Empower 600 Students in Shashamane Ethiopia

Apr 12, 2012

Shash Ethiopia Service Tour & Site Visit Jan 2012

Blessed Luv distributes remaining school supplies
Blessed Luv distributes remaining school supplies

A team from Shashamane Sunrise visited the JRDC Schools in Jan 2012 for a Service Tour & Site Visit. The team included Shash co-founders Dr Rene Zazou Williamson and Ras Markos Rose and Shash Ambassadors Leah Marville, (Miss Barbados World 2009, Owner Miss Barbados Franchise), Simba Amani (Reggae and Soca Musician from Trinidad and Tobago) and Andru 'Blessed Luv' Curtis.

The team departed London’s Heathrow Airport, on Thursday, January 12, 2012 on Ethiopian Airlines and arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia early the next morning. We were received by a party, including Shash Ethiopia Station Chief, Ras Mengesha Afework (Menge) and our driver Chi Chi (Gi Gi).

After we had breakfast and checked in with the Principal of the JRDC School, Minyahil Kifle, we headed directly to meet with the students. We arrived in Shashamane four hours later. The students and staff of the JRDC were on hand to greet us upon our arrival. It was a sincere pleasure to receive such a warm welcome for our group, which had travelled from Port of Spain, New York, Miami and London.

After meeting with the school Principal and Teachers, the Shash Team met with students who had gathered in one of the classrooms. Approximately 50 students were present along with 6 teachers, including the Principal. Following some inspirational words and greetings from Shash Ambassadors Leah Marville and Simba Amani (translated to Amharic by Principal Kifle), the students were given various prizes and gifts, including t-shirts, school supplies and hygiene products.

During a touching moment, Miss Barbados 2009, Leah Marville comforted a 5 year old girl, who had been crying prior to our arrival. It was so touching as we witnessed the track of her tears making a line on her dust covered face. Leah helped the little girl put on her t-shirt and took a picture with her. It was good to see the young girl smile again.

Approximately 2 hours later, after receiving some reports from Principal Kifle about the school’s stellar academic results (90% graduation rate and 100% passes on National Examinations for the 5th year in a row) and viewing the KG toilets (boys and girls), which were funded by Shashamane Sunrise, the team left the school for its hotel, the Lily of the Valley Hotel in Shashamane.

The Lily of the Valley has been a longtime supporter of Shashamane Sunrise, as it has been the accommodation of choice for Shash Volunteers since 2005. The hotel is owned and managed by a couple who migrated from Trinidad to Shashamane. The hotel is well kept and the grounds are immaculate.

The following morning the Shash Team met with Principal Kifle to discuss the developments at the school. During the meeting we discussed his participation in the Shashamane Principal Program. The Shashamane Principal program uses high achieving students in tertiary-education programs around the world as well as mid career and end of career professionals (especially education professionals) to shadow the Principal of a Shashamane Sunrise Sponsored School and explore all the components needed to achieve Model School Status. The program also allows for further educational training for Local Principals. Shashamane agreed to consider Principal Kifle’s request for support.

In Shashamane, we also met with Ras Mark Playter, who is also known as Joseph, a longtime Shashamane
Volunteer and former teacher at JRDC. Mark is a Bajan immigrant to Shashamane and he currently works as a DJ and a producer of natural juices. The Shash Team asked for Mark’s help as a project manager and promotions partner for the Ethiopian leg of the Global Concert Series in Ethiopia. The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 8, 2012, at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa, to coincide with New Year’s Celebrations (2008 Ethiopian Calendar) and Meskel Celebration.

About noon, the team departed the Lily of the Valley Hotel for Addis Ababa. At the Sheraton in Addis Ababa, we met executives from a potential promotions partner for the Shash Global Concert Series. The team currently manages local Reggae Artiste Haile Roots, and they have previously worked with Teddy Afro, Ethiopia’s musical star.

The Shashamane Team met with Esayas Berhanu, Chairman of the Tesfaye Organization (Amharic for My
Hope), an educational non-profit that supports street children from the Yeka and Arada Kebele communities in Addis Ababa. The organization currently sponsors 100 of the 600 students at the school. Shashamane Sunrise has conducted a Needs Assessment of the school to explore whether it can be a potential new sponsored school in that region of the country.

Esayas, an Investment Banker in Vienna Austria, who is originally from the slums of Addis Ababa, is an example of what is possible for our young people when given the opportunity.

Overall the Ethiopian leg of the Shash East Africa Service Tour and Site Visit was an overwhelming success.

A moment with you girl
A moment with you girl
Group photo JRDC students
Group photo JRDC students
Shash funded toilets
Shash funded toilets



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Project Leader

Shashamane Sunrise

Stamford, CT United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Empower 600 Students in Shashamane Ethiopia