This year I am starting with Mebratu’s story as it is such a good example of the scholarship fund in practice. Mebratu was one of the original 10 students we supported. He is now in full time employment as a teacher, which is giving back so much to other students. In addition, his uneducated family now appreciate the power of education. Hopefully the next generation of his family will all have the opportunity to access schooling.
Mebratu made successful application for the scholarship fund. He was a grade 12 student with ambition to go to university. He has 9 brothers and sisters, none of whom has had education. His parents wanted him to give up his education, marry and work as a farmer. Our support enabled him to continue his education.
Mebratu now has a BSc. In Biology.
Mebratu has now completed a teacher training course and is in full time employment, teaching Biology, to grades 9 to 12, in a secondary school in Kolmask.
I asked him how his family now feel about him and his answer was that they now listen to him!
His youngest sister is now 14 and completed grades 1 and 2 before dropping out of education to work at home. Mebratu has insisted that she return to the education system and he is supporting her through this.
You can view the stories of all of our students, year-by-year, by clicking on any of their names in the menu of “Young People Funded”.
In 2013/2014, we supported 22 young people in various stages in the education system. They have continued to pay us back by working hard and achieving good results. I am pleased to say that there has been no ‘drop outs’ this year. The main reason for this is the careful screening of applicants given by the Lalibelan committee. This ensures that the young people we help are those with the greatest need. They are all very grateful for the support, without which they would not be able to remain in the education system. I am constantly receiving their thanks, when the thanks are due to all of you.
In 2013/2014 the equivalent of £6,140 has been distributed to the students.
Thank you to Hamilton Bridge Club, which is responsible for the setting up of the fund. Their annual tournament again topped up the money in the bank. Thanks to all those who have set up a standing order, and paid money regularly into the account. Thanks to everyone who has made donations throughout the year. Thanks to the visitors to Lalibela who have given money in support.
A special thank you is due to Roisin Sharp, and her family, who have been fund raising for most of the year and have contributed more than £1,500. I am amazed that auctioning 4 kittens could raise £350, enough to keep a young person in the education system for almost 18 months.
A special thank you is also due to Doris Hogan who is presently living in Addis Ababa. She held an exhibition of her Ethiopian photographs and donated the money made to the fund. This was an amazing 12,000 birr.
Many of our students are disadvantaged by not having a computer. Last year Sheena McCall funded for computers for 2 of our students. This year Pat Snook found a company in England, computers4africa, which reconditions old computers and sells them very cheaply if they are to be used by students in Africa. Pat brought a computer for one of the students on her recent visit and it has been possible to get another 2 brought over. If anyone is planning a visit, and has spare luggage space, please let me know and I can organise to get a computer to you to carry over.
The scheme could not run without the support of the 2 committees. All the members give their time, and expertise, without any payment. Thank you Tefera, Habtamu and Tsegenet in Lalibela and June, Margaret and Morag in Scotland.
Two of our young people graduated this year and are not now being supported by the fund. Due to everyone’s generosity, we have been able to add 6 new young people to the programme. This means that we will be supporting 26 young people during 2014/2015. As 10 of our students are scheduled to graduate in 2015, we are expecting to be able to accept a large intake of new students in session 2015/2016.
It is difficult to find the words to describe the difference this money is making to the lives of these young people. Please accept my thanks for remembering us out here and for your continual support.