Completed Kindergarten Building at Walaj School

 

The proposal to create a rural kindergarten program in Saina Sabia village (kebele ) came from the village’s leadership in 2016 because of their interest in early childhood education. After a two-year palnning effort, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa awarded a $12,000 grant to Link Ethiopia, one of CSCA-Gondar’s nonprofit partners, to create a first-ever kindergarten program in a rural village (kebele) on the outskirts of Gondar. The grant was matched with over $10,000 from Corvallis-area donors.  Link Ethiopia, CSCA-Gondar, kebele leaders and the Gondar Ministry of Education formed a unique partnership to create a curriculum, train teachers, construct classrooms and provide furnishings for the program. The kindergarten was also one of the first to encourage participation by students with a variety of disabilities. Classes began in late Fall of 2019.

To celebrate the opening of this program, a delegation from Corvallis, Oregon departed for Gondar, Ethiopia in October, 2019!  They actively met with Gondar’s community leaders, in an effort to strengthen the Sister City relationship between the two cities.  The focus of this delegation was the dedication of the new Kindergarten at Walaj School, collaboration with the teachers and students in Gondar, and development of a Sister School relationship between Wilson School (Corvallis) and Walaj School (Gondar).  This delegation included two educators from Wilson Elementary School, two high schools from Corvallis High, one college student from Oregon State University, four retired Corvallis educators, and a representative from World’s Children.

Also having made the journey to Gondar were 11 suitcases of donations: Bi-lingual (Amharic and English) books illustrated by the Wilson School 5th graders, over 500 friendship bracelets made by Wilson students and a photo book about Wilson students, other sets of donated books, 10 laptops donated by OSU, various school supplies, 24 soccer balls and 2 hand pumps, soccer jerseys, frisbees, back packs, and children’s clothing.

We are excited to learn how the new kindergarten will help to advance early childhood education in Gondar and how we can continue to partner with the people of Gondar through various shared projects and pursuits.

To read more about our Kindergarten Project, including teacher training, funding, construction, and our partnership with Link Ethiopia, click here.

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