Camara’s advisor in Ethiopia, Ato Demissew Bekele, visited Ireland last week as a special guest of the organisation. During his visit to Gaelscoil Bharra, a school in North Dublin supported by Camara Ireland, he found that the 6th class were coding for a website that was about his own country. After students put on a lively demonstration of Irish music, singing, dancing and sport, Ato Demissew responded to their questions about Ethiopia, explaining the surprising connections between the two countries.
In the classroom, Ato Demissew discovered students writing emails to pen friends in Africa. There was an expression of interest in pairing Camara schools between Ireland and Ethiopia in the future. But the students have the potential to create digital connections beyond email correspondence. Alongside coding for websites, they have also begun developing unique applications for smartphones. A collective vote decided which idea would go into development. This kind of open educational approach helps students to collaborate and master technology, creating meaningful local and global connections.
Later that evening, Ato Demissew sat alongside another distinguished guest, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Ireland, at a fundraising dinner event hosted by Camara, in aid of our Ethiopian hub, at Blackhall Place in Dublin. This was the Ambassador’s second meeting with Camara in just one week. Her excellency Lela- Alem Gebreyohannes Telday visited Camara’s refurbishment centre earlier in the week to witness the dispatch of a container of computers to our hub in Addis Ababa.
During the fundraising dinner, Ato Demissew delivered an impassioned speech in front of a rapt audience. He reflected on the work of the organisation to date and the challenges that lie ahead, welcoming a future where digital education would be accessible to all. 100 dinner guests were also offered an insight into Ethiopian culture, which included the performance of an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
The event was hugely successful, having raised a significant amount of funding, which will help to ensure that one of Camara’s most successful hubs can develop further into a shining example for our other education hubs. Camara Ethiopia has a 5 year agreement with the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia to deliver 17,500 computers and train 5,000 teachers.