Sunday, April 14, 2024
SocietyA ray of light in the rural dark

A ray of light in the rural dark

Dedicated to empowering rural girls through education, Homosha Girls’ Boarding School first opened its doors in 2020. Situated on a 16-hectare campus in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region, the school was developed over two years by the Pharo Foundation, a nonprofit focused on spurring social and economic progress in Africa.

The Foundation envisioned Homosha as a flagship component of its expanding education initiatives across the continent, providing 250 students from underprivileged backgrounds access to schooling free of charge. The campus offers not only academic courses but technical and STEM training that equips students with the skills and opportunities needed for the 21st century job market – helping nurture the next generation of Ethiopian leaders, problem-solvers and innovators.

Founded internationally in 2011, the Foundation supports sustainable African development through investments in education, healthcare, and agriculture.

In 2016, it began designing and implementing large-scale integrated livelihood programs, initially in Ethiopia and Somaliland, with plans to spread into more African countries. In Ethiopia, it has been involved in several initiatives that have had a meaningful impact on the country’s economic and social development.

Education is a key impact area where the Foundation has made significant contributions in Ethiopia. It has established the Pharo School in Assosa and the Homosha Girls’ Boarding School, which offers quality education to children from low-income families in Benshangul-Gumuz region. It has also been working to improve early childhood education by building three primary schools in Shagademazin, Assosa, and Alhamer. All classrooms and playgrounds were newly furnished, increasing enrollment from 356 students in 2018 to 708 in 2022.

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The Homosha Girls’ Boarding School was established to provide education to children who otherwise would not have access. The school offers free tuition, boarding, and other essential services to students across the Benshangul-Gumuz region.

Established in mid-2017, the boarding school campus was completed in 2019. In 2018, the first cohort of 60 9th grade girls were enrolled in a temporary campus in Assosa and later moved to the permanent campus.

The school aims to provide a comprehensive education that includes both academic and vocational training, equipping students with skills and knowledge for modern job markets.

Ermias Habte, Ethiopia representative of the Pharo Foundation, says the education system has historically lacked opportunities for girls and Homosha works to provide these opportunities.

“The districts’ female students have very low educational status and finding students who meet the criteria for joining high school is difficult,” he says.

The first criteria, according to him, is that the students must be from the district and have above 50 points in her 8th grade exams. “They also must pass the entrance exam prepared by our school,” he said.

All students currently at the boarding school met the criteria for admission. The school now has 156 female students, with an additional 70 scheduled to join in September.

Designed to empower young women, the boarding school aims to provide high-quality education focused on STEM and practical skills. Personalized attention and meaningful learning experiences are possible due to the small class sizes.

On June 23, 2023, 50 students graduated from 12th grade and are preparing for university entrance exams. This is the school’s second graduating class after their first 26 graduates started university studies last year. In addition to preparing students with sufficient knowledge to pursue higher education, the school facilitates scholarships through the Foundation so students can study abroad.

Beyond education, the Foundation contributes to Ethiopia’s agriculture, health, and water sectors.

In agriculture, the Foundation’s project enhances crop and livestock production while also diversifying households’ incomes. They established 219-member farmers’ savings groups in Menge Woreda, raising awareness of cooperative membership and providing access to savings and credit services.

The Foundation’s health project also works to improve access to care in Benishangul Gumuz. The project enhances health facilities’ capacities by improving existing infrastructure and building new medical centers in Assosa, including the Pharo Advanced Diagnostic Center which provides diagnostic services.

Investments in education, healthcare, and economic growth have also helped create positive change in Ethiopia. The Foundations commitment to working with local communities and stakeholders has helped ensure initiatives are sustainable and impactful.

Schools like Homosha demonstrate the transformative impact the Foundation is having in Ethiopia. By empowering young women with 21st-century skills and opportunities, the school is nurturing the next generation of leaders, innovators and change agents who will contribute to Ethiopia’s continued advancement for years to come. The students graduating from Homosha are poised to make a difference in their communities and across sectors – across a range of sectors, including education, health, and agriculture – as a result of the holistic foundation the school has provided.

The multi-sector approach – investing in education, healthcare systems, livelihoods, and infrastructure – equips Ethiopians to drive development from within. When communities have the knowledge, resources and opportunities to meet their basic needs and improve their lives, societies prosper and economies grow.

The Foundation’s work in Ethiopia shows how strategic, community-based interventions can build a stronger, more resilient, and more equitable future for all Ethiopians.

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Video from Enat Bank Youtube Channel.


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