Educational opportunities and standards in Ethiopia are grim and virtually non-existent. It is estimated that 33% of children live at least four miles by foot from the nearest school, making education unavailable to thousands of children.
Pathways partnered with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), to build a school and public well in the village of Belessa, located in northern Ethiopia. The construction of the four classroom school was completed in October, 2017. It was furnished with school desks and blackboards and handed over to the local community education office. Despite lack of water, civil strife, and great logistical issues, the JDC, with financial assistance provided by Pathways to Children, succeeded in the endeavor to build this school.
The village of Belessa was brought to the attention of Pathways through the story of then 10-year-old Zemene Tiget, who received life-saving surgery from Dr. Rick Hodes. Zemene’s precocious nature, passion for life in the face of overwhelming adversity, and the desire to give back to her community through the dream of a “real school” for her village resonated deeply with Pathways and the JDC, making it a perfect collaborative project. The plague in the school commemorating this achievement will say “In honor of Zemene, a brave young woman and Dr. Rick Hodes who saved her. Funded by the generous support of Pathways to Children; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.”
Pathways to Children will continue to assist the school, by providing supplies and learning materials. However, the daily operations of the school will remain under the control of the village of Belessa, providing much needed stability. In addition to the financial assistance Pathways donated for the construction and implementation of this project, there are plans to lead a future trip for donors and volunteers for the dedication of the school in the Spring of 2018.