School in Belessa, Ethiopia

Pathways to Children and the JDC partnered together to raise funds for a new school and a well to better serve the village of Belessa, Ethiopia. As of May 2017, the long drought and famine has finally cleared and construction is beginning with completion of the school scheduled for September 2017. Executive Director Grace Strangis will be coordinating a trip to Ethiopia after the school is built for a dedication!  Donors who would like to accompany her on the trip can obtain more information at pathwaystochildren@gmail.com. Due to the drought and famine, money raised for the well was used to build a latrine and to feed the starving community. Pathways is currently raising funds for the well as well as money for school supplies, desks and chairs. 

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 has 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 current school is not only structurally unsound, it was built by the villagers out of mud and rocks, but is much too small to accommodate the continually growing student body, with over 200 enrolled students.  The school also lacks the necessary supplies, having very limited access to books, pencils, and paper. TWO teachers teach the entire student population.

In 2015, Pathways contributed $45,000 toward the building and operations of a new school. Because of political unrest and severe drought related issues, building of the new school was delayed until 2017.

Upon completion of the school, Pathways to Children will continue to assist the school, by providing supplies and learning materials.  The daily operations of the school will remain under the control of the village of Belessa, providing much needed stability.

The village of Belessa was brought to the attention of Pathways and the JDC through the story of a then 10-year-old girl, Zemene Tiget, who receives life-saving surgery from Dr. Rick Hodes, medical director of the JDC and medical internist.  Five years after her surgery, Zemene returns to her village, Belessa, to visit her family and friends. Zemene’s precocious nature, passion for life in the face of overwhelming adversity, and desire to give back to her community through her dream of a “real school” for her village resonated deeply with Pathways and the JDC, making it the perfect collaborative project.

Be sure to check back for photos and updates on the building of the school!

*The JDC has successfully built over 65 schools in Ethiopia. 

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