On 20 October 2012, A-CET celebrated 15 years of educational support work in Ethiopia. A-CET, through its local charity partner Ethiopian Youth Educational Support (EYES), has built, furnished and installed electricity in eight village community full elementary schools Grades 1 to 8 for the Government in the rural areas surrounding the Tigray Regional capital. These are providing additional free school places for over 5,000 children on one shift. Additionally two schools have solar-powered computer training laboratories.
A-CET also has had over 200 students on scholarships that have graduated - all now in gainful employment or self-employment. Currently A-CET has a further 200 students on full long-term scholarships, a third of whom are now already in tertiary/higher education. All our students are orphans, the abandoned or disabled and selected for their needs. Without our help none would be able to continue their education.
At the celebration, academic prizes were awarded by Guest of Honour and long term supporter Mr Marco Oehlenschalger, Rector of Coornhert Gymnasium at Gouda in the Netherlands. These awards went to over 20 high achieving students for the academic years 2010/11 and 2011/12. Over half the award winners are registered disabled.
After the presentation an entertainment, including cultrural dancing and acrobatics, was provided by the ever verstaltile, vibrant EYES Circus & Band, a voluntary group composed of 40 of EYES full-time students resident in Mekelle City where we are based.
Education is a very long-term commitment and it is probably only now after 15 years that we are beginning to really see the full fruits of our support. A-CET is an independent relatively small but high achieving charity with no paid staff in the UK. EYES in Ethiopia is run by only four of our graduated students, so our overheads are minimal. But we desperately need more donors to support our literally life-changing work. We believe our impact is incredible & far outweighs our relatively modest inputs. Please help support us.
The event was attended by some student family members and a number of high ranking government officials with whom we work and organized by EYES CEO Bisrat Mesfin.
23 April 2012
On Sat 21 Apr 2012 Mr Gobezay Woldearegay, Head of Tigray Bureau of Education officially opened Ziban Albe Complete Elementary School at Hiwane in the Tigray Region of Northern Ethiopia. This school with 20 new fully furnished classrooms, a 25 station solar powered computer training laboratory plus dry latrines can now accommodate over 2,500 students in two shifts. Mains electricity and water are also installed.
Over two thousand dignitaires and local people attended a colourful three hour long ceremony and after were entertained by a dazzling display by the EYES Circus, a voluntary student club.
This school is the seventh rural elementary school built since 2006 by EYES, A-CET's local implementing partner with plans already to build an eighth at nearby Metego bringing quality educational facilites closer to village children.
9 April 2012
25 solar powered computers designed and constructed by Charles Watson of Solar Leap (a US charity) and installed by Ethiopian charity Solarenergie in the new complete elementary school at Ziban Albe, Hiwane in Northern Ethiopia by A-CET's Ethiopian partner EYES.
23 March 2012
Working in preparation for 21 April school opening. Images of a classroom interior, the classroom buildings, and latrines.
7 March 2012
18/19 February 2012 was the 37th anniversary of the founding of the liberation movement TPLF (Tigray People Liberation Front) which after 18 years freed Ethiopia from the tyranny of Mengistu's Marxist regime and heralded a new birth of democracy and freedom for Ethiopia.
As part of the celebrations, Circus EYES dramatized the TPLF story in an exciting short drama. Written and choreographed by Circus Leader 4th year Architecture undergraduate Haftom Kahsay Kassa, this was much acclaimed by all as a vivid representation of living history. Additionally excerpts were screened on local ETV.
This was followed by over an hour of circus with many new acts and first time young performers, followed by another hour of cultural singing, dancing and music from the different nations within the country. For this show to celebrate the growing popularity of our free public shows, all the Band and Circus members had new locally designed and made suits and costumes. Audience participation is 100%, particularly amongst those sometimes mentally challenged and those abandoned "street" children - all keen to act out their own dancing or acrobatics in front of the stage. We believe that this is "theatre" at its best and most original
All Circus and Band members are active full-time, part-time mature students or graduated students and play an active role in all aspects of their own shows. Their dedication and ceaseless practicing to achieve perfection is astounding. The family atmosphere engendered during rehearsals provides strength and comfort to all, particularly those of our orphans or abandoned children.
To see a video of the event, click here.7 February 2012
With about ten weeks to go for the official opening the all the classroom buildings are now fully roofed with floor and ceiling tiles plus windows & doors about to be installed. The dry latrine blocks will be roofed in a few weeks.
Prices have been obtained for the basic furniture and a contract will be let shortly.
The solar computers have arrived in AA and the solar installers are ready to start work immediately we receive the kits. The mains electricity internal wiring contract is ready to be let and we are confident we will have something of an excellent standard for the 21 April official opening ceremony.
