Supporting SENTigray

Our visits to Mekele these days are (almost) all about supporting SENTigray in the work it does, and this year trustees and friends of SENEthiopia have travelled to Mekele four times.   Each journey is an adventure, and during the fortnight (on average) we pack in as much work as we can, often evenings and weekends included, and return exhausted.  The last three visits were mainly aimed at helping SENTigray produce a Feasibility Study (requested by the donor for the PEEK Project), and after a large spread of work that’s now ready to go.  For an account of it click here.

Talking Textbooks

Our previous major project, which has been keeping one of SENTigray’s project managers occupied full time, is the provision of recorded textbooks to blind children throughout Tigray region, an area two-and-a-half times the size of Wales, but a great deal more difficult to access.  The MP3 players we use are no larger than a smartphone, and hold a whole year’s textbooks.  Blind children who previously had no direct access to textbooks, and relied on memory or friends, are suddenly on a par with their sighted colleagues, and equality of opportunity is restored, one of our principal objectives.   To read more of what Abel, the project manager, has been doing, click here.

Mekele Boarding School for the Blind

The Blind School, as we know it, is what brought the plight of SEN children in Ethiopia to our attention in the first place.   Although it is now a very different (and improving) place from when Ian Draper, our founder, discovered it in 2004, it still has a way to go before its facilities match those in similar but privately funded and run operations.   However, it has been declared a Special School by the regional government at the end of last year, and a board of Trustees has been convened to implement the improvements that the government recognises are necessary.  Ethiopia’s government has had a difficult time this year, with a State of Emergency, and much of its parliament being replaced, and this has had a ripple-down effect, causing delays to much day-to-day business; no doubt similar to Brexit!   But Masho, SENTigray’s Executive Director, has been appointed to the Blind School’s board, so our links to it will be firmly maintained.   For updates to this story, click here.