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First TDA Foundation Donations
The riders and staff reached Gondar without incident on Friday the 11th of February. We had two rest days in the ‘White City’, a well deserved period of rest following a rough 8 day stretch on dirt roads in the deserts of Sudan.
We held out first ever bike donation ceremony in Gondar thanks to the hard work and cooperation of 2010 TdA Alumni Tony Nester and UK based NGO Link Ethiopia. Tony has been working with Link Ethiopia for the past 4 years, working to improve a local school on the outskirts of town called Arbatu Ensessa. Link Ethiopia is as UK based non-profit that ‘links’ schools in the UK with schools in Ethiopia. Currently there are 60 Link schools in each country. The children at each school exchange letters and pictures and learn a little bit about each others lives.
When Tony first discovered Link Ethiopia he knew it was something he wanted to support. He liked that Link would allow him to focus his giving on one school and that he would be able to monitor the results of his assistance easily. Tony visits Gondar each year to check in on the teachers and students at Arbatu Ensessa. To date he has assisted the school to build an additional classroom block, two new toilet blocks and 80 uniforms for some of the school’s 300 students. Having and extra classroom block and allowed to teachers to teach more children and has improved the morale at the schools significantly.
Tony timed his visit to Ethiopia this year to coincide with the tour’s arrival in Gondar. Through the TdA Foundation Tony was able to communicate with the2011 riders on the Tour d’Afrique and a group of them decided to make a contribution to Arbatu Ensessa. In all, the riders of the 2011 Tour d’Afrique donated $1500 to the school so that another 80 children could receive school uniforms, a backpack and some workbooks. The riders spent the morning with Tony at the school. They toured the campus, played a quick football game with the kids (score: 2 – 2). After the game the riders helped to distribute the uniforms and then were treated to a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony followed by a meal of njera and tibs (which was very yummy).
After the visit to the school we made our way back to camp for TdA’s bike donation ceremony. Working with Tony and Link Ethiopia the TdA Foundation donated 14 bikes to three education groups in Gondar. Four of the bikes would be used at Arbatu Ensessa, Tony’s Link school, to start a bike education program. Another five bikes would go to the district education office in Gondar and be used to travel to schools in the district for quality control visits. The final five bikes were donated to another school in the district.
We’re very happy to be able to support Tony and Link Ethiopia in their efforts to improve the quality of education at these schools in Gondar. Projects like this are slightly outside our mission statement but the ability to support a former client and work with a trusted organization like Link Ethiopia makes all the difference. After touring the school with Tony and the headmaster we were particularly impressed with the large garden the children were growing as part of an income generation project.
We look forward to continuing the partnership and monitoring how the bike education program grows. In future years we may help to expand the bike education program, organize a water sanitation training at the school and possibly provide small, interests free loans to help the school expand its income generation activities.
If you would like to find out more about Link Ethiopia or support Tony Nester in his efforts to help the children of Arbatu Ensessa please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you the information you need.
— Paul McManus
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