SENEthiopia is a UK based charity that was created in 2004 by concerned individuals with the aim of supporting children in northern Ethiopia who are classified as having special educational needs (SEN). Unfortunately, in Ethiopia, only 1% of children with SEN have access to specialised education and are often disregarded by society. SENEthiopia seeks to change this mentality and advocate for these students who have little or no voice of their own, and who, without support, have little chance to show their ability.
This organization firmly believes that every child deserves to receive a primary and secondary education. It should be the inalienable right of every child to obtain an education to the maximum or his or her ability, despite any physical or mental handicap.
Thus far, SENEthiopia has concentrated its efforts at the Mekelle School for the Blind. When Ian Draper, SENEthiopia’s Founder, first visited the school it was a bleak, soundless place which brought many early visitors to tears. There were 160 children, often hundreds of kilometres from home, ranging in age from 5 to 18 living in desperate conditions. SENEthiopia started with a very small group of loyal supporters raising small amounts of money to improve the children’s lives. Over the years SENEthiopia has been able to contribute a kitchen, shower block, games, and other learning resources to the school.
Today, SENEthiopia is working to expand its work. The Mekelle School for the Blind has seen many improvements over the past years and we want to extend our outreach to other students and children in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. We now have a sister organization based in Tigray called SENTigray, that embodies the same vision and goals as SENEthiopia.