Before leaving Kembata we used our last day in the region to make another visit to last years’ build in Kololo, as well as next year’s build locations in Mudula. It was a productive day. We had meetings with the school director and community members in Kololo, a meeting with the Mudula Worader head (kind of like the town’s mayor), site visits for 2013-2014 school and library builds, and a visit to the Kololo HPL Horse Powered Library program. Along the way there was the usual coffee and local fare ceremonies, the wealth of avocados, mangos, banana, bakolo and coffee powered us along through our 13 hour day.
Each portion of the trip merits its own blog. I’ll put together a pithy write up on each over the coming days. This entry will focus on another very positive visit to Kololo’s HPL.
The Kololo community is seated comfortably on the SW side of the southern Ambakuna hill. Kololo is 13 kilometers from Mudula and around 17 from Tunto. The region is as disconnected as any other from basic resources, governmental and most NGO support mechanisms. Never-the-less, the hills and dense green-scapes our full of people, especially young children. Kololo is the one institution located outside Tembaro’s city centers that provides KG education. Children enter school without the proper preparation, and due to a maelstrom of surrounding difficulties, failure often follows. Kololo is a beacon of hope for the region, a wonderfully realized dream that provides quality early childhood education to better enable the community to flourish.
However the schools reach is limited by the structures capacity. There are only enough slots for a few hundred children, not nearly enough for the surrounding thousands. More KG’s are desperately needed in the Kembata Tembaro zone as well as the rest of Ethiopias southern regions. Presently, we here at Ethiopia Reads can only physically build two schools a year. With adequate funding that number could jump to as high as 5 in a single year, but even that will only make a small dent into what is needed. For the time being, we are thinking outside of the box.
Ethiopia Reads’ HPL program brings teachers and materials to very rural and difficult to reach communities. Currently the program has two hubs. One in Ekodaga, and the other in Kololo. The facilitators travel via horse or donkey upwards of
12 miles to small villages with little to no access to educational materials. The facilitator reads Amharic children books to the participants and leads the kids through alphabet and basic number exercises. After just a few weeks, once illiterate children are beginning to sound out words, and soon after reading along with the HPL facilitator. The programing successfully introduces reading culture to education barren communities. More importantly, the HPL shares the power of literacy, which soon begets an overwhelming thirst for learning.
Last Monday, Ejigu, Kahlyn, Ashu, Tamesgin and I made the trek to Tupa, Northern Ambakuna to witness the HPL session of the day. Lagessa, the facilitator has been leading these classes now for almost three months. He visits three different communities twice a week spending up to 3 hours with the students. Each of the visited communities is located within very challenging terrain, yet that doesn't keep the plethora of students in each area from attending. Lagessa is averaging around 280 students per session. Yes, 280 students ranging from the age of 3 to teenagers. Amazing.
Here is a collection of photos taken from my time in Tupa.