This month (August 2012), consultant Phil Stockbridge will be on one of his most unusual missions yet. He’s visiting a charity school in Ethiopia to help support a project there.
Ethiopia is an amazing country, incredibly rich culturally, and one of the World’s poorer countries. Between 80 and 90 different languages are spoken across 11 different federal regions
Rainbows4Children is an equally amazing charity, established in the UK and Switzerland. An independent foundation, it was set up in memory of Nicolas Robinson (the son of the founder) and raises money to help some of the poorest children in Ethiopia through direct funding of projects encompassing education, primarily for children of parents with disabilities.
In September 2005, it opened a Kindergarten for children, aged 4-6 years. Subsequently a primary school has been built. Today a total of 870 children attend the Nicolas Schools and the Secondary school will open its doors to the first 90 children in September. When complete, the school will be providing education for 1300 children.
The school has wider social implications: equipment for the school is funded by donors and is supplied mainly by local businesses in Mekele and in Addis Ababa; the chairs and desks for the school are produced in workshops which employ many of the children’s parents who have disabilities, providing valuable work for them.
Rainbows4children aims to complete the construction of the secondary school by September 2014. It is currently being built using traditional techniques and local materials, the aim being to give the children and their parents pride in their heritage. There is an ongoing need for funding of the schools’ running costs as well as for completion of the construction programme. You can imagine with something as emotive as a children’s school, passions run high for all the right reasons.
It’s against this backdrop that Phil is going across as a volunteer to help the team prepare to present their plans to some of the key stakeholders – municipal authorities, federal education teams etc – whilst the children are in recess. WiFi is sporadic in the area, but we’re hoping he’ll find a way to get pictures back to us.