After years of planning, the ceremony marking the official start of construction of the new building for Furuna School was held on January 24, 2018. The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by an estimated 500 schoolchildren, teachers, members of the community, community leaders and local politicians.
The event included distinguished guests speaking about the community and school, traditional singing and a bread-cutting ceremony.
Said Zerihun Tadele of the event, ‘We visited the Furuna Elementary and Junior Secondary School in January 2018, to participate in the inauguration of the start of construction of the school. I did not expect such a high-level of reception from the Furuna community, students, teachers and representatives of the government. I was very much touched by it. This boosts my commitment to support the school to the best of my capacity.’
The sign reads “This foundation for Furuna School Construction lady by Professor Zerihun Tadele, Founder of Beromsa Ejolef. Year 24, 01, 2018.” Beromsa Ejolef is the Ethiopian sister charity of Opportunity for Kids Ethiopia.
The first school to be rebuilt is located 350 km south of Addis Ababa in Oromia Region, West Arsi Zone, Adaba District and Furuna community. Furuna is a village located about 3 km from Adaba, the district’s capital.
Furuna Elementary and Secondary School
The school resides in the complex of buildings in the center of the map, from the building with the red roof to the two parallel buildings to the left.
During a series of discussions with the community and the school, a number of key items required by Furuna Elementary and Secondary School were identified.
The school buildings are badly in need of repair.
These include a library, sanitation facilities, water and renovation of badly decomposing school buildings. Based on these requests, board members and the executive committee of Beromsa Ejolf had several discussions with the regional office responsible for schools about how to advance the community’s request. A series of discussions with both community leaders and responsible government officials led to the decision to construct the library with first priority as the school has over 1000 students and does not have a library. Based on the availability of funds, other necessary items for the school will be fulfilled in the next phase of the project.
Construction of a new building for a library is underway.
OK Ethiopia (Opportunity for Kids in Ethiopia) was established on 21st May 2013 in Bern (Switzerland), as a non-profit association based on the article 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil code. The main goals of the association are to give kids in Ethiopia the chance of going to school through (i) providing school uniforms, meals and other necessary materials (ii) providing books, computers and other teaching aids and (iii) providing building materials for new school buildings.
Once the association was established in Switzerland, the laws of Ethiopia required the formation of a sister Charity in Ethiopia. Thus the ‘Beromsa Ejolef Ethiopian Resident Charity’ was founded. This complicated process took three years as approval was needed at the federal, regional and community levels. In addition to their active role in establishing the association, board and executive members of Beromsa Ejolef participate in discussions with the communities and schools receiving the donations.
In 2013, Dr. Zerihun Tadele, an Ethiopian researcher, received the prestigious Dr. Rudolf Maag Prize for his scientific work on the improvement of the Ethiopian crop, tef (Eragrostis tef). He used the prize money to start a charity in Switzerland, Opportunity for Kids Ethiopia, with the aim of helping Ethiopian children attend school by donating supplies to existing schools and providing building supplies for new schools. Complying with the regulations from both the Swiss and Ethiopian governments took more than two years and included the founding of Opportunity Kids in 2014 and a sister Ethiopian organization, Beromsa Ejolef, in 2017.