(photo: Gabriel Delmonaco)

“We Are So Grateful to You”

by Elyas Getachew

In 2009, thanks to a partnership between Bill Doty and benefactors of CNEWA like you, the Kidane Mehret Catholic School started offering students the opportunity to attend the 11th and 12th grades. A recent graduate writes from Ethiopia to share his story and his gratitude for you.

The day was Friday, 26 June 2011. It was our graduation day, and also the day when we learned the results of our university entrance exams. We started the program at 8:30 a.m., and it was great. My friends and I will never forget it. We were all happy, even though there was a sad event two months before our graduation.

Betty Was Her Name

In April, one of our friends suddenly became sick. Betty was her name. She could not eat, talk or walk. She could not get out of bed, because her leg did not work. It was very serious. At last, the doctors said Betty should go to Addis Ababa for treatment.

But there was a problem. Betty did not have a mother or father. She lost them when she was just a child. She had three brothers and three sisters, but there was no peace among them. Even when Betty was sick, they did not take care of her, except for one sister. In short, it was complicated.

We decided to help her. Each of the students gave 50 birr ($2.82) to Betty’s sister, and Father paid for an ambulance to transport Betty to Addis. We also collected money from teachers and other workers at the school, and thanks to them, it was enough.

The day after Betty went to the hospital, she improved a little and could even drink water, even though she still could not talk. But we were happy for her. At the same time, we were sad for her two best friends, who cried in the class and couldn’t learn properly. We all prayed together.

After one week, Betty’s sister told us the really, really bad news. It was the worst news I have ever heard, and I never expected it. I cannot tell you how we felt when we learned Betty died. She had big dreams and was a clever student. Her behavior was so sweet, and she was a source of happiness for us. It was really hard to accept that she was dead. The whole school cried.

I understand I am writing a lot about Betty, but I cannot represent her life in a small space. At graduation, we cried for our sister. But she was with us at that time. Let God keep her soul in heaven.

If Not For You

The good news is that we graduated and our entrance exam results were great, except for one student. But now she is in Norway, and I heard from her family that she is continuing her education there.

We and our families are so grateful to the CNEWA family and Mr. Doty. If it were not for you, we could not have gotten a good education.

What I am trying to say is that regular schools do not have as many resources as we have. Regular schools may have a science lab, but not enough lab material for the students. Regular schools do not have a sufficient number of computers, but we have a computer for every student who needs one. Thanks to CNEWA, we have enough.

I always thank God because He is always with me. I also thank CNEWA because you are my source of success. God willing, I want to graduate from university and help my family, my school and my country.

I have a message for the CNEWA family: Please continue what you are doing for our school and our brothers and sisters there. Because the number of students is increasing, I worry that there will not be enough teaching materials for them. Before that happens, I want you to be with them and with us.

Tags: Ethiopia Education Donors Catholic education Catholic Schools

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CNEWA was founded by the Holy Father to share the love of Christ with the churches and people of the East. As Catholics, we respond to Christ’s call “that all may be one.” CNEWA connects you to your brothers and sisters in need and, together, we build up the church, affirm human dignity, alleviate poverty, encourage dialogue and inspire hope.