27 January 2012
Formerly an A-CET student and currently an advocate and trustee, Sammy Assefa joined the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Malaria Team to pursue his PhD, studying the malaria genome. Sammy currently features in this feature article.
The Sanger Institue website5 December 2011
Birhan Woldu became one of the most recognized faces of the late 20th century when the skeletal image of her as a three-year old child was used at the end of 'Live Aid' to globally publicize famine in Africa. Now Birhan has a child of her own. Read more here, or purchase the book Feed The World: Birhan Woldu And Live Aid, by Oliver Harvey All author's profits from the book, Feed The World: Birhan Woldu And Live Aid, will be split equally between Birhan and the African Children's Educational Trust.
Birhan Woldu cradles baby Claire23 October 2011
Progress to date on construction 5 classroom blocks.
7 October 2011
The 2011 A-CET magazine is available for download in PDF format. Click here to download it.28 September 2011
On 28 Sep A-CET received the national award in the Haymarket Third Sector “Small Charities – Big Achiever” category of Highly Commended for its work in the year 2010/11 for completing two full elementary schools and installing solar electricity in three schools and mains electricity in two more – totally now supporting over 5,000 vulnerable youngsters who would otherwise not had access to education. Last year A-CET won this award.
29 August 2011
A party of over 30 students from the EYES Circus & Band visited the ancient town of Lalibela, world famous for its 11 historic rock hewn churches during the festival of Ashenda. Ashenda is a sort of women's liberation event. After visiting all the historic sites they put on three two hour highly professional free shows integrated with the local circus in the World Cultural Centre Theatre which was attended by thousands of wowed and inspired local residents with the Mayor as our Guest of Honour. The show demonstrated team work, hours of practice and much increased self-confidence amongst our group, all principally full-time students. Lalibela will not forget us in a hurry, neither will our students to whom Lalibela is revered as a place of pilgramage. This was our first such show away from Mekelle and hopefully a precursor of many more.
17 August 2011
Birhan Woldu became one of the most recognized faces and forms of the late 20th century when her skeletal image was used at the end of 'Live Aid' to globally publicize famine in Africa. Although 'Live Aid', led by musicians such as Sir Bob Geldof and Bono, raised millions for famine relief, most people thought Birhan was dead until she was 'rediscovered' by a Canadian film crew who helped fund her schooling and helped change her life.
Ziban Albe (Hilltop) Full Elementary School currently has over 1,200 students from Grades 0 (pre-school) to 8, attending in dangerous dilapidated twig and mud buildings sparsely and inadequately furnished. Continuing our policy of bringing easier closer access to free better quality free education to all in the country, this will be A-CET's seventh rural community project to date. The project will include 20 new classrooms in five blocks plus one dedicated 25 station solar powered computer training laboratory. The entire school will be fully furnished with basic local made furniture and we will be installing mains grid electricity throughout to enable full utilisation of the buildings and allowing evening classes to be run. The work will be done by a local contractor using community labour and supervised by our well-established local implementing charity partner EYES. Weather, site access and availability of local materials permitting, this project should take about eight months and be ready for handover and opening after the Ethiopian Christmas in January 2012. When completed the school capacity will be over 3,000 students. The overall cost will be over £210,000 (or US $ 330,000) - our biggest project to date and will have a profound positive impact on the entire community.
On 11th June 2010 the Mayor of Mekelle HE Nigusse Gebre laid the foundation stone accompanied by Professor Mitiku, President of Mekelle University, the Regional Deputy Head of Education, Ato Reda the local Administrator, many distinguished guests and thousands from the local community. Both local and regional media gave us full positive exposure.
The school is managed by the government who provide the teachers and running costs whilst the community will maintain the school and provide the security. This project will be funded principally by the Band Aid Trust supported by the Aall and Herrod Foundations and SolarLeap will provide the computers and installation which is privately funded.
If you want to help we have further school projects in the pipeline and are looking for financial supporters.11 May 2011
Amatulla Sadikot a nine year grade four student at Leicester Junior Girls High School (LGHS) was so inpsired by a visit from our ex- student now Nurse Birhan Woldu and others last year, that she swam a sponsored mile and raised £ 1,167 for A-CET. A wonderful achievement. Next year she promises to run for us! LGHS has been supporting A-CET for over five years now and we really appreciate their help.8 May 2011
Following David's recent visit to Ethiopia we are happy to announce that we are now installing electric light in five of our six rural schools. Two will have mains grid electricity and three, isolated and far from the grid, are getting solar lighting with radio power points. This will enable all schools to run evening classes for those students unable to attend day school. But then David's Ethiopian name is “Teklebrhan” - which means bringer of light!31 January 2011
Charles Watson designed these solar powered computers and has installed them in Nepal, Indiia and Ghana but the first to be installed in Ethiopia was at Gumselasa School in Tigray, North Ethiopia. This lab with 15 computers was officially opened to much acclaim on 31 Jan 2011 in the presence of local officials, teachers and students plus the media. The project, costing US $ 10,000 was funded by the CLSA Chairman's Trust, a Hong Kong Bank. After 3 months it is proving so popular we are unable to meet the demand for computer training, the digital age has really arrived in the remotest places in Ethiopia.
