In St George's, we have established a beacon school providing free education of the highest quality to over 400 of the area's most disadvantaged children, transforming their prospects.
Our impact goes beyond just the pupils, extending into their families and wider community, as well as offering a charitable educational model we believe can be replicated across Africa.
In Ethiopia, half of all children leave school by the age of 8. Those that do go sit behind rudimentary desks, 50 to 60 to a class, with outdated books and few facilities of any kind.
St George's brings Western teaching techniques to Ethiopia, offering superlative education and a clean, bright and safe school environment; class sizes are 25, all teachers are educated to degree level and tablets are provided with pre-loaded educational tools to help drive online learning. An outreach programme is also underway to benefit all 6 other schools in the local community, with St George's teachers sharing teaching methods with the local teachers.
Already the school is achieving exceptional results, with an average exam success rate of more than 80 per cent across key subjects, a grade achieved by just 25 per cent of children nationally, and a pupil retention rate of 98 per cent.
Academic results in 2019 were four times better than the national average, and in a country where half of all children leave school by the age of eight, our retention rate over the 2018/19 academic year is an extraordinary 100 per cent.
Health & Wellbeing
Almost half of local children (42%) are so malnourished that their growth is stunted. St George’s provides over 3,000 meals per week and monitors the physical development of the children. A summer feeding programme now operates to support families during the long summer holidays, as dramatic weight loss was observed in children on their return in the Autumn.
We monitor weight and height and intervene with additional nutrition if any children are losing weight. Children have access to an onsite nurse. We work with the Ethiopian government to implement HIV testing.
We have also pioneered a summer nourishment programme, with supplies provided to children and their families twice during the long break. This has resulted in a reduction in the dramatic weight loss we previously observed in children during the holidays.
A new community health clinic provides healthcare support, advice and intervention with particular focus on girls. The school also provides early childhood intervention through a mother/toddler group, where mothers access our healthcare clinic while children learn key development, social and play skills.
St George's allows children to reach their full potential by being healthy in both minds and body, providing two nutritious meals a day and regular health checks
A third of Ethiopians live in extreme poverty. St George's unique teaching model aims to build long-term prosperity by imparting skills for life, thereby improving our children's employment prospects.
The school has created almost 70 skilled and unskilled jobs for local people, paying well above average salaries, and supports a further 600 in the supply chain. Within a local population of 50,000, St George's already benefits one in every 50 local people through employment, micro-financing and community outreach projects.
Land surrounding the school has been offered to local farmers for income generation and 50% of the yield is used to feed pupils. Community projects include micro-financing of local entrepreneurs and a programme to train local women as tailors, traditionally a male career. Multi-use teaching spaces allow pre/post school activities and are utilised by surrounding schools and the local community.
The average Ethiopian school building only lasts 7 years, St George’s is built to last
Many local girls are removed from school aged 8 to 10 to work in manual jobs, while others traditionally drop out when menstruation begins. A third of Amhara girls are married by the age of 15 and two-thirds of illiterate adults are female.
St George's aims to empower girls to seek employment and encourages them to apply for jobs that they might otherwise have not been perceived as possible for them. The school conducts weekly classes with girls to discuss their rights as young women, self defence, bodies, puberty and hygiene.
Girls attendance rates are now very slightly higher than that of boys, and our star pupil this year, who broke all school records with her examination results, is female.
This year, we have redoubled our efforts to empower girls to remain in education and then to university and employment, breaking into traditionally male jobs.
The top scorer in the school exams was a female grade four student, who achieved an average score of 99.4 per cent in all areas across the whole academic year - a new school record. Furthermore, she was the top-performing girl in the whole of the Gondar region and received a certificate from the Gondar Education Office.
While country wide, boys score higher grades than girls in Ethiopia, at St George's there is no gender difference between scores.
90 per cent of staff are female, providing good role models for our girls.
We have created an educational and communal centre with the potential to impact the immediate community of 50,000 people.
There is the potential to replicate this in neighbouring Gondar, with a population of 300,000.
We have support from local government to expand.
We just need your help.