Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Civil war and the pandemic have devastated Ethiopia through the past 19 months. Political unrest in the north has led to a state of emergency throughout the country, and with only 1.1 percent of Ethiopians vaccinated, Covid continues to ravage the population.
Making matters worse, when families face great challenges, they are often forced to pull their children out of school to help earn wages and support the family. Even after pandemic restrictions were eased and children were allowed to return to school, many did not. According to a report from the National Bank of Ethiopia, the dropout rate in elementary schools reached 17.5 percent this year, the highest in more than a decade.
With this in mind, Lelt approached the summer session differently this year. Our classes met in shifts so children could fulfill work obligations and maintain social distancing. We taught courses in mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies. Students explored their imaginations with music and art classes. They had access to computer courses ranging from Introduction to Business Skills to Computer Programming and Coding. And daily sports let the kids run around, exercise, and just be kids. After sheltering at home for 19 months, physical activity proved a much-needed release.
Civil unrest and the pandemic have devastated Ethiopia, so we needed to approach our summer program differently
Lelt has also been focusing on providing more work opportunities for families who have been financially impacted by the pandemic and civil war. Our directors are creating a collaborative poultry farm where multiple families have a share in the work and a stake in the business. Higher incomes earned through this opportunity can help more children to return to school.
To provide educational programs and employment opportunities to marginalized families in Ethiopia, please sponsor a family.