I have always been passionate about the value of education. Trained as a primary school teacher, I see the value in good foundations, creative thought and expression, sharing stories, and a love of learning. The thing about education, in its widest sense, is that you can never take it away from someone.
Of course, buildings are vital too, especially in some circumstances. The Afar sixth form block will open up new opportunities for the next generation of Afar students to access further education. But for those who are always on the move (often a symptom of poverty) what you have learned and the desire to find out more, travels with you for your whole life.
What a joy to hear from Mike who, having been given the chance of a free scholarship at St Paul’s Primary School, has now enrolled at university and has a life of opportunity ahead of him.
Then there is the story of Bob Trubish, and many more from Komamboga, who have forged out good careers and now have their own families and children.
This is why CPA gives education a special place and focus. The Afar girls in particular need our support to help them continue their studies. This hopefully will empower them to challenge the old ways and model a new way forward that brings with it opportunity, dignity and gives girls a voice.
Maybe this chance of a further education could be key in breaking the cycle of poverty and reduce the risk of vulnerable exploitation.