10 October 2012

ONEMoms in Ethiopia: Visiting schools in Mojo

A classroom in a Mojo high school
A classroom in a Mojo high school

LowresDSC_6011editedMy respect for educators took another leap when we visited two schools in the village of Mojo. This town outside Addis Ababa, is modest, to say the least. The dirt roads are filled with townspeople, livestock, and donkeys transporting bundles of sticks. The businesses we can see as we drive by are small metal shacks filled with all manner of day-to-day necessities. A glimpse down a side lane hinted at the labyrinth of residences hidden from street view.

We began with a visit to the local high school, and moved on to a primary school. Both schools educated their students with the sparsest of materials. The rooms are bare with thin wooden desks, the books are old and mended with tape, the classrooms were crowded, and the buildings are crumbling. It's hard to see past the initial "lack," but we were about to learn how school grants from the British government have made possible significant improvements for both students and teachers. 

LowresDSC_6091editedThe administrators and teachers were proud to tell us about the progress they've made. The upgrades are modest when you compare them to American schools, but they make a big difference to students and the teachers. Everything from textbooks to lab equipment to computers to improved bathrooms were made possible by British grants. Teachers were able to receive training to deepen their skills, and the results showed in the students' exam scores and graduation rates.

We're hearing from mothers that their biggest dream for their children is for them to get an education. Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the educators we met, in partnership with the Ethiopian and British governments, kids in Mojo are getting that chance.

LowresDSC_6071edited

 

Mojo-elementary
Mojo primary school

 

Don't miss Christine Koh's post about Mojo schools, including fantastic video clips that will really help you feel what it was like there. And...children singing, which was my favorite moment.

And! And! Liz Gumbinner's beautiful post talks about this visit in a way I was unable to express. The great thing about this ONEMoms group is that when one of us is speechless, another one manages to speak.

* * *

I’m in Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign. ONE is a non-partisan organization that fights poverty and preventable disease, primarily in Africa. 

The idea behind the ONEMoms partnership is simple: the connection we share as parents extends around the world. When we recognize that connection and come together, we can make real change.

ONE will never ask for your money, just your voice. If you're moved by what you're reading here (or on any of the ONEMom teams' blogs) please consider joining ONE, and spreading the word about our ONEMoms journey this week!

Follow along with ONEMoms happenings on the ONEMoms website, or use the hashtag #ONEMoms on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You can also find ONEMoms on Facebook.

More: Posts about ONEMoms

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Beautiful Asha, I love that we all saw the same sites but all our stories are told in such different ways. Wonderful to be experiencing this with you. Mich x

Your pictures are amazing!!!! I am bouncing around from blog to blog of all of the moms with you on the trip!!!! My son is from Sidama, in the south. When we adopted him, we first spent 2 weeks traveling all over Southern ET through the Omo Valley- incredible! Then we spent 2 weeks in Addis- I hope you are able to go and see the museums and churches there! I can't wait to see more pictures and hear more...

Your description of the school is exquisite and perfect. The details you capture--and remember--are just amazing.

"Seeing past the initial lack"---yes--this! Such an important perspective and a reminder of the work that is still left to be done. Thank you for sharing these insights and reflections!

Asha, your post reminded me of last year when the ONEMoms went to Kenya and you were so interested in supportive of the school programs happening there. To read your post today about visiting these schools in Ethiopia brings tears to my eyes. I can only imagine how the kids' moms feel! I'm sending tons of love and hugs and cannot wait to hear and read more! xoxo

AHH! I love your comments. Becky: I forgot to credit the photos! All are taken by Karen Walrond, the official photographer. Isn't she amazing? There are SO many more pictures to share and I will do, most likely after I get home.

Elena: Yes! So important, b/c if you just walk in and compare these schools to American schools, it's very difficult to see the magic that's going on. Yes, there is much progress to be made. So much is needed. AND there are amazing things happening right now.

Very nice-- I would love to go overseas and get to meet all these wonderful children. Yes, there is a lot more to be done, but you are helping them to get the word out and mobilize the troops.

Very nice-- I would love to go overseas and get to meet all these wonderful children. Yes, there is a lot more to be done, but you are helping them to get the word out and mobilize the troops.

Very nice-- I would love to go overseas and get to meet all these wonderful children. Yes, there is a lot more to be done, but you are helping them to get the word out and mobilize the troops.

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