African learning experience

Julie Scanlon and Jacqui Gilmour hold a photograph of School of St Yared student Abech (second from right), her brothers and mother. Picture: Jon Bassett
Julie Scanlon and Jacqui Gilmour hold a photograph of School of St Yared student Abech (second from right), her brothers and mother. Picture: Jon Bassett

‘Some live on the streets, and the criteria to get into the school is poverty, but we try to choose the bright, resilient kids,’ volunteer teacher and Cottesloe resident Julie Scanlon said.

An English as a second language specialist, Ms Scanlon twice a year teaches children and teachers at the 134-pupil School of St Yared in the north-east African nation’s capital, after it was established by Hope for Children charity founder and Peppermint Grove resident Jacqui Gilmour four years ago.

The students, the brightest from each family, get three meals a day to ensure their physical and educational development while studying subjects including English, art, maths, drama and sport.

‘During school holidays, they were all lining up to get reading books and I said to them, ‘you must have read these five times each’, and they said they had 20 times,’ Mrs Gilmour said.

An $1100 sponsorship gives each student a year of education, which 75 per cent of Ethiopian children have no access to.

A comedy night has been organised to raise the money that allowed 10 children to go to the school last year.

Tickets for the 7pm event at Santa Maria College, Attadale on October 11 are $40 and available by emailing sponsorship@schoolofstyared.com.