Founded by Jacqui Gilmour and Yared Wolde, the school was named ‘St. Yared’ after the famous Ethiopian saint, an orphan who overcame all odds to become a wise, successful and respected man through determined application at school.
Hope for Children’s The School of St Yared provides first-class, bilingual primary education to some of the poorest children in Addis Ababa.
The school was established in 2009 with the vision of giving the best opportunities to those children who would otherwise not get to school due to extreme poverty, poor health and family circumstance.
St Yared currently caters for 309 kindergarten and elementary-level children at two bright compounds in the Francine area in Addis Ababa. The children receive two healthy meals plus a snack at the school each day, as well as school uniforms, essential learning materials and access to extra-curricular activities. We plan to expand St Yared in coming years to teach all the way to Grade 12.
With education, these children will grow into self-sufficient young adults and become the future leaders of their community.
Through education, we can break the poverty cycle.
The School of St Yared was built on a model of education that is obtaining dramatic results in Tanzania. It’s a model that has community inclusion at its core; promoting learning by involving parents in their children’s development and engaging family members in school activities as part of a broader school community.
Our Ethiopian teaching staff are supported in-country by Steve Venour, a former Primary School Principal in the remote Arnhem Land region of Australia; and by education experts based in Perth, Western Australia.
The School of St Yared operates solely through individual, annual Sponsorship of its students and other private donations.
The Story of Yared Wolde
When Yared Wolde was just five-years-old, he was found by a Maltese nun reading a picture book under the street light of a busy road in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yared was living alone in a large pipe by the road. He'd lost his whole family to war and disease.
The nun took Yared and raised him in her orphanage in Ethiopia. She put him in school and years later, he became her ‘right-hand man’, helping care for hundreds of other children from similar backgrounds to his own.
Today, Yared is achieving his dream of running a school for the poorest and brightest children on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital.
He founded The School of St Yared in 2009 with Australian NGO, Hope for Children. The school now provides classes, educational materials and daily meals to 200 kindergarten and primary-aged children.
“St Yared’s doesn’t just make a difference in the child’s life but in their parents' lives too,” says Yared.
“Giving this opportunity to a parent is like lifting something from their shoulder, that is exactly what they are saying to me. Financially we are supporting the family with food, uniforms and an excellent education for their child but it’s also emotionally supporting too because now they have a big hope, which is their kids to become something.”
Hope for Children director, Jacqui Gilmour, says Yared is a driving force on the ground. “Yared has boundless energy and an enormous heart; he is a powerful example of community driven development.”
“Against overwhelming odds, he is striving to achieve the school’s motto ‘fighting poverty through education’ and extending life-changing opportunities to Ethiopian children like himself.”
Nine-year-old Samrawit has recently become a teacher herself.
For the last year, she has been giving her mother, Tensaye, a special maths lesson every afternoon on the fence of their mud-walled home in Addis Ababa.
When Samrawit was accepted to study at Hope for Children’s The School of St Yared and began bringing her schoolwork home, Tensaye asked her daughter to teach her the numbers in her books. She’d never been to school herself, and until recently, worked as a casual labourer washing clothes to support them.
Tensaye says her daughter’s education changed both their lives. Because of her afternoon lessons, Tensaye has been able to set up a popular stall trading fruit and vegetables at the local market.
She told Hope for Children she feels independent for the first time, and that the extra money she earns will one day pay for Samrawit to go to University.
Every morning before the sun, 7 year old Rekik gets up from the tin room she shares with her mother and walks to the shared community toilet. The cement block with 4 long drips and taps is one of the few facilities serving the many thousand people of Bella, the community where she lives and she hopes the line is not too long.
Rekik then races home and throws on her school uniform. The blue shirt, grey pinafore and sweater are Rekik’s pride and joy and are a part of the overall education package provided by sponsorship through Hope for Children Australia.
Prior to Rekik’s acceptance into The School of St Yared, she lived on the side of the street under a piece of plastic to protect her from the rain.
Rekik’s mother became pregnant when she was a student and left the family home to live with her boyfriend. Eventually he found the burden too much and abandoned her. For years, Rekik’s mother would leave her only daughter sitting, guarding their few possessions while she searched for work and food.
Then she took Rekik to apply for a place at The School of St Yared. Rekik was one of hundreds of children in the area to sit an aptitude test, assessing her family and living situation, degree of financial hardship and her personal resilience.
The teachers said Rekik stood out from the other children because of her eagerness to learn. With acceptance to the school, Rekik is now a thriving and confident student. She and her mother can live in a safe and secure home and her mother is able to work as a daily labourer to bring in additional income.
For many students like Rekik, access to quality formal education is out of reach and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty are few. The School of St Yared provides Rekik with all her educational needs – including uniforms and text books, two meals and a mid morning snack and a high quality education to prepare her for a bright future.
Ababech Adugna, aged 10, is the eldest of four children in her family. Through classroom conversations, she became aware that her family members were falling ill more often than others. Having studied hygiene at school, Ababech was curious to see if she could identify the cause.
By observing and enquiring about household habits, she discovered that the water used for the family’s drinking and cooking needs was drawn from a nearby stream, which was polluted with household and bodily waste.
Ababech instructed her mother to boil all of the water taken from the stream before use, and called a meeting of the whole family to ensure that everyone in the household, including her youngest sister, washed their hands meticulously after bathroom visits and before preparing or eating food.
On a recent home visit, her mother Berhane beamingly reported that nobody in the house had fallen ill since that time – “not for a single day!”
For many students like Ababech, access to quality formal education is out of reach and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty are few. The School of St Yared provides Abebech with all her educational needs – including uniforms and text books, two meals and a mid morning snack and a high quality education to prepare her for a bright future.