From Makeshift Shades to Proper Classrooms: Filimon’s Story

Monday 2 July 2018

With his two upper milk teeth pulled out, Filimon, ten, is a broadly smiling child who does not cover his mouth with his hands while laughing out as many children his age often do in an attempt to hide the gap. “A mouse took my teeth,” said Filimon, jokingly referring to what parents tell their children about who takes their milk teeth away.  “Those are gone once and for all, but I will grow new ones soon,” he added.

Filimon is a grade three student at Aba Hailemariam Full Primary School in our Central Tigray impact area in Ethiopia. A very active and clever boy, he has always stood first in class and according to Hagos Teklehaimanot, his Math teacher, “Filimon is a fast learner who always does his class and home assignments with regular accuracy.”

Filimon and many students in his batch used to attend their first and second grade classes in a make shift shade because there were no enough blocks at the school. The shade was “small and had no seats in it,” Filimon remembers and says, “we were sitting on stones and on the ground and the shade did not protect us from rain.”

While students can still use the shade during recess or to have their little talks with their friends, it is no more used as a classroom. In collaboration with the local community, Save the Children’s Sponsorship Program has built a standard block in which students, including Filimon, who are in grades one to four attend their classes as of the 2017/18 academic year. Filimon said he is “very happy to have moved into the new block because the classroom is comfortable and wide enough for the 52 students in our class.” Filimon and his classmates now sit on school desks Save the Children provided for their school and do their schooling, come rain or shine.   

Filimon loves Mathematics and the Sciences. Apart from doing Math questions in the textbook, “I really love solving the word problems in the other books,” he said, referring to the supplementary books provided through Save the Children’s Sponsorship programming to support Numeracy Boost initiatives. Under its Literacy Boost initiatives, Save the Children has also provided storybooks prepared in the local language to Filimon’s school – books with culturally appropriate content.

Filimon is right to make Math and the Sciences his favorite subjects because he said he wants to “become a medical doctor and help people to recover from their illnesses.” His Math teacher strongly approves of Filimon’s aspirations because “if he continues to be as fast and intelligent as he is now, and if he gets school and parental support and encouragement, he will definitely be what he wants to be.” Filimon said his parents are always supportive and that they encourage him to read and do home assignments.

Working in West Shewa impact area since 2009 and in Central Tigray from 2016, Save the Children’s Sponsorship Program has so far been able to support 262 primary schools and 213 pre-school centers, and we directly reached 291,648children and 46,600adults.