How do you put a price on education? How do you place a value on a child’s chance in life? How about a whole generation of children?
The first Fregenet School (Fregenet Kidan Lehitsanat) opened its doors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the fall of 2004, and enrolled 31 children of ages 4 to 6 from a small and impoverished community in Addis Abeba. The student body was comprised of 16 girls and 15 boys from poor families, and HIV/AIDS orphans. In the school’s seventh year of operation, the number of students enrolled has grown to 215.
The school began with scant resources in a rented facility furnished with desks, chairs, playground material, basic books, teaching material as well as sleeping mats, feeding utensils and sanitary items. As of 2008, the foundation was able to meet its goal of providing a library with computers. Imagine what we can do in the next 5 years.
There were only two teachers, just enough to teach one group of first graders. Now, we have first through 4rd grade with 6 teachers and multiple assistants, some voluntary. The school’s total number of staff has now reached to 19, that includes, a Manager. Teachers and Teacher’s assistants, a Principal, a Secretary, two Librarians, two Cooks, a Janitor and Security guards. Imagine what we can do in the next 5 years.
Among our 5 year goals are:
- Open additional school/campuses
- Increase enrollment by 30 students each year.
- Cultivate partnerships with health agencies, community organizations, orphanages, and agencies that can sponsor students. Close contact with families, sponsors, and orphanages will be maintained to monitor progress and assure success.
- Initiate an alumni program for alumni to return to the schools to serve as tutors and help in various capacities.
- Make available the facility and services (library, computer training) to children not part of the school, the families of the children and the community at large.
- Build a model school.