In our rural area, families are under great social and political pressure each year to enrol their children for school. However, actual attendance at school falls far below the enrolment statistics. This is because some families cannot afford the pen and exercise books needed for attendance and some children stay at home and work in their homes or in the fields. In schools where we have been involved, the gap between enrolment and attendance may be up to 50%, especially at critical times in the farming calendar.

In the past, more boys than girls have attended school. However, in the last 10 years, our experience has seen equal attendance of the sexes, with a slightly higher proportion of girls than boys at High School level.

Progress from Elementary School (grades 1 to 8) to High School and then Technical College or Preparatory (pre-University) School is by academic progress, not age. A Grade 8 classroom may include students aged 20+ alongside 14-year olds.



 Teaching continues in a collapsing block of 2 classrooms


showing an untreated spring

New block to provide Grade 5-8 at Irfa


poor foundations

Village school built on poor foundations


showing an untreated spring

New classroom – desks made in Lalibela, funded by Rotary International

poor foundations

Tree classrooms remain in our area


They cannot afford pen and exercise books so cannot go to school


A hostel on the grounds of Lalibela High School was constructed in 2010 by a local Ethiopian NGO to accommodate 36 girls from rural areas who had reached, often with a struggle, Grade 8 in their local schools. Such girls often cannot move on to High School in Lalibela because of the cost of food and renting a room there, and the security issue of walking alone, often long distances in the mountainous countryside. The project failed for lack of money. In 2021, Create Impact stepped in to fund the girls’ total basic food needs, plus extra security 24/7, cooking equipment, bedding, cleaning materials, etc. for 4 years.



The hostel – six newly laid plots in front are for girls to grow vegetables

6 girls share each room

Lalibela High School – Millfield School, Somerset, (UK) Link


Lalibela High School has 3,000 students in Grade 9 and 10 – many from the surrounding rural area. Millfield School students have collected money for facilities and materials for the High School since 2005. Projects have included: sports equipment, many desks and reference books, clean water reservoir and distribution points, electricity installation and equipment for plasma teaching, female latrine, and a chemistry laboratory refurbishment.

A major project in 2018 was three IT labs. For this and Millfield School contributed funds for refurbishing 3 classrooms, 80 professionally reconditioned computers, and a major training programme for teachers and the School’s technician.

Visits: In addition, groups of Millfield students have visited the High School in recent years to engage in seminars, sports, etc. Hopefully, they will visit again when Ethiopian security and Covid conditions allow.


new lab

 One of the three new IT labs

New latrine for female students funded by Millfield School

Total Benefitting from all these Education Projects


School construction: 57 classrooms   2 shifts per day: 34,000 students benefitting

Lalibela High School: 3,000

Hostel: 36