Feed a child’s ambition this Autumn
Posted by Natacha Soto on Monday 19th September 2016
As a mum, I know that getting ready for the new school year is an essential part of any family’s calendar. New uniform, stationery, shoes and bags help our children feel prepared for their September start and mark an end to the summer holidays. For many families in Ireland, the only choice we face for feeding our children at school is whether they have school dinners or a packed lunch. Impoverished children in Ethiopia simply do not have the luxury of a choice.
I would like to tell you about 10 year old Tirualem –a young girl who is a student at one of the schools run by our local partner, HOPE Enterprises. Tirualem’s father died when she was two, and her mother struggles to provide for her four children’s basic needs, which includes sending her daughter to school with lunch. Most of the time Tirualem’s friends would share their food with her, however when they weren’t able to come to school she faced the day’s classes with an empty stomach. Tirualem’s severe hunger clouded her mind and affected her concentration as she struggled to listen to her teachers and complete her work.
Thanks to supporters like you, Tirualem has benefitted from a new school feeding project that was piloted last September in her school. Now she receives a daily lunchtime sandwich, which staves off hunger and enables her to concentrate in the afternoon. During a recent visit to Ethiopia, Tirualem told us: “The programme helps me, and now I do not get hungry. I can also pay attention to my teachers.” Tirualem has a great hunger for learning. It has helped to keep her in school, and she recently finished her term 5th highest out of her class of 56 students. Without Ethiopiaid’s vital intervention, girls like Tirualem would have to drop out of school and watch their dreams for the future fade away.
Sadly, her story isn't unique.
The challenges facing children who want to go to school are high. 80% of Ethiopian people survive on less than $2 a day, which means there is no money for food, shoes, school books or fees. According to UNICEF, only 10% of girls in Ethiopia are in school. On average, an educated Ethiopian child will only go to school for 7 years and only 52% will complete primary school (World Bank statistics). That is why we need your help.
Thanks to your support, the ambition of students like Tirualem don’t need to be drowned out by the sounds of rumbling stomachs, or blurred by the tiredness that comes from a lack of food or sickness. Help us to reach out to more hungry school children.
As parents and grandparents, we are full of hope at the beginning of a new school year. That hope is part of the universal language of parenting because all children deserve the opportunity to feed and nurture their own ambitions.
It’s because of you that children like Tirualem are able to concentrate in school. Tirualem is immensely grateful to all those sponsors who made it possible for her to get food at all. “The food support really helps. I hope it will continue next year. It would be great, if possible, to have two meals per day.”
Last year we helped to support over 800 vulnerable children to stay in school by providing them with a nutritious meal every day to improve their well-being and help them to fulfill their potential. So please, do something wonderful today for school children and consider a gift of €50. Help us to feed their stomachs, so that together we can feed their ambition –empowering young people to change their own lives, and those of their future children.
As ever, I am grateful for your kind support of Ethiopiaid, and I hope you will feel able to join me in helping more children like Tirualem.