Monday, April 22, 2013

HPL Kololo

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.   

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cien,

    My name is Christopher Pelham and I am Director of CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing), an arts & healing center in NYC.

    I am writing you because we are interesting in including some of your wonderful photographs of the traveling education program at HPL Kololo above in a photo exhibition we are putting together next month to raise awareness about such projects and to possibly raise money for a school library in a coffee farming village in Ethiopia. We would be delighted if you would be able to share with us some hi-res digital images documenting your project.

    We are currently working with the ethical and community-minded Think Coffee (our downstairs neighbors) and the Bushwick Seed Company to raise money for a school library for one coffee farming community in Ethiopia with which they have been working. To this end, in August we will be presenting :

    1) a screening of the coffee trade documentary "Black Gold"

    2) a lecture/presentation/Q&A about Think Coffee and Bushwick Seed Company staffs' own experiences with the limitations of Fair Trade and trying to take the next step and see that the actual farmers (and not just the co-ops etc) benefit from coffee bean trade

    3) a photo exhibition portraying various efforts to get to know and improve the lives of the next generation of people living in post-colonial communities.

    In my research, I came across your blog and found that you were doing the same kind of work. I know it is kind of last minute (the exhibition will open Aug 3) but we would love to include Ethiopia Reads in our program as well. To do that, we would like to print and exhibit several of your photographs of the project along with information about the project and your organization. We would not profit in any way, but we will collect donations, which will go to the support of the Eleshu Kellensoo Mokonissa Primary School Library in Kellensoo, Ethiopia. We would also encourage people to make donations to your organization and share the link/info for doing so.

    Our Center is relatively small and I believe only a few hundred people would be likely to see the photographs in person. Our fundraising ability is probably very modest, but nevertheless we want to do what we can.

    If you are interested in participating, would it be possible for you to send me whatever text about your organization you would like us to share (or direct me to copy it from your web site), and then send or share with us perhaps half a dozen or so higher resolution image files of several of your photographs which we could use to make prints (ideally big enough to print 8" x 12" or so, which would be 2400px x 3600px).

    Thank you for your consideration!

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.


    Christopher Pelham
    CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing)
    123 4th Ave, 2nd FL
    New York, NY 10003