of children were enrolled, and 8% dropped out every year. Despite running morning and afternoon classes, each teacher looked after a classroom of 133 children.

Students fill the old classrooms.

Up to 133 students used to fill the old classrooms at Yadot Primary School.

Alarmed at what we saw, we decided to build a new school for the 2592 children of Yadot. Two years’ later that investment continues to make an incredible difference.

96% of children are now enrolled, including an extra 767 formerly out-of-school children. The dropout rate is just 1% and, despite the increasing school roll, classroom sizes are down to 67 students per class.

Nasrudin Gemechu, a seventh grader at Yadot School, is one of those children. “My ambition is to become a medical doctor,” says Nasrudin. He has a big vision of becoming an eye specialist who is able to operate and give sight to the blind

Nasrudin wants other kids to have big visions too, so he volunteers in the Child-to-Child Networking program, teaching pre-school children.

“I have got 15 students (seven boys and eight girls). I teach them five days a week, each day for at least two hours,” says Nasrudin, proudly. “I use the blackboard given to us by imagine1day. I am so happy that I am able to support children in my community.”

Meanwhile Ahmedteyib, who serves on the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, has seen the impact of quality education on his youngest child, and is determined to give other children the same.

“We are now actively engaged in encouraging and following up with parents to send their children to school; restoring children who dropped out of school. We’re engaging communities to take ownership of the school and contribute their best towards continual improvement of the school.”

It is a bright future ahead for the Yadot community and children.

This school was funded with the incredible support of Deanne Schweitzer, Disney’s Club Penguin, and Educate a Child.