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The Community School
will include grades K-8, and serve an estimated 1,000-1,200 students when complete. Education is the focus of the project, and the school its centerpiece. The goal is for children and families to use the school campus to expand their knowledge, learn first hand agricultural and energy conservation techniques, analytical thinking and grow the skills to lead successful lives of contribution. We have a new partnership with TechAfrica to bring computer technology to every student. Twende Solar Foundation in Portland, Oregon will bring their remarkable team to train the community and build solar power for our school to run those computers. Opportunity, fueled with solar power, will give our students the chance to soar.
The Community Center
will be a micro-enterprise center to help people of all ages connect and thrive. The large community center will house a library, space for adult literacy classes, community meals, health clinics, celebrations, and computer-skills training for all ages. There is no existing sheltered public place for families and students to come together. This center of learning and enterprise will be a home for community support and strength, building bonds to know each others’ children and take advantage of robust communal capacity. Our local farmers have asked us to help them train in vocational skills to augment their farm income. A sheltered place for the community, powered with solar energy will give immeasurable opportunity to the community to build economic stability.
The Classroom Gardens, Bamboo Nursery and Apple Orchard
are now an integral part of the life sustaining education we provide to our students and the community. The vegetable gardens, apple orchard and bamboo nursery provide the community and our children with state of the art agricultural knowledge and training in growing their own healthy vegetables, fruits and herbs.
The bamboo nursery is a research propagation project to supply the local farmers with a new and beneficially economic crop. Bamboo is used as a construction material for houses and furniture, as biofuel and the young shoots can be eaten. Our esteemed plant biologist and biodiversity manager, Debre Birhan University professor, Dr. Abiyou Tilahun, continues to expand the agricultural knowledge and economic foundation to support the community.
December 2022 Status:
The generous and skilled nonprofit TWENDE SOLAR is preparing to ship solar capacity materials to our school. They will send their elite team to train our community and install solar capability at our school. We will have power! Currently, we have no lights, no way to run a computer, no way to show a child a whale or an elephant, no light in the microscope.
TWENDE SOLAR is the charitable arm of the geniuses at ELEMENTAL ENERGY in Portland, Oregon, committed to bring solar power to communities in need. They will change the trajectory of education at our school with their gift of solar power to train our community in solar construction and maintenance. We are deeply grateful for them. A whole new future will be available to our students and the entire community.
We have completed our first four classrooms and are serving 185 kindergarteners, first and second graders. During the long rainy season, we hosted the first elementary STEM program in a public school in Ethiopia and now teach 208 students in grades 1-10. Dr. Abiyou Tilahun writes the curriculum and supervises Debre Birhan University faculty as our professors. Project Manager, Fikeremariam Negash, is a critical support in all aspects.
Our demonstration apple orchard and bamboo propagation nursery, founded and supervised by Dr. Abiyou, are growing well and will add great economic and health benefits to our community. In July we planted and constructed a high density apple orchard to demonstrate the high yield technique to maximize the harvest.
Our composting toilets are complete and functioning. They recycle waste back to the nutrient poor soil, as fertilizer. Our handwashing station, built by Engineers Without Borders and generously funded by ADK, the international organization of women educators, is a key to sanitation and good health at the school. Access to hand washing has been critical to the good health and protection of the children and families during the pandemic.
STEMpower, Ethiopia, building STEM labs at every public university in Ethiopia, has given us funding for our own elementary school STEM lab, to be added to our next classroom building. Engineers Without Borders and Haley & Aldrich, environmental engineers, have given us a whole classroom of laptops for a computer lab.
We are under construction on the next 4 classroom building, during this cement rationing. We are grateful for Architects and Engineers Without Borders who continue to be our skilled advisory team, working with the local community for advanced and sustainable solutions.