I stood there in middle of a government school in the remote village of Chapa in southern Ethiopia. In the middle of a set of buildings that would be about the size of a preschool facility here in the States, we learned that there were 3,000 students. This number left no alternative but to do half-day school twice a day with each teacher responsible for about 80 children during each of those time periods. Supplies were scarce and there was simply not the grounds nor resources for higher education.
Standing in a single classroom, I had my usual thought- where do I point my camera? There’s so much to show, so much to tell.
I turned to the interpreter, “What do they want me to photograph? What do they want people back in my country to know?”
The answers came back: “We want them to see what our schools look like.”
“We want them to see how crowded we are.”
A seventh grader stood up: “I want them to see [me]. To see that I want to learn more, but my school does not have enough money to run higher grades. So I cannot get more education.”
Those are their words. These are images they wanted me to take. So as I promised them on that warm afternoon a month ago, I’m telling and showing it all you.
Begin With One is organization that has partnered with Chapa to work together as two communities building each other up. They have taken this project under their wing; and what began as a $60,000 dollar project is now down to a little over $22,000. A group has offered to do a matching grant up to $12,000 so every dollar you give is doubled. Head over HERE if you want to get involved.