Commercial School of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


1966-1967 Commercial School of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I was recruited from University by United Nations Association – International Service of the UK, one of the (at that time) 5 organisations sending British volunteers overseas. I asked to be sent somewhere which was not ex British Empire. I was trained in the UK in TESL (teaching English as a Second Language) and sent on 2 year volunteer contract to the Commercial School of Addis Ababa, a Govt of Ethiopia, Ministry of Education, secondary vocational training school in Administration and Commercial topics. I taught English as a Foreign Language to senior classes. My supervisor was a Scotswoman called Jeannette Bride and the local supervising organisation was the British Council.

It was challenging to be a teacher, and surprisingly exhausting, but my interest in teaching young Ethiopians in the formal school system was not very high. During the year of 1966-67 I became very involved in the work of the Ethiopian Government’s Rehabilitation Home for Juvenile Delinquents in Addis Ababa and spent most of my time there, being supervised by its director Mabrahtu Yohannes. Mabrahtu had, in collaboration with the British and Ethiopian Churches, had started a welfare association (the Ethiopian Child and Family Welfare Association – which he led) to try and catch and reform young street kids before they were caught by the police and sentenced to the Rehabilitation Home. I became very involved with that as well.

After one year at the Commercial School) I requested, and obtained, permission from the British Council to change my position from being a teacher to being a social worker with street kids , attached to the ECFWA.

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