August 2022: Ethiopia: Education for students from marginalized areas and destitute families

Education for students from marginalized areas and destitute families

In many families, many young people drop out of school for a variety of poverty-related reasons. These include unaffordable school fees, transportation costs, maintenance costs, boarding costs, and general upkeep costs.

Students whose families cannot afford these costs are forced to drop out of schools, colleges and universities. This leads to depression, hopelessness and despair among this inherently vulnerable young population.

Over the past nearly 17 years, from the very beginning, PBF has been known to reach out to this group of students time and time again, offering them modest assistance for their years of study at universities and colleges.  It is a regular monthly support for survival and livelihood. In addition, we meticulously collect all relevant details about each student to better understand and then decide who should or should not receive the assistance.

Further, the students receive stationery and laptops for their study and research activities. The financial support is directed by our authorized representatives, Mohamed Mulushaga, a master’s student, and Getachew Sale, a doctoral student.

In Lalibela and nationwide, well over 600 students have received years of support from PBF over the past 17 years.

We have graduates, bachelor’s graduates, master’s graduates, and doctoral students from both local universities and universities abroad. Many of them have made it to various promising careers in government and the private sector. From these years we have medical professionals including Dr. Tadesse Taye, Dr. Zacharias Seyfu, Dr. Habtamu Mengstie and other health professionals such as Ashenafi Mamo, the founder and director of our clinic in Gashena, further Abebe Zewdu, a large number of nurses, health officials and pharmacists. Leul Mekonnen is a pilot with Ethiopian Airways. We have at PBF since early youth Dr. Shimels Sisay who did his PhD in Human Rights in Germany, Abel Yonas a PhD student (Sociology) in Bielefeld, Solomon Mekonen doing his PhD in Visual Anthropology in Oslo and some others. Most notably, Getachew Sale, an extremely dedicated PBF collaborator (see Fuga project). He is pursuing a PhD in Health and Nutrition Sciences in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

Due to the lack of jobs and future opportunities, PBF has gone a step further and supported exceptionally talented students beyond the bachelor’s degree, in some cases taking care of their families.

This has been a major challenge, as we need to find a balance between higher education and graduates, most of whom have very little chance of finding a job. They do not have the protections and connections necessary to do so.  Some have gone on to sometimes successful start ups.

Currently, PBF provides monthly support to 41 students, 30 young men and 11 women, providing for their living expenses, housing, transportation costs, tuition fees and work materials. Ten students will graduate academically between July and August 2022 and will be graduated in a very solemn ceremony. Their names are:

Bayou Biders Asmie, Netsanet Kassahun Menberu, Mohamed Mulushega Nidani, Tigist Genanu Mulaw, Alemu Getnet Endeshaw, Dinku Ayenew Kasa, Hailekiros Mengistu Abate, Adisu Besfat Abate, Baye Molla Getahun, Masreshaw Abate Kassaw.


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