Graduation! What a Day!
There are two huge cultural celebrations for children within Ethiopia which become all the more important to celebrate when you are poor.
The one is a child’s first Birthday. It is a huge celebration for many families as they celebrate a child turning one. People invite as many people as possible, have a huge spread of food, and many with the middle class even have videographers and photographers present to capture the event.
So, in the Day Care we have continued to celebrate not only a child’s first birthday, but every month we have a celebration for all of the children whose birthdays fall in that month. It is worth celebrating, because the number of children who do not make it to their first birthday is still a large number throughout Ethiopia. Fortunately, that number is rapidly decreasing, but still today there is cause to celebrate large for every child that reaches Birthday Number 1. Their chances have greatly increased having survived that first year of life.
The second celebration is a child’s Graduation from Kindergarten. This celebration is complete with special ceremonies, certificates, caps, gowns and a party. This is an important marker because many parents among the poor never received an education themselves. This is a great sign of hope that their children are going to receive opportunities that they never had themselves. Moms cry, laugh and grin ear to ear as they watch their children receive their Kindergarten certificates. This also becomes a marker at age 6 that these children are beating the odds of child mortality and they are going to make it to adulthood!
Last Friday we had our first Kindergarten Graduation from the Embracing Hope Ethiopia School. What a celebration it was. The children showed off their English skills, performed skits and songs and special recognition was given for the children who were graduating to first grade.
It was a day filled with emotion. The Moms beamed from ear to ear. They laughed to the point of tears as they watched their children perform skits. They shared from their hearts about the difference that they have seen through EHE’s staff and programs. The shook their heads in disbelief that they are among the privileged whose children received a high quality Nursery and Kindergarten education and who now will receive the same in First Grade.
And then to top it all off, many of those Moms also graduated from EHE’s Literacy Program. Moms graduating on the same day as their children. How amazing is that?
Here is a short video capturing some of the Moms thoughts on why this was such an important day!
Please join us in congratulating the EHE Upper Kindergarten Class of 2015. We are so proud of these kids and their Moms! Here are 24 of their photos.