Lack of secondary education opportunities is chronic in marginalized communities all over rural Ethiopia. But in the Jimma Zone, the community took action. In 2012, with funds from Alberta, a high school was built on a hilltop near Sentema. Alemnesh was qualified to attend but she had to leave her home village and her family to do so. She planned to complete high school and go on to college or technical school.
The construction of the Sentema school gave many young people a chance to learn and others a chance to earn their daily bread.
Unfortunately, her father passed away and her family faced financial problems. Alemnesh’s dream to enter college or technical school could not be achieved. ”My parents had no money to assist me to learn. My only chance was to learn up to Grade 10 and then wait for a chance to come,” she says.
Alemnesh finished Grade 10 and spent two years without any work and no alternatives.
“I spent many years without work,” says Alemnesh. “I thought I could change my own and my parents’ life if I went to Dubai. I did it and worked there for four months. When I was there, I was beaten by the owner of the house and it paralyzed my hand and foot. I returned to my country but I could not return all the money I borrowed because of my health problems. Then our mother was severely sick and died, leaving the burden on my shoulder to support the rest of the family.”
By that time the Sentema High School was being constructed and Alemnesh was able to get work on the project. After the school was completed, she was able to teach the primary school children. ”Although it is not enough for daily expenses, it is 100% better to help myself and to assist my three sisters in their education,” she says, adding that the construction of the school gave many young people a chance to learn and earn their daily bread.