Young student's first exposure to their future in a computer age
Solarleap designer Charles Watson explains his vision to Bisrat Mesfin & guests
Opening ceremony with Charles Watson & EYES Manager Bisrat 31 Jan 201119 December 2010
On 19 Dec 2010 EYES Patron Dr Kassa with Manager Bisrat for the second time collected a top award for services to education and received the Regional Presidential Certificate for“enhancing access, equity and quality of education in the state of Tigray”
EYES Patron Dr Kassa with Manager Bisrat Mesfin holding the Award22 November 2010
An inspirational story of how one man's passion has positively affected so many young Ethiopian lives. This book is now on sale direct from A-CET @ £10 (plus £2 post & packing in UK, £3 EU or £6 by air rest of world), or from Amazon. Signed copies with dedication by David firstname.lastname@example.org on request. All proceeds go to A-CET.
Sir Bob Geldof writes: “David Stables is a heroic man. A council flat and state pensioner existence here in the UK. In Africa the tireless entrepreneurial godfather to countless bettered lives”
“I read this book with great interest and increasing amazement at your range of roles undertaken in so many countries. I hadn’t appreciated the tense and dangerous situations encountered and can now understand much more what led you to get involved in educational support and set up A-CET. Not an easy book to write; I thought the balance struck between the personal story and commenting on the wider context was very good. The humorous stories were great and in no way detracted from the grim situations being addressed. An excellent read” - Margaret E Goose.
27 October 2010
Adibaekel Full Elementary School, funded primarily by the Aall Foundation, was opened by Steven Georgala on 26 Sep 2010 and Dansa Full Elementary School was opened by the main funders from the Netherlands Coornhert Gymnasium Rector Marco Oehenschlager & Colette Vester on 17 Oct 2010, Both these schools have eight basically furnished classrooms for eight grades and ancillary buildings. Building upgraded schools in isolated rural villages where they are needed saw a doubling in school registrations this year. Dansa school was our sixth school to be completed in five years. These schools are built with local materials using local labour and will be maintained by the community and staffed by the Bureau of Education - so are effectively self supporting from day one.
See a video of the Dansa school opening.23 September 2010
At a glittering ceremony held in London on 23 Sep local Leicester-based charity African Children’s Educational Trust (A-CET), competing against hundreds of other UK charities wins the prestigious Third Sector award in the “Small Charity Big Achiever” category.
A-CET was founded in 1997 and is run entirely by dedicated volunteers. Working through Ethiopian partners, A-CET offers modest long-term scholarships to orphans, the abandoned, disabled, vulnerable and disabled youngsters. Working with through local farming communities it also helps upgrade rural elementary schools – changing the lives of now over 3,000 youngsters in the Tigray Region of Northern Ethiopia, the epicentre of the previous 1984/85 famines.
On receiving this award founding chairman and CEO David Stables said “This national recognition for what we are doing is a real boost to our efforts and will motivate us to do more. But thanks to all our supporters, without which we could do nothing”.
All A-CET students are obtaining gainful employment or self-employment within six months of graduating and are helping to develop themselves, their families and their communities. A-CET aims to educate Ethiopians so that they can develop Ethiopia. A-CET believes that education is the best way out of poverty.
Third Sector awards ceremony19 June 2010
The new four classroom block for the Abinet School attached to St Michael's Church, Mekelle was dedicated by Abba Paulos V, the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on 19 June 2010. Built and fuirnished principally through Band Aid Trust support, these classrooms are for the education over 100 church boys who have dedicated their lives to service in the church. Most boys are orphans, abandoned or are disabled.15 March 2010
EYES received a well-deserved award for Ethiopia and a US $ 1,000 prize from “Educating Africa/Teach A Man to Fish” charity for its self-sustaining schools projects. Congratulations to EYES and Manager Bisrat Mesfin and his staff.31 December 2009
We are proud that Trustee Claire Bertschinger has been appointed Dame Commander in the 2010 New Years Honours List. During the Ethiopian famine of 1984 Claire was the Red Cross Nurse working in Mekelle, Tigray with limited resources who had to make the life and death decision which children to “save”. Following Michael Buerk's BBC documentary, Bob Geldof was moved to launch Band and later Live Aid, raising over £150m and arguably saving millions of lives.
