Äthiopische Kinder lernen in einer Schule

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.

Äthiopische lachende Kinder stehen vor einer bunten Wand und winken

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.

Ein Arbeiter hebt eine Grube aus

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”.

Äthiopische Arbeiter und Arbeiterinnen beim Ausheben der Grube für den Bau einer neuen Schule
Einblick in eine äthiopische Schule mit alten Schulbänken in einem kleinen Klassenzimmer

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

Ansicht auf eine ausgehobene Baustellengrube in Äthiopien
Äthiopische Arbeiter auf der Baustelle der Schule

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.

Junges äthiopisches Mädchen
Einblick in ein Klassenzimmer einer äthiopischen Schule mit unterrichtender Lehrerin vor vielen Schülern

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

Äthiopische Bauarbeiter arbeiten auf der Baustelle der neuen Schule
Lächelndes äthiopisches Mädchen

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.

Äthiopische Arbeiterinnen helfen beim Bau der Schule
Ein äthiopischer Arbeiter verdichtet den Boden der Schulbaustelle

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

Ein Lehrer unterrichtet vor einer großen Klasse äthiopischer Schüler
Drei äthiopische Arbeiterinnen helfen auf der Baustelle

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.

Fröhliche äthiopische Mädchen
Mehrere äthiopische Arbeiterinnen helfen auf der Baustelle für die neue Schule

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

Drei äthiopische Arbeiterinnern helfen auf der Baustelle
Drei äthiopische Kinder vor der Baustelle der Schule

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.

Ansicht der Baustelle für die neue Schule in Äthiopien
Das Mauerwerk und die Dachbalken der neuen Schule in Äthiopien

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

Drei äthiopische Kinder vor der Baustelle der neuen Schule
Drei äthiopische Arbeiter legen Trapezbleche auf das Dach der neuen Schule

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 lächelt
Ein äthiopischer Arbeiter zersägt Metallstangen

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

Mehere äthiopische Kinder schauen in ein Lehrbuch
Rohbau einer Schule in Äthiopien

Cement mixers, circular saws and hollow concrete blocks: looking to the future with modern tools

The sun is shining over the construction site, with the occasional fluffy cloud providing some pleasant shade. Class has just finished, and just like every day, Gamachu and his friends head straight to the construction site. The pupils are given a warm welcome, and Gamachu’s uncle shows the boys the progress they have made during the day.

Viele äthiopische Kinder vor einer Schule
Ein äthiopischer Arbeiter zersägt Metallstangen

He’s currently mixing some concrete – by now a familiar sight for the people of Kekero Jibat. But this construction site is still something special. Here, buildings are usually constructed with clay, and inside they are often stuffy and dark. The new school, however, will be a lot different. Built with the most modern equipment available – from circular saws to cement mixers – this school represents a significant milestone.

The walls have been made using hollow concrete blocks rather than sand and clay. This helps to improve air circulation inside the building – creating a much better indoor climate than in previous classrooms.

Gamachu’s uncle wipes the sweat from his forehead. “We all know what we’re working for here,” he says. “With the new school, Gamachu is one step closer to achieving his dream of studying to become a doctor.”

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen

Vier äthiopische Jungs in einer Schule
Das fertige Schulgebäude in Kekero Jibat.

The grand opening: the new school is complete

“Look! It’s finished! It’s finished!” shout the children from Kekero Jibat. “You really have to see this,” says pupil Gamachu, running ahead and into his new classroom. Teacher Korani Fininsa is distributing new schoolbooks on the benches and wipes a streak from the window. The village had to wait a long time for the windows, but then everything progressed very quickly. The last rubble has been collected and the 717 pupils can now go to their new school.

Viele lachende äthiopische Kinder vor der neuen Schule
Fertiggestellte neue Schule in Äthiopien

The teacher looks out of the window, waving to the other children. She lets out a quiet, barely noticeable sigh: “Our pupils can finally sit in a well-lit room. And the air is so much fresher than in the old building, which had clay floors and small holes for windows,” she says, smiling.

Gamachu and his friends visited the construction site almost every day since the beginning. Now he shows us the new dry toilets, the administrative building and the different classrooms. Each child has their own seat. It’s bright, and the blackboard is modern and large. There are notepads and pens.

There are plenty of schoolbooks, too. Gamachu reaches for a biology book and shows us different kinds of leaves and trees. “The book is brand new,” he says, and places it back on the shelf. “The thing I like most about the new school is the reading room.”

“After the summer holidays, when the rainy season is behind us, we are planning the biggest inauguration ceremony the village has ever seen,” says a clearly pleased Tariku Molla, a geography teacher at the school. “We’re incredibly proud and happy that the school is now finished. It wasn’t an easy journey, and everyone in the village played their part. Now, our hard work and joint efforts have paid off – and we could open the Dallmayr School in cooperation with the Menschen für Menschen foundation.”

Picture credit: Menschen für Menschen