June 2008

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the June news update from Link Ethiopia. As our schools in the UK and in Ethiopia begin to wind down over the next few weeks we look back over the last academic year and are amazed by all that’s taken place. Thanks to everyone who has been involved – whether through your school, through volunteering, through child sponsorship, through donating and funding projects in Ethiopia, or whether simply through words of encouragement. It’s all been valued very greatly by our team and by the schools we work with in Ethiopia.

This month we are focusing on our child sponsorship scheme which we hope you or your friends might be interested in joining. Read on…

Focus on… Child Sponsorship

Have you ever considered sponsoring a child? Our sponsorship programme is unusual in that it focuses entirely on supporting education. This is a great way to support Ethiopia’s next generation in a very long-lasting and sustainable way. Your regular donations go to support your specific sponsored child with schooling materials and equipment as well as funding wider projects in the school which they attend so that hundreds of pupils can benefit from new facilities and resources such as clean water, classrooms, books etc.

Read on to find out more about the scheme, and if you’re interested please get in contact with us ([email protected]) and we can answer any questions you may have and get things set up for you.

Introducing Selam Girma

Let us introduce you to one of our sponsored children, ten year old Selam Girma. She lives with her mother in the Arbatu Ensesa community in northern Ethiopia and goes to the local elementary school. Her father is no longer alive but her mother works as a daily labourer on building sites to bring in just a little money for the household. This can be exhausting work, with no certainty of regular employment. Her mother struggles to afford the everyday costs of schooling and Selam’s education suffers because of this.


 Supporting Selam Girma and her school

Selam is typical of many of our sponsored children. Thanks to child sponsorship we are able to work alongside her and provide the resources she needs to take full advantage of her schooling without putting further financial burden on her family. These resources include the basics of school uniforms and bags, stationery, notebooks and paper along with reference books and text books as they are needed. We then assess the specific needs of each child and tailor the support they receive to best suit their situation.

At the same time we are able to work with Selam’s school and plan projects which will benefit hundreds of other pupils as well. We are currently working with the school to build new classrooms and toilet facilities.


How to get involved

Sponsoring a child through Link Ethiopia is really easy to set up. We ask of you just £12 / $25 / 17€ per month (or more if you feel able) to support the education of your sponsored child and the school which they attend. When you think about it, that’s not much money, but it will enable us to work with your sponsored child and their school in a detailed and long-term way. On average 20% of your sponsorship money is spent on your child’s educational needs and 80% on supporting projects in their school.

Send an email to us ([email protected]) and we can get things set up for you straightaway. Thank you!

Fundraising idea of the month

How about putting a little gentle pressure on the more energetic members of your family to engage in a sponsored event for Link Ethiopia? Events can range from a marathon run or a sponsored swim to something much more sedate such as a sponsored silence or a sponsored Sudoku solving tournament (no, we don’t know how the latter idea would work either!).

If you’d like to do this for us, we can send you posters and leaflets to help the cause. Get in contact with us ([email protected]) and let us know. We are very grateful to all those who help with our fundraising efforts and we rely on them greatly. Thank you!

Educational DVD / video appeal

Do you have any educational DVDs or videos that you no longer need? We are looking for material suitable for infant or primary school aged children, to give to schools in Ethiopia. Email [email protected] if you think you can help. Thank you!

News from Ethiopia

  • You will no doubt have heard news of the recent food shortages in some parts of Ethiopia. The Belg rains (the early rains so essential for Ethiopia’s farmers) have been scant in volume and irregular this year. This, teamed with the ever-rising cost of basic staple foods such as ‘tef’ (from which ‘injera’ is made), means that there is real concern for the nutrition of people in various areas of the country. The Government and NGO’s have been responding and a recent plea was made to international donors for help.
  • At the same time, the World Bank’s Chief Economist recently visited Ethiopia and expressed confidence in the future development of the country. He described Ethiopia as having a “healthy economy and vibrant business environment”. In response to the drought that some areas of the country are suffering he thought that Ethiopia needed to improve its farming systems to curb future food shortages. A large percentage of Ethiopia’s population rely on subsistence farming.

Meet the Team: Mulugeta Derso

Let us introduce you to our latest team-member. This is Mulugeta Derso, the new and enthusiastic young graduate working in our Gondar office. He is in charge of coordinating and monitoring our projects within the Ethiopian schools we support and we are delighted at the energy and intelligence that he has already given to our work.

Culture spot: Traditional transport

While vehicular transport is used throughout much of Ethiopia, you can still find some excellent traditional methods of moving around if you look carefully. A quick visit to Gondar (and many other places in the country) will soon provide an introduction to the ‘gari’ – the horse-drawn cart. While an engineer might not be totally impressed by the construction of some of these, there is no doubting the usefulness, the economy and the durability of such transport.

Meanwhile, the fishermen and those living close to the banks of Lake Tana can still be seen using the ‘tankwa’, a form of reed boat that has probably not changed in any major way for the last two thousand years and more. Made of reeds that have been tightly bound together into the shape of a fairly large flat canoe, these are used not only to ferry people across the narrower stretches of the lake, but also to allow fisherman to cast their lines out into the deeper waters in order to catch fish for their families and for selling in the local market.

(Thanks to those who responded about our last ‘Culture Spot’ on manners and traditions. We shall be doing an update on this subject soon. We would welcome anyone else’s input!)

Coming up on UK Television

  • Tribal wives – Ethiopia
    A Scottish airhostess amid the Afar tribewomen!
    Wednesday 2nd July (BBC2)
  • Long way down – Egypt and Ethiopia
    Ewan McGregor and friend journey through Africa
    Sunday 13th July & later in month (National Geographic)
  • Wild Africa – Mountains
    Gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves
    Thursday 24th & 25th July (UKTV Documentary)

Ethiopian proverb

When the first born becomes foolish, the last born inherits the cattle

English proverb

A cheerful look makes a dish a feast

Website link

A major website for the Ethiopian community at www.cyberethiopia.com

And, of course, our own colourful website at www.linkethiopia.org

Help us?

As always, if anyone reading this would like to offer us expertise, knowledge and help with our work or if you would like to associate yourself with one of our school projects (classrooms, water, toilets, books, etc) then please get in touch. You can donate via the following link, or by contacting us – details at the bottom of this email.


Together We Learn - Ethiopia