Claire is currently the Tropical Nursing Course Director at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, having trained well over 800 nurses for overseas work. Claire continues to be passionately and actively committed to issues in the developing world through nursing and education.
Claire’s determined character and particularly to nursing manifested early on as she overcame initial difficulties, as an undiagnosed dyslexic, in both getting accepted and qualifying as a Nurse.
Her background for her current work has been a lifetime of professional overseas work as a nurse and medic. Initially she worked with the Scientific Exploration Society, being awarded their Bish Medal (1985). Claire was awarded the prestigious Red Cross Florence Nightingale Medal in recognition of her work in conflict zones (1991).
Claire has written her autobiography a graphic but touchingly humourous chronicle of her traumatic life “Moving Mountains” Recently reprinted in a Bantam paperback @ £9.99 (Transworld Publishers 2005 ISBN 978-0-552-82582-4), with a share of the royalties donated to A-CET. Click here for further information.
Claire was awarded Woman of the Year 2005 Window to the World award. In 2007 Claire received the International Human Rights and Nursing Award. Claire also holds a Masters in Medical Anthropology and Honorary Doctorate from Brunel University.
Claire is a woman of vision, insight and altruistic spirit. She is a quiet yet powerful and a truly motivational figure; an inspiration to all she comes in contact with. She acts as our Ambassador, traveling tirelessly overseas in support of fund and awareness raising.
25 years later Claire continues her dedication to humanitarian work.
Trustees Claire with Sammy after Palace Investiture by HM Queen 2 Jun 1024 November 2009
At an impressive ceremony attended by the Regional President, government officials, visiting international officials with Band Aid Trustees and supporters, Sir Bob Geldof opened Hagere Selam Full Elementary School on 24 November 2009.
This school accommodates 500 children from Grades 1 to 8.
Sir Bob said this was the best school he had seen - ever and that our band's rendering of “Do they know it's Christmas” better than the real thing.
This was a truly inspirational visit for us all and we are indebted to Band Aid's support and Sir Bob in his busy schedule to take time to visit us.
Twelve students were awarded plaques to mark their high academic achievements in 2009. Mr Desta Abera, Secretary to the Regional Bureau of Education, a stalwart supporter of EYES since its inception, in presenting the awards, praised the students and also the high quality of those rural schools we are building “for generations to come”.
Bisrat Mesfin, Manager of EYES, congratulated the students academic records whilst reminding them to not neglect personal qualities of selflessness in helping others.
School Directors, Church representatives, students’ families and members of the press were present at a well attended ceremony which included refreshments & entertainment
Students receiving awards were:
89 Medhin Weldu Awaiting University, 125 Gigi Gebrehiwot Awaiting University, 152 Giday Gebrehiwot 1st Grade 8 to 9, 153 Mulu Gebrehiwot 1st Grade 5 to 6, 156 Ezana Asfaw BSc Electrical Engineering GPA 3.72, 165 Dimtse Haile 1st Grade 8 to 9, 246 Kokob Mezgebe 2nd year undergraduate BSc Civil Engineering GPA 3.53, 250 Tesfu Gebretsadik 1st Grade 8 to 9, 261 Mogos Solomon 1st Grade 4 to 5 (Adigudom), 296 Mebrahtu Belay 1st Grade 7 to 8 (Fikre Alem), 329 Habtamu Ayalew BSc Computer Science GPA 3.11 (unable to be present), 335 Haftamu Dimstu 1st Grade 10 to pre-university.
Award winners included three girls, two disabled and three from rural schools - proving that with support, encouragement and opportunity, all have the ability to higher aspirations and succeed, whatever their background or status.
Award Winners with Desta Abera, Education Officer and Bisrat Mesfin, EYES Manager3 August 2009
A key way we operate in Ethiopia is through active cooperation with all local organizations. We deeply value this important support and EYES Manager Bisrat Mesfin held a small but well attended ceremony on 1 August to honour six of our supporters.
Mr Zenebe Education Officer receives award from Presidential Advisor Mr Zemichael6 May 2009
This school was completed on time and on budget. It was officially opened and dedicated on Sunday 26 April 2009 by His Excellency Ambassador Dr Kassa Gebrehiwot, Commissioner for Human Rights amidst much acclaim as a “model” and standard for all others to follow.
Dr Kassa stated “The significance of education is not only in helping our country to do away with poverty, but to bring good governance and it also furthers children's rights to education”.
Gumselasa School Dedication 26 Apr 2009 by HE Ambassador Dr Kassa Gebrehiwot
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