Sponsorship Manager, Ethiopia
October 28, 2013
How do you stop a girl who runs for an hour and half every day to pursue her education? How do you tell her you are not someone who intends to hurt a child? How do you respond to her needs including the right to education and protection?
To know why we’re asking that question in the first place, read Part 1 of our new blog post. Then, stay tuned for the rest of the story, coming soon in Part 2.
My role as sponsorship manager gives me the chance to travel to rural parts of Ethiopia like Honchie Bite School where Save the Children has been implementing its integrated health and education programs. Honchie Bite is located 24 kms west of Ginchi town – 20 kms on an all-weather gravel road, then 4 kms on a muddy, dry-weather road. It took almost an hour to get there, but the trip was worth it. The school is located on a plateau and has a spectacular view in all directions. Most houses are thatched roofed, though a few are roofed with corrugated iron sheet. The indigenous trees, green shrubs and mountains surrounding the area are a source of enjoyment for visitors.
In the school compound, a number of local residents, mainly women, were working on a construction site. The building under construction will create additional space where students can continue their second-cycle primary education (grades 5-8). A number of men are excavating a trench and women are removing the soil. According to Guteta, the school principal, women have been highly involved in the new project because they know the additional classrooms will provide for the needs of girls.
The probability of girls transitioning from grade 4 to grade 5 has been one of the major challenges in the area. Girls who attend their first-cycle primary (grades 1-4) at Honchie Bite have been forced to travel for more than an hour every weekday to continue their grade 5 education in Boda town. Most boys freely walk to Boda. Girls face innumerable problems in doing so, mainly sexual harassment.
Kumeshie Cahlachisa, a female teacher I met in the school compound, is delighted about upgrading the school to a full-cycle primary facility. She was a teacher for the last three years in a very remote part of the district and recently transferred to Honchie Bite. Kumeshie lives in Boda town and walks to school and back every day. She says ‘’the challenges I encounter are nothing compared to what the schoolgirls face.’’
The new building will change that. Among girls who stopped their education at grade 4 in previous years, 24 have registered to come back and continue their education next year. Some girls aren’t waiting until next year though – girls like Feyise, who you’ll meet in Part 2.
Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.