Every child has the right to an an education.’
– UN Convention of the Rights of a Child
Education levels in the Afar region of Ethiopia have historically been very low, especially for girls. Girls are often expected to help with household chores, tend to cattle, and even get married as young as 10 years old. On top of that, tuition fees, uniforms, books, and stationery costs can be a barrier that prevents many Afar families from sending their daughters to school. To make matters worse, girls are sometimes subjected to harmful traditional practices that further reinforce their subservient role in society.
CPA’s Ethiopian partner, Voice in the Wilderness Development Organisation (VWDO), has been working hard in the Afar region for many years and has established several schools. They are committed to encouraging the education of Afar girls, not just for academic purposes, but also for the positive impact it has on the girls’ lives.
In 2017, CPA teamed up with VWDO and the local government to build a classroom block at the local senior school for grades 11 and 12. This was a huge step forward for the community, as these pre-university years had never been available in the area before. The new classrooms provided a much-needed solution for the pupils who had previously travelled to the neighbouring Amhara region to complete their education, which was especially challenging due to cultural and language barriers. Once the classrooms were completed the regional government provided all the necessary teachers and resources required.
As a result, 15 girls have passed the entrance exams to secure a place at university and CPA provides grants for the girls who have been offered places. The best part is that although accommodation, laptops, books, and living costs need to be covered, university education is free if you pass the entrance exams.
This opportunity will hopefully empower these young women to challenge the old ways and model a new way forward that brings with it opportunity, dignity and gives girls a voice.
We’re so proud to be part of the girl’s incredible success story.