The drought in the Horn of Africa has taken a tremendous toll on the people of Ethiopia's Rift Valley. Retrak has been helping some of the most vulnerable victims of the drought by partnering with the Rift Valley Women's and Children's Development Organization (RWCDO). RWCDO has been helping 650 children stay in school by implementing feeding programs in two schools, and is also providing over 2,000 individuals with supplemental food. Adem Adulshekur is an 11 year old boy in the 5th grade at Goro Raya Primary School in Laga Hidha District, where his favorite subject is Environmental Science. Adem was asked to reflect on his impression of the school's feeding program.
He started describing the difficulties of this past year: "Last year, the drought situation was so tough that we got tired and fell asleep in classrooms because we did not get enough milk or bread at home before we come to school. We could not be attentive and participate in discussions, ask questions and give answer when asked. Our teachers let us go home one hour before the normal school time and we were not able to learn all the topics. Moreover, many children drop school in favor of going to the wild to collect edible fruits like shonka"- fruit of a cactus tree that ripe around the onset of rain. He added that even those children who attended school for the whole academic year were repeatedly absent for many days, though they did not completely abandon school.
When asked about the feeding program at his school, Adem replied that "I am glad that this program has started in my school. We get bread and tea with boiled beans every day on school days. I believe it will help us like education and attract all students to attend school regularly. I think availability of this program will avoid the problems of hunger, dropout and absenteeism that we had faced last year. I am grateful to those who understood our interest and supported our school to benefit from the program".
Thank you for supporting Retrak as we work with RWCDO to help children like Adem stay in school. Together we can make a difference in his life and in the lives of his friends, family and community.
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US Country Director