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Volume 8, No. 1SPRING 2005

New textbooks will support
schools, academic achievement

IOCC is delivering nearly $1 million in new textbooks to schools run by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Here, two Ethiopian boys read from textbooks in a rural elementary school. Photo: Inia Asuncion-IOCC

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (IOCC) — In some parts of Ethiopia, children have only one textbook to a classroom, and their schools cannot afford new books.

But that’s about to change. IOCC is providing schools operated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church with enough textbooks to fill two 20-foot containers — a value of nearly $1 million. The shipment also includes classroom instructional aids such as rulers and maps.

“These textbooks and classroom materials will open new horizons of opportunity for the school children,” said Ivan Zivkovic, Serbia-Montenegro ambassador to Ethiopia, who, along with Los Angeles Laker Vlade Divac, is assisting IOCC with the project.

“I am pleased to join IOCC in bringing compassionate assistance to the children of Ethiopia — the same kind of assistance that IOCC has been bringing to suffering people in Serbia-Montenegro and throughout the Balkans for 12 years,” Zivkovic said.

The textbooks, donated by leading U.S. publisher McGraw-Hill through Brother’s Brother Foundation in Pittsburgh, will be used to teach English, math, science, history, physics and biology to students in grades 1-12.

“Most families in Ethiopia cannot afford to buy books, and students do not have textbooks to take home and use as a reference for studying,” said IOCC-Ethiopia Program Manager Ken Baker. “This donation will allow the students to have their own textbooks for each subject, and this will improve the level of learning and achievement significantly.”

Baker said the Ethiopian Orthodox Church began developing a parochial school system about 70 years ago and, today, operates thousands of schools across the country.

“These schools still need support from different sources to strengthen their capacity, and the lack of sufficient and appropriate textbooks is one of the major difficulties they’re facing,” Baker said.

The textbook initiative is part of IOCC’s newly-expanded material aid program, which leverages material goods from corporate partners and matches the aid with the specific needs of vulnerable people around the world.

IOCC currently is seeking private donations to cover the costs of processing, transporting and handling the textbook shipment. Such contributions provide a vital link in the provision of this aid.

“School teachers have clearly identified that this shortage of textbooks at all grade levels has significantly affected their ability to teach in the classroom,” Baker said, “and has generally resulted in a lower academic standing for the students, especially in rural areas.”

The textbook project is another example of how IOCC works to strengthen the humanitarian capacity of the Orthodox Church worldwide. In Ethiopia, IOCC also is partnering with the Church to implement an HIV/AIDS prevention and education project and an agricultural development project.

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