Updated: Dec 28, 2022
As we all witnessed firsthand, pandemic shutdowns were devastating for students worldwide. A study conducted with primary school pupils in Ethiopia shows that the pandemic had “severely ruptured” the social and emotional development of some of the world’s poorest children, as well as their academic progress. The added trauma of having no academics at all – virtual schooling is impossible in a country where many families do not have electricity – further complicated the ability for children to remain on course in their education. And because Ethiopia had been suffering civil war and unprecedented droughts, many families relocated to be further from armed conflict, or closer to more reliable water sources. Through these factors, Ethiopia experienced a school dropout rate of 13% after pandemic shutdowns lifted and schools reopened.
Several months after the country-wide lockdowns began, the Ethiopian government allowed small gatherings in open air spaces. Lelt Foundation’s team opened our community center to pods of students who rotated in and out of newly designated outdoor classrooms. In this setting, we were able to closely monitor students to determine if they were at risk of not returning to school. This risk is greater for older students, who are closer to the age to work or wed. When Lelt recognized that several of these students were struggling in their studies, we expanded our vocational scholarship program. In the beginning of 2022, eight students receiving a Lelt scholarship graduated from this program. These students would not have had the resources to attend continuing schools, and would have likely left school altogether. Most of these graduates have already started to work in their trained industry, and several are in internships. This year, there are 28 students in university, college, and vocational schools who are recipients of Lelt scholarships, and more than 200 with primary- and secondary- school scholarships. This opportunity wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of Lelt’s donors. To read more about our Scholarship Program, click here.