Our Aims

Background information and aims
Aisosh Ethiopia! provides future prospects for young high school graduates from southern Ethiopia by financially supporting them throughout their vocational training or university studies. Without financial support most young people from this region have little or no chance to qualify in higher education, leaving them with no prospects for a professional job.

Southern Ethiopia
Sixteen ethnic groups live in the South Omo region of southern Ethiopia, most of them traditionally as agriculturalists and pastoralists; few are exposed to modern techniques and global influences. Children from these different groups have only recently begun to attend school, as the government has encouraged the construction of more and more schools in remote regions and villages. By the new policy, ideally all children are expected to attend these schools, but many of them discontinue their schooling after the first four years. However, some students do continue on to high school, which demands a move to one of the two main cities in the region, Jinka and Arba Minch. For these students returning to traditional life after finishing high school is difficult, as they have left their homes behind to go to school and after years living in the towns sometimes even develop a feeling of alienation towards their parents’ lifestyle of subsistence farming and/or pastoralism.
When families agree on sending their children away to school, they also sacrify a valuable working force in their subsistence economy and have very high expectations of their child. They hope that their educated child will be able to find good work and financially support the family. However, these hopes are often met with disappointment given the few possibilities for specialized training or continued education and job opportunities in the South.

Difficult future in the cities
In order to receive a vocational training or an university degree, high school graduates must move even further away from their home region to the capital Addis Ababa, or to another major city further north. Here, not only tuition fees are costly, lodging, food and living expenses also proof unaffordable for most students from the South. As they usually are the first in their families to attend any kind of school, the majority of them have neither friends nor relatives or any kind of support network in the cities. And the families in South Omo do not have the means to support them financially. As a result, many high school graduates return home or take on exploitative, low paid jobs in the cities and thereby remain without further educational or professional prospect for the future.

Prospects for the South
There is a lack of local specialist in southern Ethiopia, especially in the much needed fields like human medicine, veterinary medicine, management, computer training or education. Health workers, for example, mainly come from the northern regions of Ethiopia and only few of them speak a regional language. Medical assistants born in the South know the local languages and customs and therefore would make a valuable contribution to an appropriate and respectful treatment of patients. This would without doubt improve the medical situation in this area and increase the trust of the locals towards doctors and nurses.

Generally local specialists could contribute to a sustainable development of the South Omo region. Therefore, Aisosh Ethiopia! supports especially those high school graduates who are interested in a profession that allows them to return to the region and to make positive contribution to their communities.

Some examples:
Toffu’s education and living expenses in Addis Ababa run around 1.100.- ETB a month, which equals about 120 US$. With this money Toffu can sustain himself in Addis Ababa, even buy cloths and travel back home to Jinka to visit his family once or twice a year.

Phillemon from Nyagatom
Phillemon is the first Nyagatom ever to get accepted into university. He achieved all this, even though he started his schooling only when he was twenty years old. His life story reflects his great desire for education:

I was born in July 1972 in Nakuwa (Kibish) in southern Ethiopia. I have 7 siblings. Before I went to school I herded cattle and goats. As I got older I wanted to go to school, but my parents would not allow it. So I fled to Sudan in 1994 and joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA/M). But after a year I got very sick and I decided to finally go to school. I went to the Narus Comboni Primary Catholic School in Sudan for some years. But when I was in fifths grade, the school was destroyed by the Khartoum Air Force. I fled again, this time to Kenya and was able to go to school in the Kakuma Refuge Camp. After years I finally returned to Ethiopia to see my parents again. I graduated from high school in Jinka and now even got accepted to university in Addis Ababa.

Phillemon has been a student at the University of Addis Ababa since Nov. 2006. He receives a small grand from the university, which is not even enough to pay the rent for his small room. Aisosh Ethiopia! is helping him since May 2007 with 40 Euro a month, so he can pay his rent and food. We, Aisosh Ethiopia!, hope to raise some more money so Phillemon can buy books and study materials.

Bazo from Hamar
Bazo is the first Hamar to get accepted to Addis Ababa University. He has been studying Linguistics for 2 years now. There is no official written Hamar nor any grammatical records of the language. Bazo’s studies and knowledge is of great interest for international linguists and institutions working in South Omo and will provide him with professional skills sought after in southern Ethiopia. Aisosh Ethiopia! is supporting him since May 2007 to help him cover costs of books and stationary material.

Application of donations
All donations are explicitly used for the support of the Aisosh Ethiopia! scholarship holders and for the operating costs of Aisosh Ethiopia!, such as printing of flyers and posters, maintenance of homepage and postage, etc. We are a non-profit association.
We are dedicated to support high school graduates from remote regions of South Omo (such as Hamar, Nyangatom, Arbore, Mursi, Ari, etc.) who, in first generation, have succeeded in being accepted into a training program or university. We preferentially support university studies or trainees at private or governmental institutions, which will contribute to a sustainable improvement in the South Omo region, such as e.g., health care, veterinary care, education and administration. Our scholarship holders should go to the best possible schools and receive the best education available.

The scholarship holders receive monthly financial support with which they can cover their living expenses (housing and food), material for school and clothing. In case of private schools, the tuition will be covered.
Newcomers in Addis Ababa do have the possibility to ask for an one time financial support to help them get settled and e.g. buy furniture. In emergencies, e.g. sickness or death of a family member, does Aisosh Ethiopia! try to help to cover medical bills or necessary travels.
Aisosh Ethiopia! can only accept the number of scholarship holders for which it has guaranteed founding. We thereby depend on the support of our members.

Besides providing financial support do we, Aisosh Ethiopia!, seek to help form networks and cooperation among the scholarship holders in Addis Ababa, e.g. by encouraging meetings and communication. A mutual support is strongly encouraged. Alumni, who reside in the cities, are asked to help newcomers get settled in the urban environment by helping them find housing, mental support etc.
Our goal is to build a network which overcomes ethnic boundaries and differences and to thereby contribute positively to long term peace processes in southern Ethiopia. We do encourage the application of women and strive to especially support them.