Kumbursa is a village of around 250 households, 40km south of Addis Ababa in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The village has a local school – Kumbursa Elementary – which offers grades 1 to 4, teaching children up to the age of 11.
Kumbursa was the first school supported by one of our donkey libraries in 2014. Our donkeys visit rural schools where students often have no books at home or school other than their school textbook. The donkey librarians lend books to students to help them study but also to spread the joy of reading. It is always an event when the donkey arrives and the librarians hold reading and story-telling sessions during their visit.
Having been such an active supporter of our reading projects, our project team were really excited to be able to fund a permanent library block at Kumbursa Elementary in 2015.
The block was constructed using traditional methods, using mud and wood strengthened with concrete. It created extra study space for students and gave them a choice of hundreds of reference and fiction books every school day.
In the same year, we were able to build a concrete block with 10 latrines so that pupils and teachers had sanitary toilets to use when at school. The school also participated in Together We Learn’s WaSH initiative, holding a community discussion about water needs at the school, learning about good handwashing technique and setting up a school hygiene club.
As one of Together We Learn’s partner schools, Kumbursa hosted several school exchange trips and visiting volunteer teachers. These are thoughts of Charlie and Jacob, student volunteers who visited the school in 2016:
We were lucky enough to meet two of the pupils who were notably thrilled at the developments of their school. Although the school is basic, we were both impressed by the school’s facilities which had a preschool, two classrooms and an extremely well stocked library. Without these facilities it was clear the children wouldn’t be able to get the education which is so important to lift them out of the poverty cycle.
We were then shown the toilets by our newly acquired, enthusiastic friends. To see their excitement at having working toilets just 20 feet from their classroom was really satisfying. The toilets were separated by gender and even had a cubicle specifically for teachers. What we all take for granted in western schools will make a massive difference in the quality of students’ education as well making the school cleaner and safer for everyone.
Together We Learn continues its partnership with the Kumbursa community and a classroom is under construction which we hope will help the school to expand to grade five, allowing children in the village to stay in their local school.