Gish Abay Kindergarten Initative
Old... Bahir Dar
Bahir Dar is a major city in the northwest of Ethiopia, with a population of about 300 000. It is situated on the southern shore of Lake Tana, the largest lake in the country. The area was described by the Portuguese of the 15th/16th centuries as the original Garden of Eden. It is a university town with a senior educational enrolment surpassing 45 000.
However, the primary and secondary education systems suffer from a great deal of disparity and have difficulty providing a uniform, high level of education to the city’s youth. Amongst the schools, there are haves and have-nots, with the public schools often lacking in essential resources. Some schools in poor districts are notably lacking in all facilities – from teaching personnel through to classrooms and vital teaching equipment.
The Gish Abay School is in an extremely low-income area of Bahir Dar, and it is virtually without any facilities. According to the school directors, the school has only three classrooms and none have materials such as toys, teaching resources (books, blackboards), enough space for the children to eat, suitable sanitation facilities, first-aid equipment, administration offices and supplies (computers, printer, chairs) or kitchen space. Furthermore, the classes have an insufficient number of desks for either the students or the teachers.
The kindergarten takes in 100-120 children each year, all from low-income families, starting at age 4. The parents are required to pay 20 Ethiopian Birr (less than one Canadian Dollar) each month for bread and tea, which the children are served once per day. Between the three classes there are two teachers and one teacher-cum-school director, as well as a guard, a babysitter and a cleaner.
ICO and our partners in Ethiopia are developing strategies and raising funds to furnish this school with all its many needs, including basic school supplies, equipment, and staff. We hope to create and implement income-generating projects to be launched in the vicinity of the school such as a fruit and vegetable garden, or a market place and cafe – something in which the children themselves and their parents might become usefully engaged, and use as a means to improve the livelihood of the school, the community and its people.
As with Gish Abay HIV Education Initiative, the project is to be administered by Rotaract, under the project leader/contact, Zewditu Ambaw.
Below are some pictures demonstrating the current condition of the school.