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Educating in Ethiopia

Concern Worldwide is working to improve the lives of vulnerable children in Ethiopia by giving them the opportunity to attend school.


It’s an all too familiar story in Ethiopia: children, especially girls, miss out on the chance to attend school. With no – or very minimal – education, these children are forced to work as housemaids, and can be exposed to child labour and sexual exploitation.

Changing lives

We’ve responded to the needs of these vulnerable children by collaborating with local partner organisations to set up schools that they can attend. Since 2002, we’ve established 22 schools in Ethiopia. This has enabled more than 15,000 vulnerable children to complete the first cycle of education, which is necessary to continue in Ethiopia’s formal schooling system. 

Free education

Concern runs schools with flexible schedules, enabling very poor children to attend classes at times appropriate for them. The lessons are designed to introduce children back into formal education in three years. To meet that goal, Concern provides free education materials, books and school uniforms and pays the teachers’ salaries. As a teacher myself, I am happy to work with Concern to reach these children and their teachers.

Feeling accepted

Experience has shown that the children thrive, not just because they are receiving an education, but because they feel a sense of acceptance and receive due recognition from their teachers and peers.


When I meet and speak with the children who are at school, I see that Concern’s support has given them hope. They have purpose and feel accepted.

Rabiya’s story

This is especially true of Rabiya, a 13-year-old girl who was not even allowed to leave her house due to a disability. But since being placed in the basic education programme set up by Concern and a local NGO in Wollo, her life has been transformed. She says:

I am happy being in school. It is good to be with other children. I want to be a teacher.

Rabiya completed the basic education programme in 2008, and is now in grade eight in the formal school system and she has proven to be an excellent student.