How we started

In December 2003 some of our board members undertook an expedition to Ethiopia. Their first stop was the agricultural town of Jinka in the southern Ethiopian Omo Valley region.

Wanting to gain an insight into local education they paid a visit to Jinka’s primary school where they met the headmaster, his teachers and the pupils.

They were deeply moved by what they saw. Although eager to learn many of the local children simply can’t afford to attend school. Those that can do so by working outside school hours to earn enough to pay the fees.

Education is the only route to a better life for these children but the poverty in which coupled with a total lack of basic infrastructure means that for most it’s beyond their reach.

Travelling further afield they discovered that in many rural areas there are simply no schools. As a result a high proportion of children in Ethiopia will never have the chance of an education and are destined to remain trapped in poverty.

The story of one boy Ephrem who the 3 met bought home to them the scale of the problem facing these young lives.

Ephrem, 12, was living with his young brother and his bed ridden mother in a single-room made of mud with no electricity or running water. Although at school Ephrem worked part time in the local butter market to help feed his family. At home he had no space to study and living in these conditions he would never have the chance to reach his full potential.

Ephrem’s mother had a long term illness and could not provide for him so with her blessing we paid for him to travel to Addis Ababa and sit the entrance exam at the School of Tomorrow one of the countries best private schools. He was accepted, we found him a nice room in Addis for only £25 per month and today he is achieving great results.

Inspired by Ephrem’s story the 3 returned to the UK with a vision to cause positive change in Ethiopia by giving children like Ephrem the chance to study at the School of Tomorrow in Addis. From that vision EEF was formed.

Ephrem is now at Addis Ababa University studying computer science.