EDUCATION

A New Beginning

A new beginning for 30 students with disabilities

Exciting news! Tembaro’s first inclusive education program is up and running at Mudula Primary School and more than 30 children with disabilities – a mix of boys and girls – are enrolled. All are attending school for the first time now that the teachers and the classrooms can support their learning.

The opening marks the culmination of an extraordinary effort involving community leaders, the local government, teachers, parents, and students – all with a shared vision of giving children with disabilities the same educational opportunities as other children. The Tembaro District has 39 primary schools, but until last month, none were accessible to children with disabilities.

The year-long effort included awareness-raising sessions with local stakeholders about the challenges that children with disabilities face and the wide-ranging benefits of giving them more opportunities – starting with a formal primary education. WEEMA also helped train staff to teach in sign language and support other special needs. The school was also outfitted with wheelchairs,  entrance ramps, special furniture, and other resources to help students who are blind and deaf. 

What a transformation we’ve seen! During a recent visit to the school, English teacher Aleme Wochato was using sign language to teach students the alphabet. A half-dozen students were enthusiastically waving their hands to show what they had learned. In another room, environmental science teacher Alemitu Aweno was using sign language to teach first graders about animals in Ethiopia.

Teachers were especially delighted with the big changes afoot. “Before this year, none of the schools had teachers trained in education methodologies for engaging children with disabilities,” Wochato said. “Now, with support from WEEMA, teachers are trained in the Braille alphabet, sign language, and other skills.  

Judging from their smiles and eager participation in classes as you can see in the photo below, students are also excited about the school’s transformation.

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Library Transformation at Boarding School for High Achieving Students

Students at Higa School smiling in the boys' dormitory 

Students at Higa School smiling in the boys' dormitory 

In the fall of 2017, Higa Model Boarding High School opened its doors to the highest achieving students from across the Kembata-Tembaro Zone. Higa Model was constructed to provide a rigorous 4 year academic experience for the best performing students to excel and pursue their dream of attending university.

WEEMA is honored to participate in this community effort by constructing the school's new library. Over the coming months, WEEMA will transform the room in the photo below into a top-notch facility for students, complete with computers, books and furniture. The school was founded and supported by "Gogotacare",  a local Kembata-Tembaro organization, and the campus was donated by the Zonal (State) government. This school and its students are the pride of the community and WEEMA is thrilled to be a part of its success. 

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Big moves for Mudula and Keleta Kindergartens

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WEEMA is supporting education in the community by constructing permanent buildings for Mudula and Keleta Kindergartens.

The Kindergartens will move from their current rented classrooms to newly built classrooms located inside local school complexes. Basing Mudula and Keleta kindergartens in locations adjacent to the primary schools in their area will allow them to function under the same administration as the rest of the school district. 

WEEMA is dedicated to implementing projects that support the long-term, sustainable success of Ethiopia's educational system.

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Books in the hands of moms, babies and toddlers!

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Research has shown that early exposure to books shared with a loving caregiver creates the foundation for successful reading!

WEEMA International, in partnership with Reach Out and Read, is piloting an innovative program with our women's groups.  Four Self Help Groups (SHGs) each received a box of 20 different colorful board books selected with care for the local context. Each member takes home a book every week and engages with her children at home by reading together- pointing, interacting over the photos and drawings, etc. She then swaps for a new book the following week. After 20 weeks, the groups will exchange boxes with another SHG group.

The women are thrilled about this program. WEEMA will continuing working to get books in the hands of moms, babies and toddlers.

Enjoy the video below to see these books in action!