Limmu Shai, Ethiopia

Limmu Shai is a small, rural community in Ethiopia located almost 400 kilometers from the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. LTI’s CEO, Bill Downer, went to Ethiopia in 2006 to meet with community leaders and learned that they were unable to provide high school-level education to the community’s children due to the lack of proper facilities. In fact, the nearest high school was over 50 kilometers away. As a result, few children from the community pursue a high school education, as it requires boarding with friends or family or renting a room in other parts of the country. Girls in particular are unlikely to move outside of the community to pursue education, as they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The community leaders of Limmu Shai reported that the district is suffering in several ways from the lack of high school facilities. Without the option of an education, many talented children turn to crime, start families at an early age or simply move away from the community. This also contributes to the region’s high HIV/AIDS infection rate of 10%, compared to 3% nationally.

As part of an effort to change this situation, the community contributed substantial labor, materials and cash to begin construction of a high school campus. These efforts allowed them to construct five school buildings with 20 classrooms. However, the community was unable to garner enough funds to complete the project. In order for the Ethiopian government to staff the school, improvements must be made to the current construction, including the installation of latrines, windows, doors, concrete floors and plastering and painting the walls. To date, LTI has raised and utilized approximately $12,000 towards the completion of the Limmu Shai High School. LTI has worked in close cooperation with the community of Limmu Shai, using donated labor for all of the construction, and a local nongovernmental organization, Fayaa Integrated Development Association. LTI is pleased to report that our involvement in this project has resulted in the opening of the school in September 2006, with 367 students enrolled and ten teachers on staff, who are provided by the local government. This high school is the first and only in a region of over 300,000 people. While the school is functioning, the construction is not complete and the students are in need of proper furniture and school supplies. LTI remains dedicated to assisting the community of Limmu Shai with the completion of its high school.

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