Seven high school aged girls traveled to Dera and on the International Day of the Girl Child met with similarly aged Ethiopian girls. These teenagers discussed the blessings and challenges of womanhood and taught one another how to live true to their potential.
The American girls then broke the taboo subject of feminine hygiene and proper health care before distributing hygiene kits.
Thank you to Big Ocean Women for preparing and sharing the kits; they are changing lives by enabling girls to attend school without fear of embarrassment.
This spring seven different families worked side by side in Ethiopia building relationships in the process. Some travelled with parents, some with teenagers and others with a spouse working on a variety of projects. Two mother and son teams built 75 benches and desks for the kindergarten school.
Several dentists brought family members who worked in the dental clinic including teenagers who got to see their parents at work professionally while serving the people of Dera.
Situated on the edge of the most drastically affected region of the worst drought in 50 years, Dera is the staging area for world food international aid trucks. Dera however has water and food, thanks to so many of you who supported Hope Arising in the 20 mile water pipeline. Today, that pipeline is literally a life line as water is diverted to crops for food and continues to quench the thirst of thousands in Dera.
A NEW KINDERGARTEN IN DERA
There are over 400 children age 4 just in the Dilfekar School area and no where to go to school. Hope Arising, in partnership with Dera Town leaders who are donating the land, is constructing a new public kindergarten school that will serve over 500 children. Volunteers began work on new benches and desks for the school this past spring trip. Efforts for money to begin construction are underway if you are able to help!
DENTISTS RELIEVE PAIN & DO SEALANTS FOR CHILDREN
Dr. Horgesheimer reaches out to children at Dilfakar Elementary doing 150 sealants and sending others with pain to the health clinic where the dental team can treat them. Doctors included Dr. Jason Horgesheimer, Dr. Micah Mortensen, Dr. Greg Mortensen, Dr. Bryan Christensen, Dr. Jeff Roberson and Dr. Jeremy Miller. Together their team helped hundreds who suffered pain and infections. Local dental students from Addis Ababa University worked side by side helping with procedures and translation.
We had a great spring trip to Dera! We painted a wing of the health clinic, updated the computers in the high school and visited the schools. We are excited for a new toilet in the Hope Arising bathroom! That is good news for all team travelers.
We were able to view several gardens that are going strong in Dera. The high school has furrowed their plot and is moving forward. Dera #1 presented a Stay Alive play for us, showing they know the risks and danger of HIV/AIDS.
We had 3 energetic teenagers who taught several classes on nutrition and how to make tippy-taps (hand-washing stations out of a water bottle). Joe taught the high-school computer classes how basic programming skills can lead to jobs online.
We visited the orphanage in Nazret and donated some clothes and toys. The school is close by so we were able to play there for a few hours. It was hard to tear ourselves away!
We were honored to have Heather (pictured above), who is working on her Master’s degree in Art curriculum join us in the local schools in Dera & Awash. We combined an English lesson from Linda (pictured below), a 6th-grade Rodell teacher who taught the kids about the different sounds letters can make with an art lesson. The kids drew pictures of cats, beds, houses and flowers. They were impressed with the crayons and we were impressed with their skills and respect.
An exciting advancement in Dera this summer has to be the gathering of “Women in Development”. Many huts in rural Ethiopia are not partitioned or properly ventilated. People and animals must share living space in order for protection from predators and theft. Moreover, many homes do not have proper toilet facilities. As a result, women and children are the principal victims of communicable diseases preventable by proper sanitation techniques. Responsibility for children, the home, cooking and gardens primarily falls upon women. Hope Arising offers training for women to promote healthy practices.
Men are not excluded but generally do not choose to participate in home skills training. In August, 135 women gathered to talk about circumstances surrounding their homelife. Foremost on the discussion topic list was nutrition, childcare, home management (cleanliness, shelves for dishes, pens for animals), personal hygiene and sanitation. Hope Arising field officers and other key community leaders provided instruction and extended a call to action for each household to; dig a pit latrine, secure latrine privacy using available materials as covering, preparing a simple hand washing station at their homes, separating the animals from family living quarters, better cooking ventilation and fuel alternatives to wood. These exercises empowered the women of these households to come up with solutions to their personal challenges.
When students in Alberta, Canada heard about the needs of Dera High School they decided to take action. Securing pledges from throughout the community, students and teachers joined in a 3 day famine. Their goal: no food for 1 day and no technology for the other 2 days. Students in k-12 gave up their computers and teachers turned off their smartboards. After learning more about a day in the life of a student in Dera, Ethiopia these studentst raised enough money for 10 computers and computer desks for the High School. In Ethiopia, every child has a conviction of the power of education and they know that for their future success in the world, they need to learn how to use technology. Thanks to students in Alberta, the students in Dera will have that opportunity!
With nearly 6 million children orphaned in Ethiopia, the solution lies in strengthening families and communities to care for these children within the local households. Often a grandmother, aunt, neighbor or older sibling struggle to care for young children. Food is often scarce and school fees difficult to come by.
Family capacity is increased through participation in our Thrive Together program. Struggling households work in peer groups to set goals that will increase healthy habits, literacy and school enrollment and ultimately have an income generating activity. Over time, with knowledge and support, these households progress from a state of crisis to stability and hope in the care of their families.
Does y=mx + b (or another algebraic equation) bring you to tears? How about H2OCL2 (a chemical compound name) or “Never end a sentence with a preposition?” Perhpas you recall when these teachings brought you tears of frustration, but do you recall them bringing tears of joy and humble gratitude?
Hope Arising and Dr. Chet Jenkins’ family purchased $450 worth of textbooks, all written in native Oromifa, and presented them to the Dera Middle School (Grades 5-8). The entire school greeted our team by clapping and singing. Speeches were made by the school director and the PTA president. But above the noise of clapping, singining and talking, tears of gratitude that silently streamed down students’ cheeks rang out to the Hope Arising team.
These children know that education is key to rising above their challenges and securing a better life. Parents encourage their children to study hard. Students take advantage of the meager opportunities presented to them. All sacrifice whatever is necessary to go to school and learn.
One dollar goes so far towards educating children in Dera, Ethiopia. We were honored to present textbooks to such an eager, humble, appreciative group of children as algebraic equations, chemical compounds and grammar rulesbrought tears of joy to eager students’ eyes.