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Our students

Student results for the 07/08 academic year are just in. For the first time all students are promoted. Sponsors will be advised as soon as all results are collated.
We congratulate 7 of our students (including 3 girls) on being accepted at University for 2008, and for the first time 3 of whom who are disabled - an incredible achievement by any standards. Student 40 Mahlet Adane (240), 68 Almaz Woldu (230), 123 Haylay G/Tekle (284), 178 Mearg Gidey (246), 244 Yohannes Arkebe (214), 246 Kokob Mezigebo (282), 252 Mearu Abraha (183). (Figures in brackets are marks).


What follows are short biographies of a few of our hundreds of scholarship students; all selected on basis of need & vulnerability by our Ethiopian partners, EYES.
From selection throughout support, we aim not to be judgmental. Whilst there may be cases of parental/family irresponsibility, what do we know their pressures? Should children suffer for their elders lack of love or care? We have few fathers, and some who are there suffer acute behavioural problems often due to maltreatment whilst imprisoned during the Marxist regime. Cultural norms may not be ours, but we do not consider it for us to criticise.

As you read this, don’t be angry or upset; these are all true stories and may touch your heart. But these youngsters are strong and not looking for sympathy, only that fair chance which we try to give through our care and continued educational support. Each student is an individual, none are “typical”, yet their one common factor is that each of them, but for their A-CET scholarship, would most likely have left full-time education for an uncertain bleak future of continuing poverty and exposure to possible exploitation. We know what our scholarships achieve - is to radically change these youngsters lives. A-CET support gives them a sense of self-worth, and hope for a better brighter self-sufficient future. Africans are not afraid of hard work, are inherently intelligent & have enquiring minds.

Student's stories

Desta’s father took him out of school at Grade 4 and sent him to look after his sheep. As he enjoyed school and yearned to learn more, he ran away 50 miles to the nearest town to continue schooling. Knowing no-one, with the civil war just over, life was tough for everyone. No-one wanted to know another street boy. He worked at odd jobs to scrape a sort of life & his school fees, sleeping rough - but he was bright & his teachers noticed him. Asked why he kept missing school, he said he had to work to live. Recommended to A-CET, Desta graduated with a BA (Accounting) & he is now a Cement distributor. Reconciled with his father, when he re-visits his village he encourages other poor youngsters to continue their schooling.

Adane with brother Bilal & Mahlet Gebreegziabher (Special school)

Adane & Bilal recently lost their father. Adane at 13 is always top of his class and promoted to Grade 8. Bilal starts Grade 1 this year.
Sweet Mahlet gets easily distressed as she has Down’s syndrome. Her father died a few years ago and with two younger brothers both at elementary school, life was bleak. Mahlet is much loved by her mother who now takes her daily to a special school where she learns simple household tasks. Both brothers are doing well at school.

Nursing Undergraduate Birhan Woldu, Grade 4 Mahder Birhane, Undergraduate Yohannes Arkebe

Birhan the “miracle” 1984 famine survivor may be remembered with Bob Geldof & Madonna on the Live 8 Concert in London in 2005. Birhan was initially featured by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Nov 1984 and later by Michael Buerk on BBC. Since she has been the subject of many documentaries. See CBC article on Birhan. In 2006 Birhan graduated with Dip Agric. and is now following her dream of Nursing training under her own auspices - and receiving the highest grades.

Uneducated orphaned 11 year old country girl Mahlet was brought to town by a “Godmother” and effectively sold as a house-girl. Too weak and sick to manage the work, she was soon abandoned and came to our notice. Now in a foster home, on a scholarship, going to school and receiving medical attention, her life is improving.

Yohannes was dropped as a child and as he could no longer walk he was abandoned as “of no value”. His strong grandfather carried him over 70 miles to a clinic through enemy lines during the civil war, and then died. Now twice abandoned, beyond treatment and penniless, after the war Yohannes literally dragged himself back to the city and began cleaning shoes to pay for an education. Now one of our first disabled students about to start University, Yohannes claims to be as good, if not better than many able-bodied person. Kind, considerate and ever cheerful Yohannes says his family are sorry they abandoned him as he’s now “worth something”. A remarkable determined positive young man, it is humbling to help. He is writing his story down.

