Reported by Dereje Girma
DTS Project Manager/Teacher
Christmas celebration with the students, families, neighbours and the community at Akako Village.
We (Ethiopians) celebrate the Christmas holiday on January 7th every year. This is because Ethiopia is home to Orthodox Christians that use a different calendar. We thus celebrated Christmas in our school on January 5th, just two days before the day itself.
In Ethiopia, celebrations carry great significance especially amongst families, neighbours and the community as a whole. Since intercommunal connection is tight, maximum effort is poured out to celebrate the holidays. People come together as a family, together with everyone who lives around them. That is why Ethiopia is the country of festivals!
Christmas is one of the biggest holidays here in Ethiopia. People celebrate by gathering as a family to enjoy, with festive food drinks and dancing! Christmas is also a holiday for giving out gifts. It is the only religious holiday that is celebrated in schools in Ethiopia.
Because of this holiday, we wanted to do something special with our students. Sayuri came up with the amazing idea of celebrating this Christmas with the community and raised a budget for the celebration! I was excited! This would also be a good opportunity to share our project with others.
For some people, it was also a rare chance to celebrate this holiday with the community as they are poor and don’t have the budget to celebrate in their respective homes.
Students and families celebrate Christmas
With the budget, we started to prepare. We cleaned the school compound. This took a lot of work and precious energy! Next, we bought Christmas decorations at Addis, the capital city, situated 10km away from our village. We then invited others in the community through word of mouth and adverts. Because of the love the people in the community have for the school, many were excited to be part of our Christmas celebration.
We completed all our preparations the night before.
Preparation to celebrate Christmas
Our Christmas celebration started at 9:00 in the morning and lasted until 1:00 in the afternoon. We had different activities i.e., songs and choreography by students, lots of food (cake, coffee, tea, candy) and drinks, competitions and much more! We also did a lucky draw, won by four people.
We had an amazing time celebrating Christmas with the community - the first of its kind here. The children’s excitement was infectious and spread to their families and to the community.
The purpose wasn’t only to celebrate the holiday with them; it was to also show them that there are people who support them, encourage them, and wish them to be happy.
We shared the support we got from Japanese people for the celebrations. We also showed the community that school is where children are happy, and that their education was key to a better future. After that program, we saw many parents who were inspired and amazed by what they saw during the celebration.
We had a successful Christmas holiday celebration in our school with the people in the community. I and our school staff and many parents were highly encouraged to see the happy faces of the children. I am honored and very grateful to be your partner in this project. Thank you for your heart of gold. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing for my community.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
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