Teaching Assignment: I will be here for the first 8 weeks.
Lemlem Primary school is a poor private school, funded mainly by the monthly student contributions (50 Birr on average). The average class size is 50 students, but volunteers here can teach alongside one of the teaching staff if they have problems controlling the class or explaining an activity. The school buildings themselves look quite nice and are clean and airy, but facilities here are basic – lots of overcrowded classrooms with simple desks, benches and a blackboard. But what they don’t have in equipment, they make up for in atmosphere!
More about Lemlem School from the website above:
- Lemlem School was established to provide basic education to minors who's parents suffer the effects of the recent War and or the massive AIDS epidemic. All students that attend either have been deprived of one or both parents, have injured or sick parents, or parents with little or no sustainable income. Lemlem School exists to make educating these students a reality.
- Opportunities for girls are very limited in Africa, especially in education. Most girls drop out after the 7th grade. Without proper education, many become sexually active, and a high percentage contract AIDS/HIV. If they remain in school and at least graduate from the 12th grade, their prospects for a happier future increase. studies show that they are more likely to improve the lives of their own children than comparably educated boys.
Care Home/Orphanage Assignment: I will be here for the last 2 weeks
Kidane Mihret is a care home and school that is attached to Kidane Mihret church, and is run by nuns. The school is open to the poorest children from the surrounding area, and the care home (they don't like the word orphanage!) is home to about 165 orphans. Many of the children are adopted at an early age, since the church has good links with both the Ethiopian and Foreign Catholic church. Despite this, many of the children are not able to be housed - sometimes due to the high prevalence of HIV in Ethiopia; around 30% of the older children here are HIV+.
The home also cares for some disabled children, and has a small kindergarten that the younger children attend during the day.
The final 2 weeks of my stay in Ethiopia will include a 14 day visit from Denis. It's so exciting that he'll be flying out to join me. I am hopeful that he will have an opportunity to visit the places that I volunteered and the host family that I will be living with. After meeting these individuals we plan to travel to the north part of Ethiopia and visit their historical sites.
We will return home on June 8th.