David's message - the how and why of A-CET
The continual economic dependence of Africa on the “developed” world should be an international disgrace.
Africans do not want to be dependent on our charity, nor need they be. Africa has all the resources it needs to help itself, not least human resources, with highly intelligent and hard working people. The foundation for all development needs to be education and this is our mission at A-CET - to educate Africans and let them develop Africa.
I believe that there is great hope for increased prosperity and continued peace in Ethiopia because so many Ethiopians want it. But the future of Ethiopia needs to be shaped by Ethiopians themselves in their way and to their timetable. If the developed world tries to impose their plans, Ethiopians will resist. Ethiopians are grateful for outside help, but they resent outside interference. They are a strong, unique, fiercely proud and independent people. To guests they are a friendly and extremely hospitable people, but not to invaders or colonialists. It is time we learnt to respect Ethiopians, their culture, their ways and their independence and not try to impose our ways to our timetable or we will fail.
- I have worked most of my life since 1964 in Africa, and became increasingly concerned at the appalling and continuing poverty with a total lack of opportunities.
- I always saw how keen Africans were on education but often how challenging, both financially and administratively, it was for them to access.
- On my retirement from the International Red Cross over 12 years ago, I started A-CET, helping a few youngsters with their education in Northern Ethiopia.
- A-CET now helps thousands of youngsters mostly orphans, the abandoned or disabled - through long-term scholarships and also helping upgrade and build country elementary schools. We give our students easier access to better education, which gives them more opportunities and higher aspirations through increased self-confidence and reliance.
- We work through local partners led by our ex-students at community village level - supporting them to do what they want to do.
- We are run in the UK by unpaid volunteers and Ethiopian post graduate students from my small flat - so low overheads and no professional fundraisers.
- We rely entirely on private voluntary donations, we get no government or lottery grants - this is challenging but it means we retain a certain amount of independence.
- We are caring and professional. Where we work ALL are honest and there is no corruption. We are very careful with our money and account for it all well.
- There is so much talk about ending poverty but we don’t talk much; acting with the firm belief that the way to end poverty is through educating youngsters. This is every youngster's right enshrined in so many international papers over the last 80 years.
- All Africans/Ethiopians are desperate for and highly motivated to be educated, but whilst education may be nominally free of “fees”, there are so many hidden costs (clothes, shoes, food, books & pens plus loss of labour to families). Also available schools are often too far from where they live. Our support aims to rectify these deficiencies.
- Please if you can help us educate them so then let them develop Africa; they know what they want far better than we do.
When available, David or our Ethiopian UK students are happy to come to talk to any group anywhere about our work. We rely entirely on your private voluntary support.