The Anglo-Ethiopian Society
From “GondarLink” to “Link Ethiopia”
Author - Chris Grant
To mark its tenth anniversary, GondarLink has undergone some major changes.
Still a unique organisation that creates and assists with the running of school links between the UK and Ethiopia, GondarLink was started ten years ago as a simple and single friendship between an English secondary school in Buckinghamshire and a large Ethiopian comprehensive school in the north of the country. Since that time, it has expanded and widened its interests to help other schools find partners in the Gondar region of this most fascinating part of the African continent. By involving themselves with letter-writing, email communications, assistance with resource provision, sponsorship of individual impoverished children and even personal visits to Ethiopia, these school links are a wonderful way of getting children to appreciate and experience something of a distant culture at almost first hand.
So why the name change? And what other changes are afoot?
Friends at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, the British Council in Addis Ababa, and elsewhere have been asking GondarLink to expand its area of interest in Ethiopia, so as to help schools in other regions to find partners and be able to involve themselves in these sorts of activity. A very thorough and colourful GondarLink website has interested thousands of people from all over the world in GondarLink's work, and they too have encouraged a widening of the charity's activities.
And so "GondarLink" has become "Link Ethiopia". With a new team of enthusiastic trustees, and the huge encouragement of presidents Richard and Rita Pankhurst in Addis Ababa, the charity has become independent and freestanding. With this change of name, it will not only spread its interests into other areas of Ethiopia, but also hopes to be more self-explanatory to companies and organisations from whom it hopes to seek secure sources of funding. GondarLink has already begun to help other groups to consider linking - a gymnastic circus in Azezo, an HIV/AIDS group in Gondar - and Link Ethiopia will be trying to find groups in both countries who might be interested in sharing their ideas and supporting each other in a variety of ways.
The next six months will be all about finding regular and reliable funding in order to make sure that Link Ethiopia's activities can continue in a dynamic and positive way. And at the same time, the charity will be looking out for schools and groups who might be interested in getting involved.
At this moment, Link Ethiopia needs to find two secondary schools in the UK who might wish to consider an immediate link, with two Gondar schools waiting enthusiastically for this to happen. So, if you know of anyone who would be interested here, let us know straight away and we'll talk further. And if you would consider getting Link Ethiopia's funding underway, we should also love to hear from you.
Please contact Chris via their website www.gondarlink.org.uk.