The school has joined the local parishes of Our Lady Immaculate and Holy Name in supporting Connect2 Ethiopia as a community.
Head Teacher Paula Barningham was delighted to welcome Tamiru Legesse who is the communications officer for CAFOD who works in Addis Ababa jointly with SCIAF and TROCAIRE and Abba Solomon, the Parish Priest for Sebeya the community where CAFOD works. A special assembly was held so pupils could find out more about the lives of the people who live in Sebeya, their daily struggles and how CAFOD is helping to improve villagers access to clean water.
Pupils were shocked to find out that the main language spoken in the country has more than 200 letters and were excited when they heard that many young people in Ethiopia supported their favourite football teams.
Following the assembly Abba Solomon and Tamiru were given a tour of the school, then enjoyed a roast beef lunch and were joined by Theresa Humphries who was representing the parish CAFOD Group. They were also pleased to meet and be shown round Our lady Immaculate Church by Brother Gregory and Brother Pius. In the afternoon Tamiru joined year 4 for a lesson and showed them a short video about life in Sebeya.
Head teacher Paula Barningham said: “We feel very privileged that Abba Solomon and Tamiru came to visit us. We’re looking forward to staying in touch with them and the rest of their community. The children can’t wait to share their stories of life in the UK and learn more about the people of Sebeya.”
The school and parishes will be helping to improve people’s access to clean water and their ability to grow food for themselves so they can increase their household income. They will also be building a relationship with the community by exchanging cards, letters and pictures.
Before they left, Tamiru presented Mrs Barningham with a traditional woven basket for the school and Abba Solomon accepted a collection of English foods, including Tiptree jam and English breakfast tea from Ursula Reilly, the school’s business manager, who had helped to organise their visit.
Joanna Jarvis, joint diocesan manager for CAFOD Brentwood said ‘The school’s hospitality was wonderful and it was an honour to accompany Abba Solomon and Tamiru. I know that it has inspired us all to continue to change the lives of people in Ethiopia.’
Connect2 brings together schools and parishes in England and Wales with communities in Ethiopia and other poor countries which benefit from their fundraising so the two can gain a deeper understanding of each other’s lives, learn from each other and form stronger ties.