What follows are short cameos of a few of our hundreds of scholarship students.
All students are selected on basis of need and vulnerability by our Ethiopian partners EYES, oftren through local agencies similar to our Social Services, the EDucation Bureau or the Orthopaedic and Phsyiotherapy Centre.
From selection throughout support, we aim not to be judgmental. Whilst there may be cases of parental/family irresponsibility, what do we know their pressures? Should children suffer for their elders lack of love or care? We have few fathers, and some who are there suffer acute behavioural problems often due to maltreatment whilst imprisoned during the Marxist regime. Cultural norms may not be ours, but we do not consider it for us to criticise.
Young boys and girls often work as street traders, shoe-cleaners or lottery sellers to help pay for their (and their whole family’s) upkeep & school costs. With no room, life on the streets is not easy. Few choose to become street children, it has its own stigma. Experience has taught us that sadly long-term street children are very difficult to help; are often damaged beyond our capacity to assist.
We still have unsponsored students needing sponsors. (see Student LIst)
All our children locally selected children are often abandoned, orphans and/or disabled with little or no support. From experience and as general policy we do not accept children selected from any other sources. For more information, please go to our web-site's FAQ.
As you read this, try not to be angry or upset; these are all true stories and may touch your heart. But these youngsters are strong and not looking for sympathy, only that fair chance which we try to give through our care and continued educational support. Each student is an individual, none are “typical”, yet their one common factor is that each of them, but for their A-CET scholarship, would most likely have left full-time education for an uncertain bleak future of continuing poverty and exposure to possible exploitation. We know what our scholarships achieve - is to radically change these youngsters lives. A-CET support gives them a sense of self-worth, and hope for a better brighter self-sufficient future. Ethiopians are not afraid of hard work, are inherently intelligent and have enquiring minds.
When young students are registered with the Ethiopian Youth Educational Support (EYES, A-CET’s Ethiopian partner charity) for a long-term scholarship, they have come from very damaged lives. Often traumatized and certainly suspicious; they are insecure, hungry, shabbily dressed and often, if not physically, then emotionally beaten. Disabled students (about 20% of our total) will certainly have experienced discrimination. Some have no homes or families, some have been abandoned and some have run away from violence, exploitation or worse. But they will all have two common factors, one is vulnerability and the other is a desire to become educated. To rehabilitate a youngster back into their community and restore their self confidence takes a long time and most of our students are with us for over ten years. We do not see it as our job to initially interrogate a youngster as to their background which we accept on their recommendation to us. Newly registered students may embellish their stories to gain scholarship acceptance or, more often, their past could be too painful to recall. We see our job to gain their acceptance, give them love and care by fostering a sense of belonging and family but above all, over the years, to listen. In that time by just being there and gaining their trust we learn much about their background.
Education is not just for education's sdake - a Diploma or Degree can be after all just a piece of paper on the wall. At A-CET /EYES we try to ensure that the education they receive fits them for available and useful employment or often self-employment.. For that our programmes need to be fully integrated with Government's job creation and development porogrammes in a safe environmenmt conducive to the population's aspirations. This ensures that students are happy to stay in the country and not seek unrealistic dream fortunes overseas! So far it seems to be working well.
Following are some student cameos:
See how to help for more options.)