Unrest in Ethiopa - update
Background - war in Tigray. Ethiopian national army, Eritrean forces and regional forces from other areas fought Tigray regional forces between November 2020 and November 2022. Hostilities were reduced following the Pretoria Agreement (Cessation of Hostilities).
Since that time, life in Mekele has been considerably safer and things are slowly getting back towards normal. In other parts of the region it will take a lot longer due to the huge displacement of people and damage to structures, property and possessions.
Latest update (March 2023) - students are slowly returning to school. All students are physically examined, interviewed to check on their mental condition (for psychological disturbance due to the 2 years of war) and diagnostic tests are done to assess how much remedial schooling is needed. Children also get the chance to meet their friends, do sport together and play. As time goes on they will have chance to participate in sport and the arts as well as intensive catch-up classes, to try to help their whole well-being. Finally, students are getting a meal every day that they come to school.
February 2022- September 2022 - we operated school for 6 months for students from kindergarten to Grade 6. The school was forced to close when Mekele was bombed again.
Update 19 01 2020 - We are grateful that we are based in Mekele, where the impact of the war has been less severe. There is still a shortage of food and cash to pay for it, but most people are managing to eat something and sharing with relatives and neighbours, even if the diet is monotonous. The only possible communication is by phone, there is no internet service in the town. For now, our focus is humanitarian and education. The School has been able to pay staff salaries, We are now sending funds to cover purchases of food for the school community and for the next salary payments. We hope we can start classes in the next 2 to 4 weeks. This would bring a sense of normality to life especially for the children. We will have two priorities at the beginning of operations: physical and mental health. This will include feeding everyone.
Schools due to
The Nicolas Robinson School closed its doors for students from March 17th 2020 and remained closed until October. Certain grades had started returning in October, then the war started on 4th November and we have to assume that no further education has continued. Not least with with a shortage of fuel, many children could not use their usual transport. Africa was one of the last continents to be affected with Covid but due to the fragile health service in most countries they could be very severely affected. Our teachers had already made a contingency plan, based on their knowledge of the measures taken in other countries and so the children have gone home with projects and course work to pursue. We wish all our students and staff good health during this very difficult time for us all. For more details read our Newsletter update.
Getting Young People into Work
Training has now been running since February 2017 in our hospitality unit. In this time more than 140 students have completed a course in food preparation and new groups of 20 students join us every 6 months. Our students join us from the Nicolas Robinson School, and from other schools in the area.
Since 2019, we also teach computing skills and entrepreneurship at the units.
Young people need to get into the workplace quickly to maintain self esteem and to ensure their futures. Most students at the Nicolas School are expected to follow the academic path, but this is not suitable for everyone. In our continuing commitment to give EVERY student the best possible start in life, we have built 4 training rooms, kindly sponsored by a visionary donor, to train young people for work. This is looking after our less academic students as well as those with special needs. We are training in the basic skills to start a small business as well as accounting and English. We are working with local employers as partners to train in relevant and employable skills. Most importantly we are educating young people in behaviour and community spirit to make them exemplary employees. Civics is a compulsory subject in schools up to grade 12 and we will ensure that our students understand their roles as citizens as well as employees.
As this project progresses we will keep you informed. We are already very encouraged by the positive response we have received from the local community.
During the time of Covid, and then the war, all teaching has stopped.