Dallmayr builds a school in Ethiopia

Dallmayr is teaming up with the “Menschen für Menschen” foundation to build a school in Ethiopia. With each purchase of Dallmayr Ethiopia coffee, you are helping to fund this building project.

A new school for Kekero Jibat:
a village looks to the future

Dear readers,

Bhuebos bona! Hello and welcome to Kekero Jibat. Today, the grandmothers are cooking, people have got out their most colourful clothes, and everyone is excited about the evening’s festivities. After all, building is about to begin on the Kekero Jibat Primary High School, and that calls for a celebration!

Construction of the new school is being financed by Dallmayr. From now on, we’ll be reporting from the school with Gemachu (12), Helina (6) and Urge (7). Together with more than 700 other children, the three pupils currently attend the old school in the village, around 200 km south-west of Addis Ababa.

The building was originally constructed using straw, wood and clay. It has small openings for windows, and large parts of the walls are crumbling after being infested by termites.

The new school, which will be built in partnership with the “Menschen für Menschen” foundation, aims to give families a better future. This matter is very close to Dallmayr’s heart. After all, coffee has been grown in Ethiopia for decades, and Dallmayr has been in contact with families there for several generations.


Hard work by hand: digging the foundations, step by step

The building site is currently the topic of conversation in Kekero. Everyone in the village likes to pop by to see how things are going. However, it will be a while before they notice the first signs of progress. After all, only a limited range of construction equipment is available due to difficult transport conditions. In Kekero Jibat, people are working with their bare hands and only a few tools. The workers, who all live in the region, have begun by digging a large hole in the ground and taking the earth away using long stretchers known as “barillas”.

Six-year-old Helina was one of many people at the site to watch workers breaking ground for the new building. “We’re very excited,” she says. “Due to the long rainy season, we had to wait a long time until we could finally get started.” Now, she is very much looking forward to the new classrooms. Helina takes us to her old classroom: “It really is time we got a new school,” she explains.

Helina’s parents work in the neighbouring village, on the coffee plantation where her grandparents and great-grandparents also earned their living. For more than 50 years, Dallmayr has been the largest buyer of washed arabica coffee in Ethiopia. The family is proud that Dallmayr is now funding the construction of a new school. “It makes us feel that our work on the plantation is valued,” says Helina’s father.

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen

building site

More light, more books: new school will deliver much-needed progress

Urge takes us into her current classroom. “We’ve got English class right now,” the seven-year-old whispers. More than 60 pupils are cramped together in the room, with one textbook for every five children. With only small openings for windows, there isn’t much light in the classroom. The air is so stuffy that many children suffer from chronic respiratory diseases.


Urge’s teacher Korani Fininsa (28) is standing at the blackboard. It is amazingly quiet — the children are listening intently to her every word. After class, Korani Fininsa sighs. “I’d love to offer the pupils better conditions,” she says. “We don’t have any space, any electricity and not nearly enough staff.”

When the young teacher heard about a new school being built of solid concrete with large windows — and in Kekero Jibat of all places — she could hardly contain her joy. She visits the construction site every single day: “When building is finished in two years, we will have the most modern and advanced school in the region.”

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen

building site

Large rooms at last – the students are looking forward to their new classrooms

Almost a dozen workers show us the progress made on the building site. Everyone is delighted that things are going well. The future classrooms are marked out with stakes, planks and ropes. The first pillars are already in place. The school is taking shape.

Urge and her neighbour Berhane are amazed as they see the outlines of the many rooms: ‘The school will be much bigger than our old one!’. The fact that the building site is right alongside the old school makes the huge difference obvious. A construction worker waves at them cheerfully. It is Berhane’s father: ‘Well? Have you found the place you want to sit, Berhane?’ he laughs.

Urge interrupts excitedly: ‘Look! Back there in the corner on the left is definitely where the bookshelves will go.’ In the current school, there are only a few books available. Space is cramped. This should change with the new school.

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen


Progress is being made: many women are pitching in too

The new school is really beginning to take shape. Gamachu’s mother Nardos (25), who found a job at the building site, is surprised: ‘None of us expected progress to be made so quickly.’ Today, Nardos is moving heavy, long beams around the building site together with other women. These will support the roof. The concrete pillars are in place and brickwork can be seen.

With their backs straight and their heads held high, the women carry the beams one after the other to the building site. They level the ground using spades. It’s hot, but Nardos is barely sweating and the strain doesn’t show on her face. By working at the building site, the young mother not only earns some money – it also gives her a sense of playing an active part in her children’s future. It is perfectly natural that women work here too.

The school’s headmaster inspects the building site on a daily basis too – surrounded by his pupils. ‘They all know what we are working towards here.’ The new school is to serve as the basis for better conditions. ‘A good environment is essential in order to give the children an education,’ he says.

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen


From the brown foundations to a large construction site

Urge passes the construction site each morning on the way to school with her siblings. At the beginning there was digging, the building was set out, and the materials delivered. It seemed that so much still needed to be done. But as time went by, the brown foundations were transformed into a large construction site – and for Urge it became increasingly clear that she would soon be sitting in a new classroom.

The school’s 750 pupils can look forward to several new buildings and spacious classrooms. The foundations are all finished, and the roof beams are in place. “Look,” says Urge. “Last week there was a delivery of trapezoidal sheet metal. That’s for the roofs.”

When we ask Urge how she is so well informed, she laughs. “Everyone here knows all there is to know about the construction site,” she explains. After all, many of the pupils’ parents are involved in the building activities, and not a day goes by without someone talking about the school’s construction. But now Urge has to rush off – her English lesson is about to begin. “Without a doubt my favourite subject,” she grins and quickly shouts: “Bye-bye.”

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen


The aroma of education – progress in Kekero

Teacher Korani Fininsa is there to welcome us at the old school. “Look,” she says, sliding a pile of books towards us. They’re English books – brand new. She picks one up and smells it. “That’s the aroma of education,” she says and smiles. She received dozens of books yesterday – and that’s just the beginning. Once the new school in Kekero is complete, each pupil will have all the schoolbooks they need. Up to now, each book had to be shared by a group of children. But that will soon be a thing of the past.

Lehrerin Korani Fininsa

Korani walks with us to the door and points to the nearby building site. The windows should have already arrived, but there are problems with the delivery. “Some things happen quickly, while others take more time,” Korani says.

The construction site is buzzing with activity. Some workers are mixing plaster, while others are clearing away waste and rubble. Gamachu’s mother Nardos, who works on the building site, beckons us over. “Now the rain can come,” she says, pointing to the roofs. The last trapezoidal roof panel has just been fitted. One and a half years ago, this was just a building pit – but now the goal is well within reach.

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen

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