Bekoji town is several hours drive south from Addis Ababa in the lush Ethiopian highlands. A Chinese built road runs through the town, the donkeys, horses and carts more suited to the unpaved side streets that are lined with simple built shacks or timber framed mud houses.
Bethany school sits half a mile or so from the main road on the side of a gently sloping hill with views over beautiful green foothills toward distant mountains. The school is simply built with two long single story buildings facing each other across a grassy play area. The art teacher has painted educational murals on the side of the school adding a colourful lift to the bare block exterior.
The schoolchildren are happy in their well-worn but smart uniforms. They are the lucky ones in Bekoji where half the under 12s have no formal education. They write very neatly in their text books to conserve valuable space. Each child so keen to learn, so keen to grab hold of the opportunity for education that they’ve been given.
Bethany school is a credit to those who work hard to make a positive difference. It has made such a considerable contribution to the whole community in Bekoji that the Ethiopian charity inspector suggested that over 2,000 people benefit from the school in one way or another.
That a small charity, supported by those that have given money directly, or who have sponsored one of the school children, can do so much is quite extraordinary.