Computer Education Project
Early in the planning of the Gara Dima Community Center, the founders envisioned computer literacy as a vital component. Gara Dima community members and especially village students must have at least a basic familiarity with what computers can do in the 21st century and how they operate. Exposure at an early age is viewed as critical. To this end, one of the Community Center cottages is now dedicated to instruction in Computer Literacy. So far, the cottage has been outfitted with donated chairs, tables and storage cabinets. In December, 2009, several used laptop computers were donated by Cupertino High School students who traveled to Gara Dima. In January of 2010, local teachers were hired to provide Gara Dima students and community members with classes in basic computer literacy.
Weaving Center Project
The Weaving Center is planned as a community income-generating project. In
December of 2009, a retired Community College instructor traveled from California to
Gara Dima to establish the center. To this end, weaving centers were visited in the capital
Addis Ababa to search out sources for weaving looms, tools, wool and cotton. In the
following week, basic rug weaving techniques were taught to community members in
Gara Dima in flat weaving and pile carpet weaving. In Addition, five vertical looms were
constructed for the Weaving Center. Gara Dima weavers were provided
with all the necessary weaving tools and wool/cotton supplies so that they could begin
weaving. Since then, Gara Dima weavers have been practicing their weaving skills by
weaving carpets which they are now selling for added income. The current plan is to
provide the weavers with additional training, assist them with product-marketing and to
purchase additional cotton and wool supplies as needed. We anticipate that more looms
will be needed in the near future and that, as weaving space becomes tight, looms may be
leased-out so that some weaving can occur in village homes. If you wish to assist the
weaving project, you may contribute to the list of current needs:
The Literacy Project
The goal of the Literacy Project is to teach reading and writing to those children who
have not participated in the local school system, mostly for economic reasons. Currently,
the Literacy Project is supporting children who never had a chance to go to school. We are currently adding an adult literacy component since many adults in
Gara Dima village do not read or write in any language, be it in Oromo or Amharic. You
can help by contributing to the following:
Bee Keeping Project
The Bee Keeping Project is envisioned as an income generating and skill training project.
Interested community members will be trained in bee keeping husbandry that is intended
to generate additional cash income through the sale of honey. In December, 2009, bee
keeping equipment was purchased in the capital Addis Ababa and transported to Gara
Dima, including wooden bee keeping hives, tools and safety clothing. Local bee keeping
experts will be hired to teach community members in bee husbandry. The following are a
list of current needs:
The Health Clinic Project
Gara Dima is a village which is some distance from even rudimentary health services. This is true in many areas of Ethiopia. The extreme poverty of Gara Dima citizens further complicates their ability to get the health services they need. Imagine, if you can, what it is like to be ill and perhaps in extreme pain with no help available. In Gara Dima, this is changing. The clinic is fully equipped by The World Family, with equipment delivered in 2009. The clinic will provide primary health care, including education in disease prevention, prenatal and postnatal care, HIV testing, and family planning. If you wish to help with this worthy project and relieve much suffering, the following needs have been identified.The
Gara Dima Clinic has been approved by the Local Health District to
expand to a "full service clinic", which will require the additional
construction of toilets, waiting room and a clinic laboratory.
Student Grants Project
The Student Grants Project provides educational grants to students so that they can continue higher education, especially students eligible for high school and university education. While the government of Ethiopia allows educational advancements for students who excel on district examinations, this does not provide families with the additional associated costs. In Gara Dima, students must travel away from home to attend high school and university, incurring living expenses, such as room rent and food expenses. There are also other associated expenses for equipment, uniforms or school supplies. This is especially difficult at Gara Dima village, where families struggle to feed and clothe their children. Student Grants will be distributed yearly to qualified students on the basis of student need as determined by a community grants committee in Gara Dima.
Womens Crafts Project
Income generation in Gara Dima is important for community development and improved living standards. The Adult Crafts Project aims to allow participants, mostly widows with small children, women in poor households and women with no income skills to learn additional skills and earn cash income through the production of saleable items, such as beadwork, basket making and jewelry making. Additional crafts will be added in the future.
Gara Dima villagers are stuck in a subsistence cycle which requires them to spend the little income they generate, if any, in order to provide for family essentials, especially food. With out access to some additional money, enterprising community members can not invest in the many small, life-improving ideas they have that may provide them with additional family income. Of course, the hard work and effort will be theirs in order to succeed but Micro-loans are a means for initiating these ventures.
Gara Dima General Fund
The Gara Dima Community Center is a complex which includes a health clinic, skills training rooms, educational classrooms, resource center, computer laboratory, administrative office as well as clean well water supply. Now that the Center is completed, on-going operational funding is needed to continue with
maintenance and supervision of the facilities. The General Fund is designed to assist with these costs. Though less inspirational compared to individual community
development projects, the funding of these expenses is equally vital. This fund allows for on-going expenses, such as the hiring of a Community Center Coordinator, Addis
Ababa support staff, guards, electricity/water expenses and general operation/maintenance of the facility.