Taking education into their own hands
The community of Adishumhafti took their children’s education into their own hands.
At a meeting two years ago, the school’s PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) – armed with mobilization training from imagine1day – preached the value of education. They ended by asking parents to commit to educating their young through a simple vote.
Slowly, hands rose in agreement.
“Their first commitment was to send their children. Collectively, we agreed that no child in this community will not go to school,” says PTA Chairman Andu Weldemihret, smiling as he recalls that first meeting. It has been hard work, but the community is making good on its pledge: 80 out-of-school children have been enrolled to date.
Enrolling children was just the first step: Andu and fellow PTA members were determined to drive community ownership of the school.
Regular community meetings held over coffee saw parents and leaders discuss ways to improve the standard of education. Cash and goods, like goats and pottery items, were donated and sold to provide much-needed resources.
In 2016, imagine1day selected Adishumhafti as a community to build a new school and the locals rallied even further – fundraising US$9,000 towards construction costs and working together to shovel a seven-kilometre road, by hand, to allow machinery and building supplies to be delivered.
Andu says the new school has made an incredible difference: “Before the classrooms were open-air – there was sunshine, there was dust, there were bugs, and the students picked up diseases. Today, the students have none of these problems,” he says.
And, perhaps most importantly, the community is committed to the long-term future of the school. “The owner of this school is now the community.”
Adishumhafti School was funded with support from Educate a Child, Elm Foundation and the generous donors of imagine1day.