Everywhere, modern customs have been at odds with traditional ones throughout much of recent times. This continues to be true in Ethiopia. All over Ethiopia, tribal nations that lived for years have had to adapt, or fear extinction. Some, however, are able to link that bridge through time to create opportunities for excellence. Father Tesema, and the Dawn of Hope in Bahir Dar, has been that link.
The Negedewoyito tribe is one with great history, however is discriminated upon greatly within Ethiopian society. Father Tesema, realizing the rejection and struggles that this community faced, started introducing himself and gaining trust within this group. He recognized the educational needs of the community, started visiting and building a bridge with them to address this need. At such time, the Dawn of Hope School was created. The need was there; Father Tesema needed to find a partner who believed in the visitation that all children need to be educated as he did. This is where Brittany’s Hope was able to meet that need.
Through a pledge of financial support, the Dawn of Hope was able to seek out one child from each family to educate. Using the Montessori Method, these children come every day to a place where they gain proper nutrition, access to the outside world, and a sense of community. As the program grew, so did the Dawn of Hope’s needs; administration expenses, a dilapidated building, lack of clean clothes for the children. Our staff challenged the director to find alternative ways to tackle these issues, rather than relying solely on Brittany’s Hope. Not only did the Director face this task head on, he went above and beyond to be creative in the use of what he had. A true partnership was established, where Brittany’s Hope was able to lay the foundation for this amazing school to expand and develop. It is simply exhilarating to watch this partnership bloom, and see the impact that food, staff, and encouragement can make on not only the children of the Negedewoyito tribe, but also the community around them.
Today, the students at the Dawn of Hope sit on their play mats, in brand new buildings. By laying the foundation of nutrition, safety, and basic human needs, the Director has been able to expand his message to show others how this community is growing, learning, and has a bright future. Recently, Brittany’s Hope was able to provide the funding for new uniforms for each and every one of the 150 children learning at the center. The joy on these children’s face as Brittany’s Hope staff passed out these clothes to them was priceless, and the skipping, jumping, and shouts of glee that passed afterward with friends showed just how far this group has come. The pride gleamed on Father Tesema’s face secured in our staff’s mind the hard work, and good work, that this partnership is doing. When the children returned to their classrooms, our staff knew that their ongoing need for desks, books for their library, and playground equipment would be tackled with the same kind of thoughtful enterprising from this partnership as it always had before.