EMAIL US AT info@devxchange.org
CALL US NOW 1-800-434-1238
Donate Now

Panafric International Academy

Panafric International Academy – Hawassa – BUILDING FUND

The first phase of Panafric International Academy (PIA) opened in 2014 Academic Year (2007 Ethiopian Calendar) in a rental property with only 43 kindergarten children. By the end of the same year the numbers of students grew to 61 paying and 7 non-paying children (from most destitute families). Staff at that time included eight teachers, two security guards and two cleaners.

By the next academic year, 2015 (2008 Ethiopian Calendar), not only did PIA grow in number and service at the original location but a second branch in the northern part of Hawassa was opened to serve a different community.  Within a year, the Panafric International Academy name became well-known throughout the city, mostly through word of mouth.

At branch #1 the student body doubled from 70 to 140 doubling also the number of scholarship beneficiaries from destitute families from 7 to 15. PIA made a huge step forward by providing school bus service that covered a 15 KM radius. In the new branch we were able to register kindergarten and grade 1-4 level, a total of 87 students.

The PIA student body is colorful, for example, a grade 1 student, Ashle Alkachew is without arms but with encouragement he is able to use his toes to hold a pencil.  We have many children with so called “Learning Disabilities” but they beautifully enrich our school community in many different ways. Many parents of many faiths trust Panafric to the degree that they take their children out of locally based schools and register them with Panafric – again, through word of mouth. Ashle is just one example of the love and true caring our school embodies in our daily encounters with the children entrusted to our care.

PANAFRIC LIBRARY AND COMPUTER LAB

Volunteers at Panafric Canada collected over 12,000 children’s books, catalogued, bar-coded, packed, bound and shipped them to our school in Hawassa.  The container with our books plus 20 computers and a wide assortment of children’s crafts and school supplies arrived in Hawassa in early 2016. A successful PIA Canada, “Bucks for Books” campaign raised enough money to pay for the shipment of a 20 foot tightly packed container.

This library will serve the school and immediate area of Hawassa providing children and families a resource like no other in this immediate area. Neither the schools nor local libraries have the capacity nor the system in place that provides such an educational endeavour. This is a first state-of-the-art children’s library!

PANAFRIC SCHOOL BUS

As we entered the school year beginning in 2016, it was evident that in order to bring children from many parts of Hawassa and to have them arrive on time we needed regular transportation.  Mesfin was able to find and secure the purchase of a 30 passenger school bus that he rescued from an insurance claim and acquired it at an amazing savings.  The bus carries the children every morning and afternoon and collects revenue from those who can afford to pay.

SCHOLARSHIPS

The Scholarship Fund helps send the children of destitute families to school. Through the Children’s Rehabilitation and Reformation Project, CRAF, children are rescued from the street, registered free of charge and PIA seeks sponsors to support schooling and some of the other basic needs of these children. The CRAF is one of the most important initiatives of PIA Hawassa and sets it apart from any of the government run elementary schools, as well as, any of the private schools in the area. In addition, monies from the Scholarship Fund are used to assist the parents of some of the destitute families to begin businesses of their own, through a micro loan program.

To date a total of 17 children have been sponsored and another 4 need support.  In order to help with this initiative, we are asking you to pledge a total of $45 per month which will send a child to school, buy him/her uniform, backpack and a few other basic necessities.

My name is Mesfin Atlaye. I’m an Ethiopian national, a Canadian citizen, academic, and a visionary. In the Fall of 2012, my wife and our five children relocated from London Ontario to Awassa Ethiopia for the main purpose of opening a purpose driven school. For some time, it has been my desire to return to Ethiopia and contribute to the social and economic development of my homeland. The idea of building a school in Awassa was born during my visit in 2007. At that time, I observed a drastic decline in education quality, an alarming number of lower grade dropouts, and a high level of brain drain in the country.

During that visit, I also saw a number of school aged children roaming around the cities aimlessly when they were supposed to be at school- young boys and girls, most of them under the age of ten, begging the passerby for pennies to feed themselves. According to some of them, they beg on the street to buy bread for their siblings. Their playground was the underground drainage holes where the city filth flows.

I had the opportunity to talk with many of them and I was disturbed by the fact that most of these children were unable to go to school simply because that opportunity did not present itself to them. Some of them claim to have no parents. Some are runaways from abusive care givers. Yet others, either their parents could not afford to pay the little registration fee at the public school or to buy for them the basic writing materials- so they quit school.

Panafric International Academy (PIA) is a humble response to that need. I’m part of a group of Christian educators and other professionals in Canada, organized to give quality education to those who cannot dream it. Our short term goal is to immediately open a KG-8 school in Awassa using a leased premises and locally hired staff. Our long term goal is to build a (K-12) progressive school in Awassa that will accommodate between 900-1300 children where a significant number of children from destitute families will be included. This will be a school for all children without discriminating against them through ethnic, religious, economic or other labels. PIA will use the national curriculum as its base. All fulltime teaching and administration staff will be Ethiopian nationals- carefully recruited and retrained according to the PIA policy and principles. We will have a wide volunteer program where educators and people with various skills from Canada and elsewhere will volunteer their time to train and share their expertise with our school community. That is the vision.

January 2017 – Dear Friends,

A new year may not be magical in itself to transform anything. It has become almost a cultural tradition in the West to reflect on the past year, to rethink and recast for the coming year, moreover it gives the hopeful-sojourner the opportunity to forgive oneself on broken promises, to right wrongs, look forward to new promises, hopes, plans, and to energize.

2016 was full of events for our family. Probably you heard from the news that there was turmoil within Ethiopia that the government has issued state-of-emergency for six months. All schools in the country were instructed not to open until notified. The internet and social media were deliberately disrupted and traveling was limited until things settle down. It was not safe for our children to return from their vacation in Canada and, therefore, forced to register in their former schools. It has been a very difficult decision for our family that I stay in Ethiopia to continue with the PIA work and the rest of the family to remain in London. Thank goodness we were allowed to start school by September 22.

As you all know, we opened the first phase of Panafric International Academy in 2014 Academic Year (2007 Ethiopian Calendar) in a rental property with only 43 kindergarten children. We grew that number by the end of the same year to 61 paying and 7 non paying children (from most destitute families). We hired Eight teachers, two security guards and two cleaners.

By the next academic year 2015 (2008 Ethiopian Calendar) not only did we grow in number and service at the original location but we also opened a second branch in the northern part of Awassa for a different community.  Within a year, the Panafric International Academy name was all over the city; mostly through word of mouth.

At branch #1 we doubled the student body from 70 to 140 and also doubled the number of scholarship beneficiaries from destitute families from 7 to 15. We provided a school bus service that covered a 15 KM radius. In the new branch we were able to register kindergarten and grade 1-4 level, a total of 87 students.

We are now in our third year.  By September 2016 (2009 Ethiopian Calendar) we have reached the highest capacity (200) that the PIA #1 branch compound could hold.  At Branch #2 we have registered 185 children.  Between the two branches we have 35 teaching staff, 4 security guards, and 6 cleaners.

The PIA student body is colorful, for example Ashle Alkachew is without two arms but with encouragement he is able to use his toes to hold a pencil. He is in grade 1. We have many children with so called “Learning Disabilities” but they beautifully enrich our school community in many different ways. Muslim parents trust Panafric to the degree that they take their kids out from the Quran based schools and register them with us- again, through word of mouth. I’m sure you would love to hear about the love and true caring our school embodies in our daily encounters with the children entrusted to our care.

Mesfin Atlaye

PanAfric International Academy Director

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

SHARING IS CARING
DONATE NOW