Empowering A Town by Kelkias L.
Eight years ago, I left my country (Ethiopia) and went to the United States. The moment I set my foot on the ground, it was like a parallel universe – two completely different realities. I love my country but I began to see it from a different perspective. I imagined all of the things that we could improve. In the U.S., I noticed many great institutions; places of learning where tomorrow’s leaders are shaped. I admired the people who built them for generations. An immense passion began to burn inside of me, I wished one day my country and my people would change for the better. That education will be part of our culture and every child would be able to get it.
I live in a country with one of the highest illiteracy rates yet I appreciate the value of education. I am one of the four children to my family. Growing up we never had a fancy life style; born and raised in the outskirts of Addis Ababa to a family of humble background, the only things my parent could give us were unconditional love and a means to a moderately good education. My father is a hardworking man who never had the opportunity to go past grade six. He lost his father at a very young age and therefore the burden of caring for his siblings and a mentally ill mother fell on him, forcing him to drop out of school and work as a day laborer to support his family. Yet, he always understood the value of education and he wanted his children to have something he didn’t have growing up. Even if that meant sacrificing all of his life, hoping one day he might see his children become successful. I am forever grateful for what my parents have done for me and my sisters.
This is my story; yet it so closely resembles to the stories of millions of hard working families all over the world. It demonstrates the typical struggle of many families to find quality and affordable education for their children. This is even truer in a country like Ethiopia where half of its citizens are under poverty line and quality education is scarce.
In Ethiopia, education is the only way out of poverty yet only the privileged few are able to afford good education. Only those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth can get the best education in the country. The rest, have to go through public schools; where one class is full of eighty, ninety or even hundred students. Yet, the poor are forced to send their children fully knowing they might fall through the cracks of a broken system.
Eight years later, I returned to my birth country and to the same reality. But I ended up in a place where I can do something to help bring change. I am proud to say I serve with Blessing the Children and at The BCI Academy; a place founded by a visionary to empower a generation of Ethiopians. A place where the poor can afford a good education and an orphan without a helper has a chance at a future. So that people like my father, who value education but cannot afford it, could get an opportunity and equal head start to success. At BCI we believe in personal responsibility and self-sustainability as we empower the next generations of Ethiopians towards a bright future for themselves and for Ethiopia.