Board member Stephanie Bond and her husband Devin make a second visit to Adama.
They were once again able to witness lives being changed throughout the Seeds of Africa (SoA) community. It was so heartwarming for them to see all the progress made since their last visit and so much credit goes to the Ethiopia-based staff led by country director Bereket Yirgu. The staff’s dedication to the students and the families was incredibly apparent and the two of them could see the students soak up that energy and apply it to their studies.
As Stephanie and Devin entered the school, they were greeted first by the sight of significant upgrades to the classrooms and the student’s smiling faces beamed with pride as they lined-up to begin their first day of summer school.
In the classroom, Stephanie and Devin observed vast improvements in written and spoken English largely due to the addition of a vibrant, energetic English teacher from Kenya named Sandra. SoA understands that English is a necessity for students as they progress toward higher education and eventually the working world. The staff went on to explain that English proficiency is important for this next generation of young, ambitious Ethiopians who are striving to improve their country’s place in the world, as well as their own.
One of the highlights of their time in Adama was the business tour to meet micro-loan recipients and their favorite was the visit to the home of Alem. Alem took full advantage of the financial education and micro-loans offered through SoA and has become a budding entrepreneur. In less than two years, she has taken loans to purchase injera ovens, hired additional female staff, and is now able to personally deliver her highly- sought-after, high-quality bread to her top accounts. They learned that Alem’s daughter Messie wants to be a pilot when she grows up. And when asked about Messie’s childhood dream, Alem grinned ear to ear and responded in Amharic, “to fly above my home and drop money from the sky so I no longer have to work”.
However, Stephanie and Devin said what the trip really drives home is how similar we are as people (and children) despite a different culture, food, language etc. The excitement seen in a child’s eye when she solves a math problem or when he nails his English translation or when she unveils her science project, those are the same everywhere. When they talk to a mother who explains how she rises daily at 3am to run her Seeds-supported business so she can give her children a better life, that’s the same in every culture. In the end they were reminded that a child’s thirst for knowledge and a family’s hope for a better future are universal and it was so heartening for them to see SoA programs addressing those needs and more.
Finally, you may recall that Stephanie and Devin help host “Chefs and Seeds” each year in Dallas, TX. At the heart of this event is the fact that every child needs good nutrition to be successful at school and a lunch program is one way to address this need. Malnutrition prevents children from participating regularly and reaching their learning potential. Everyone knows growth and learning require energy in the form of calories, yet some children that attend the school battle hunger every day. Seeds of Africa understands the synergy between nutrition, education and health. So in partnership, Stephanie and Devin are focused on raising funds to establish a quality nutrition program for the school.
In part through a Dallas fall fundraiser, the couple is focused on raising $30,000. These monies will ensure SoA has the food and staff necessary for a stable, year-round school nutrition program. Stay tuned on how you can help ensure no child goes home hungry and that every child wakes up excited and able to learn, absorb, and conquer their dreams.
Stephanie and Devin experienced countless positives on their trip, with no shortage of things to be excited about. More than ever, they are convinced that the programs and services offered by Seeds of Africa will continue to transform families and lives for generations to come. Check out their Tuesday Takeover on our Instagram account and join them at their Chef and Seeds event this fall.
– Written by Stephanie Bond and Devin Benton
Want to donate now to the school lunch program – click “LUNCH PROGRAM DONATION”.