New high school provides a unique opportunity

New high school provides a unique opportunity

girl writing on a paper There are hundreds of singers and dancers on the path to Endeto.  I’m fumbling to catch gifts of thanks pressed into my hands while returning their smiles as we pass. I’m far from home – rural southeast Ethiopia, to be exact – but my team and I are warmly welcomed. 

Endeto is a rural community with few resources. Two years ago the community asked for support to build and furnish a high school so that their young people could study without having to travel to distant communities. Christian Horizons Global and The Pointe Church in North Carolina answered the call. Now members of both groups are here to celebrate the facility in its second year of operation.   

We proceed to the school for the ceremony. There are speeches and presentations, and prayers of thanksgiving from leaders and students alike. Finally, with the formal ceremony complete, a small group of us move to the quiet of an empty classroom to discuss the school’s impact on the community.

Satina is a young woman who proudly wears her school uniform along with a bright, beautiful yellow headcovering. She volunteers that she is “happy for the opportunity to study,” but her face clouds.  Satina begins to cry. “I am almost finished Grade 10.” 

Satina’s conflicting joy and sorrow is puzzling without a deeper understanding of Ethiopia’s educational system. Grade 10 graduation is an achievement and a roadblock. Graduates seeking further education can attempt Grades 11 and 12 in preparation for University; alternatively, they can take technical vocational training. Neither option is currently available in Endeto.  

Residents of Endeto seeking further education must travel to larger communities that offer those opportunities. Satina doesn’t have that option. Her father died years ago, and her mother struggles to support the family. Finances aside, Satina faces an uphill struggle as a woman seeking further education. “For girls it is risky to send them without [other family members].  

“There is rape sometimes, and it is hard for girls. Males will be able to learn without such problems. “

Satina ranks first in her class. She is the most gifted student in her community. She may never get the chance to develop her God-given gifts.

Progress continues in Endeto. The digging has begun to build a technical vocational school and the possibility of a Grade 11 and 12 school hovers in the future. They could be ready in 5 years. For Satina this is a long wait, but she understands waiting. It took three years after Satina graduated Grade 8 for the current school to be complete. She is willing to wait a little longer.

With notes from Mark Wallace

Director of Christian Horizons Global