Yohannes Etay (Undergraduate),Fitsum Grade 9 & Mine Victim Hagos

Yohannes home life was difficult, so he joined the after school Circus Selam. Yohannes not only wins awards for acrobatics, juggling and now leading the band as keyboard player, but is an exceptional high achieving student now in his final year for his BA in Business Studies. Yohannes says “I’m just so lucky”.

Ever smiling 12 year old Grade 8 Fitsum sells paper tissues on the street to help pay his school fees. Ethiopia is cold at night at over 7,000 feet and Fitsum was shivering and so was offered an extra spare T-shirt, when he put it on under his shabby jacket, he was seen to be a bag of bones and very malnourished. Fitsum had no parents and his sister was trying to put him in an orphanage as “she couldn’t cope”. Orphanages are crowded and rather Dickensian. A day after we featured on our web-site, a sponsor was found and Fitsum was saved from the orphanage, now lives happily with his sister and is slowly putting on weight and of course still smiling!

After the border war, a number of families were moved for the new UN patrolled de-militarised zone. Hagos was unfamiliar in their newly allocated farm site. Whilst playing “hide & seek” he kicked what he thought was a stone. It was a land-mine and Hagos lost both legs and part of his hand. Now fitted with two new legs he is back at school - and keen to play football.

Undergraduate Habtamu Ayalew, Grade 10 Yirgalem Kahsay & Aynalem Zeneb @ TVET

Habtamu is a final year BSc (Computer Studies) undergraduate at Gondar University. Yirgalem & Aynalem both have polio but are excellent high achieving students whose disability is no bar to their positive attitude.

Grade 10 Haftom, Computer Science Undergraduate Meried & Veterinary Doctoral student Amanuel

Haftom left Eritrea at 11 after his mother died of cancer, her having been refused surgery as an Ethiopian. After walking for days with his 9 year old sister, he was put in various orphanages until thrown out as “difficult, lazy and unintelligent”. He has just passed his Grade 9 promotion exam in the top ten. Confident, healthy & often irrepressably outgoing - he is our unofficial, yet accomplished, video & camera man.

Orphaned Meried has been with us for over 10 years, a consisently high achieving quietly confident student, now a final year BSc Computer Science undergraduate.

Whilst still in Grade 9 Amanuel was “press-ganged” into the military during the recent Eritrean border conflict. With his first pay packet he ran away back to school, but having lost his report card he was not readmitted but arrested as AWOL. Undeterred. after serving his sentence, he did return to school and is now, at just 21, he is a 3rd year Doctoral Veterinary student at University. A strong mature young man.

Mearu, Simon & Danny

Mearu has just been accepted in University, a considerable achievement, not only as a girl but also disabled girl. We are proud of her and wish her well.

Simon has Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy from which his Uncle (our student) recently died. A-CET will give him as full and happy a life as possible, through facilitating his school attendance, extra classes and access to social activities.

15 year old Danny had been the breadwinner for his mother and two younger siblings since deportation from Eritrea during the border conflict. Strangers in an already over-crowded and impoverished town, they had no-one to help them. All four sheltered in a dark unfurnished hovel, severely malnourished, they had few clothes to all go out together and there was no sign of food or any cooking utensils. Danny had little time, energy or indeed funds to study. Danny is bright with a disarming infectious smile and is irrepressibly optimistic. The family is now under our care with all attending full-time school. Now in a better room, with Danny top of his class, all are doing well and walking tall with justifiable pride.

Visits to students

Monitoring Lalibela girl student’s progress & with our two “poster” children now both in Adihana

Birhan receives nursing books from donor, watching Circus Selam rehearsing coordination

Ex-students Tamrat now drives a truck & Software graduate Girmay has set up an IT business

Street life

Young boys and girls often work as street traders, shoe-cleaners or lottery sellers to help pay for their (and their whole family’s) upkeep & school costs.
With no room, life on the streets is not easy. Few choose to become street children, it has its own stigma. Experience has taught us that long-term street children are difficult to help; are often damaged beyond our capacity to assist.

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