Our Vision is to create a model system of education for children in Ethiopia which is self-sustaining financially and which can be reproduced in other parts of Ethiopia and eventually other countries in Africa. The Nicolas School will be amongst the top 10 schools in Ethiopia by 2015 as measured by the percent of children graduating to University or Technical/Vocational training schools and colleges.
By 2020 it will be the number 1 school in Ethiopia measured by the same criterion as above.
Our Mission is to build best-in-class school facilities for children primarily of parents with disabilities from age 4 (Kindergarten entry level) through to Grade 12 (known as Preparatory school in Ethiopia – typically aged 18/19) in the town of Mekele, Northern Ethiopia. For children leaving school and not continuing to further education at University level, we will build a vocational training centre. This centre will teach skills which are in short supply in Mekele including the professions of electrician, sanitation engineer, etc. At all times, locally trained Ethiopian teachers and school curriculum will be employed. We will upgrade skills of the staff by bringing in experts from other parts of Ethiopia, other African countries as well as from overseas.
The next objective is to expand the existing facilities by building a secondary school, such that children who join the Nicolas Kindergarten can continue through to the end of their secondary level education. The standard of education will be at the level needed to achieve our vision.
Our local partner in Ethiopia is the Tigray Disabled Veteran’s Association (TDVA) and our partnership with them is essential to the process. We believe that the local community should take on responsibility for the upkeep and running of the school and the TDVA have agreed in their contract with Rainbows4children that they will eventually take over the running costs of the school. They will raise funds through their own endeavours including profits from their business activities, which employ parents with disabilities of the supported children.
Mekele was selected as a location for the school for several reasons. Most importantly because there is a significant number of adults with disabilities in this region whose children do not have access to schooling. By selecting an urban environment, where a further education system is in place (including a university), we are supporting children for whom there is a long-term perspective of successful local employment which in turn will reduce the dependency on aid and enable them to escape from the poverty trap. Mekele also has good infrastructure which enables access to other parts of Ethiopia by road and air.