New classrooms for girls

Published: May 24, 2022 Reading time: 2 minutes
New classrooms for girls
© Mihiret Wasihun

There is little that compares to seeing an uneducated family accepting the significance of education for young girls and sending their daughters to school. Usually, in Ethiopia, boys are privileged with education, whilst girls stay home and support their mothers with household tasks, helping with siblings, or working in the field. However, in Yergachefe’s Seden Kebele, this practice has slowly started to change as People in Need works to overcome barriers to girls’ education.  

In addition to social norms, one of the other major barriers to female education is financial. School supplies, uniforms, and lunches are very expensive for many families, especially if they have a lot of children. That is why usually only boys are sent to school. To overcome this, People in Need, with the financial support of UK AID, supports alternative basic education (ABE) for girls.

In one of the CHANGE project intervention areas in Yergachefe Seden kebele, residents support the construction of a primary school. Most of the parents know that education is important, and despite their financial difficulties, the parents began a joint fund for school construction. And people who cannot contribute financially contribute with their hands.

“We built this school without any help. We wanted to give our girls what they deserve. We were able to collect enough money to buy materials and build big classrooms. The whole community helped, even people without children,” explains Mr. Segen, the director of the primary school. The new classrooms are large and can hold around fifty-five students; they have big windows, allowing lots of light to help with learning. The goal was to create a comfortable learning environment for girls and inspire them to study further in the future.

Member of Community Action Groups also declared, “Our children need education for a better future and better life. We didn’t have this chance while growing up. Most of the time, we were forced to work or help in the households. None of our parents saw education essential for our lives.”

 CHANGE project - The Girls Education Challenge  

The Change project seeks to establish alternative basic education and integrated functional adult education (IFAL). Three-year ABE courses for girls aged nine to fourteen are designed to enable the transition to formal education, whilst two-year IFAL courses for girls aged fifteen to eighteen strive to give girls the educational prerequisites to complete TVET courses successfully.  

The project is implemented by People in Need with partners Concern World Wide (CWW), Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH), Helvetas, Italian Association for Aid to Children (CIAI), Friendship Support Association (FSA) and Gayo Pastoral Development Initiative (GPDI). It is funded by UK AID. It is expected to reach 23 000 out-of-school girls nationally and 8,500 girls in SNNPR aged between nine to eighteen years. 

Author: Mihiret Wasihun, Katerina Gabrielova

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