Scissett Middle School supports Project Dukem.
Dukem is a town in the Oromiya region of Ethiopia. Life expectancy in Ethiopia is 56 years and a third of the population live below the national poverty line.We first visited this school in October 2007 and Almaz was relying on tourists visiting and giving her a few dollars so that she could buy food to feed the children at lunchtime. Most children are HIV/Aids orphans and do come to school hungry, as she says “You cannot teach hungry children”.
If she runs out of money she tries to feed them 3 times a week. Unfortunately if she has to do this, on the days when lunch is not provided they do not attend school but instead end up on the streets selling vegetables, cleaning shoes, working on building sites or on the fields trying to earn a few pence to help feed the family.
Most of the children are orphans but some have been ‘abused’, like Workesh, who we met in 2009. She had been married off by her family at the age of 12 and was beaten by her husband and his family. She ran away to live with her brother in Dukem.
Welknesh, from a different tribe, ran away from home at the age of 12 before her family could marry her off.
Both girls were put into the school by the local equivalent of the Education Authority.
Although Almaz can only really cope with 100 pupils, this year the Education Authority allocated her 150.
When we first visited the school it lacked even the most rudimentary resources, which is why we decided to start fund raising to help these small children receive a basic education. This is the only way that they will have any hope of rising out of the poverty in which they live.
Pat and Philip Alker
Project Dukem, Reg. Charity No. 149161