Helping provide scholarships to children from destitute families, they also have helped with a library, a computer lab, and a school bus.
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.
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.