Budding artists at work in the Asela orphanage school in Ethiopia. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
Four years ago, we took readers to a remarkable facility in Ethiopia, the Asela school, where children with special needs were being given both help and hope:
Since the Consolata Fathers opened the doors of the Asela school and orphanage some 28 years ago, more than 500 boys — abandoned and often disabled — have graduated. The facility now cares for more than 150 children with diverse backgrounds from the Ethiopian region of Oromia, meeting the full range of their basic needs as well as providing them with a reputable education.
Chief among the facility’s accomplishments has been the quality schooling it offers to all its children. The general curriculum centers on traditional academic subjects, preparing most students for a high school diploma.
For those students better suited for a skilled trade, the Consolata Fathers have in recent years developed a vocational training program that offers a variety of specializations, including wood and metal works, auto mechanics, house painting and sewing. The vocational program prepares students for a certificate of technical expertise in an elected trade skill rather than the conventional high school diploma. Students in the vocational programs receive instruction from highly qualified professionals in the field and use state-of-the-art machinery, which has been installed on the premises.