It becomes like a rule that travelers are recommended to bring sweets for children, T-shirts, stationery supplies, small toys, and all sorts of similar items if they are going to Africa. On this continent, where misery and poverty are a daily reality and most of the population is engaged in subsistence farming, such gifts are highly anticipated. However, travelers and missionaries are most surprised by the poor educational system there. Poverty would be reduced by almost half if people living in the provinces were able to read and write at least. So, what is the situation of the education system in the poorest villages in Africa?
Charity Without Purpose Is Not Good
After overcoming almost 4,000 kilometers of this infinitely interesting country, which is only slowly being discovered by tourists, there is enough time to understand that such small gifts do not help and often demoralize the locals. However, when we find ourselves in Ethiopia and see that terrible poverty, it is very difficult to resist the temptation to give something. Across the country, children accompany cars passing by and asking them “ju ju ju “, which means “give, give, give”. This is not only the case for children who have grown up, but also for children who are only a few years old. Children from an early age are taught that white people can give something. No matter where the car or bus goes in the mountains, in the savannah, in the fields, in the plantations, in the swamps – when you stop, out of nowhere there are children and adults asking for something.
Guides advise travelers not to give money or other items to local people. Only sweets can be given to young children. When guides are asked how travelers can help people with the best support arrangements, they make it clear that charitable activities such as “give something to random people” are not appropriate because their benefits are minimal. However, it is possible to support a specific community, local school, or local church, because in that case, the support provides real long-term benefits.
Understanding the Importance of Education
A typical Ethiopian school in province area is barrack-type buildings carved from clay and straw on wooden frames with a huge yard and an administration building. A teacher with a higher education earns $80 a month in Ethiopia.
Some children have no notebooks or pens here. Some of them go to school about twenty kilometers a day but, attending school is a privilege. Children are proud to wear a school uniform, and they are happy when they can count, read, or speak in English. According to teachers, there are no disciplinary problems or unmotivated children in rural schools. Even though education is free in Ethiopia, many families do not allow children to go to school because they are needed for daily farm works.
Most adults living in such remote areas are illiterate and do not understand why a school is needed and how children will use the knowledge. However, it has already been noticed that in those regions where are more literate people, the old cruel customs are rapidly declining, the public health is improving, and young people are starting profitable businesses.