Sebatamit Elementary School
Sebatamit is a farming community where annual per capita income is roughly $200. About 22 years ago, villagers built an elementary school exclusively from community cash contributions to accommodate a growing student population that would otherwise have to travel 7 kilometers to the nearest school in Bahir Dar. All the buildings were made of mud block without any foundation, doors, or windows. The dusty floors forced teachers to cancel the last two classes every Friday afternoon to enable students to plaster them with fresh cow dung. In 2015, FGCF’s first project was to demolish those old buildings, replace them with new cement block ones, and apply our holistic model to Sebatamit’s education program.
The teacher training program is ongoing, as is the greening program. The orchards and vegetable gardens are beginning to fluorish, particularly the strawberry plants, and the planted tree canopies are providing shade to classrooms. A wide selection of vegetables are planted and cared by students as part of their classroom curriculum. Water is now being pumped from the nearby river into a 20,000 litre water tank, providing irrigation for the gardens and trees, and for wash basins in the schoolyard. FGCF is helping to develop curricula to incorporate the agricultural program into their class lessons.
Sebatamit has had a very successful sanitation and hygiene program. Students who took the workshop have taken the lead in educating other students as well as their own families on the areas of good hygiene. An active health club has been formed. The teacher training program has also been very successful: improvements in teaching methods, attitudes, and academic results have been noted. The turnover rate of teachers at this school is higher than we would like. We are being careful to select teachers for our workshops who we believe will be in the school for at least a few years, although we take comfort in the fact that our training will extend throughout the region beyond just our own schools as trained teachers move about. As mentioned above, the greening program has been enormously successful.