Against all odds, the Ethiopian Rural Education Project accomplished what many said could never be done.
Some said it is foolish to try to use a school model from India and apply it to Ethiopia. But -- our Indian colleagues played a major role in transferring their educational technology to Ethiopia successfully -- the first country in Africa to adapt this technology.
Some said that the schools would never be more than a pile of rocks dumped on the empty field. But -- the rocks became the foundation, and two schools now stand with doors open to the children. The schools are in their fifth year of teaching.
Some said the Ethiopian communities would never participate in the effort. But -- the Ethiopian communities prepared the ground, fenced the schoolyard, and built the buildings. The communities come to meetings at the schools and advocate for more school rooms, for libraries, and for access by adults to basic education.
And throughout it all, the professional administrators of the Development and Social Services Commission (DASSC) in Dembi Dollo have guided the project through every difficulty. They not only established schools at Aleku and Gaba Arbi, but they guided and advised three other communities to develop their own schools built on the EREP model. And DASSC works tirelessly with other communities throughout Western Wollega who want to open their own schools.
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