A new year may not be magical in itself to transform anything. However, New Year's resolution has become almost a cultural tradition in the West. It is a time that many reflect on the past year, rethink and reorganize for the coming year. Moreover, it gives one the opportunity to forgive oneself for broken promises, to right wrongs, to reaffirm relational commitments, look forward to new promises, hopes, plans, and energize oneself to become a better person.So, I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year and success in your 2017 New Year resolutions!
THE PIA HISTORY: 2014-2016
Panafric International Academy in 2014 (2007 Ethiopia calendar) opened its doors on a rental property and registered 43 kindergarten children. By the end of the academic year, however, our enrolment grew to 61 paying students and 7 Scholarship Sponsored children- selected from the most destitute families in Awassa.
Construction Stage The first group in 2014
Among the 2015 Scholarship Beneficiaries Morning Routine (Story Reading Time)
By the next academic year 2015 (2008 E.C) not only did we grow in number and service at the original location but we also opened a second branch in the opposite side of the city for a different community.
At branch #1 we doubled the student body from 70 to 140 and also doubled the number of scholarship beneficiaries from destitute families from 7 to 15. We provided a school bus service that covered a 15 KM radius to connect the two branches. In the new campus we were able to register 87 kindergarten and elementary school children.
We are now in our third year. By September 2016 (2009 E.C) we have reached the highest capacity (200) that the PIA #1 branch compound could hold. At Branch #2 we have registered 185 children. Between the two branches we have close to 400 students, 35 teaching staff, 4 security guards, and 6 cleaners.
It seems that the time has come to find a suitable location within the city of Hawassa and build our own school that would be large enough to bring the two branches together and allow us to expand from kindergarten to high school. Our desire is to give the opportunity for more children of destitute families.
The PIA student body is colourful, for example our Ashle Alkachew is without two arms but with encouragement he is able to use his toes to hold a pencil. Although he appreciates the help he gets from his peers and teachers, Ashle never feels deficient. I am very proud of his positive attitude and achievement already. He is inspiration to our school community. Ashle is eight years old and is in grade one. We have many children with various "learning challenges" but they beautifully enrich our school community in so many different ways.
Our academy is also enriched by the large enrolment of children from various faith communities. At Panafric no child is labelled or discriminated against. Our tool is genuine love for all and we are committed not to leave any child behind. Word of mouth is already out among many communities about the true caring our school embodies in our daily encounters with the children entrusted to our care. Panafric is about God's love in action- not mere talk.
I would like to thank all our friends in Canada who donated books and educational materials for our academy. As I opened the boxes you carefully pack and carried to the library container, I was and am constantly reminded of the great contribution you have made. I appreciate and recognize the tremendous work that went on prior to the shipping of the library container.
Thank you!Mesfin Atlaye