This January we were delighted to host Link Ethiopia’s Country Director, Haile Ayano, in the UK. Over three weeks Haile travelled all over England to meet our link schools, partners and supporters. We had a great few weeks and would like to thank all the people who welcomed and hosted Haile during his time here.
A core part of our school linking programme is teaching young people to think global. Through their school link, pupils discover another culture and are able to challenge one-dimensional representations of Africa. Having our staff from Ethiopia visit the schools in the UK is a great opportunity for pupils to ask questions, discover more about their link school and daily life in Ethiopia. Haile travelled all over England, from Shoreham-by-Sea, to Gloucester and Oxford to meet the many wonderful schools that work with us. The trips ranged from workshops with primary school pupils with questions such as “do you see lions when you walk out of your house?” and “what is 2 x 2 in Africa?” to investigative journalism sessions with 6th form students learning about the social geography of Ethiopia.
We were also delighted to have Haile over in time for our 20 Year Celebration event held at the Embassy of Ethiopia in London on February 8th. Haile was our guest speaker and spoke about his experience working with Link Ethiopia over the past 8 years as well as his reflections on education in Ethiopia and the UK. “My visit has given me an opportunity to carefully observe and reflect on what we should be doing for education in Ethiopia, and it also made me question how far we need to go in order to provide a quality education that children deserve and which will enable the youth to achieve their aspirations in life. There isn’t any easy answer to this question, but, no matter how hard it will be, with a collective effort and with the continued support of all donors, and everyone concerned, we can achieve our aspiration for the holistic development of communities, for those who are marginalised and aren’t able to afford the basics”.
Seeing the Sights
As well as work, there was some time in his schedule to enjoy being a tourist in England! We thank our supporters in Leicester, Eastbourne and London where he got to enjoy windy beaches, football and, a favourite from his previous visit in 2013, jacket potato with beans and cheese. Haile embraced the cold of England in January – “the purpose of travelling is to have new experiences” – and we’re only sorry that every time he left a city, that’s when it started to snow. I guess we’ll have to invite him back for another winter!