3) Adams Thermal Academy Ottoro (ATAO)

Located approximately 137 miles southwest of Addis Ababa, Ottoro is an impoverished, lush, rural village. In 2006, the regional government drew attention to the lack of basic services in this community, which resulted in Ottoro being chosen for the development of what is now Adams Thermal Academy of Ottoro. Following the electrification of the village and the digging of a water well, two rooms were rented and teachers were hired to launch the school.

Orphaned and other vulnerable children living in extreme poverty, whom would otherwise have no educational opportunity, were targeted for enrollment. The official project plan was to have tuition-free enrollment and to add a grade level annually until the school reaches full secondary school status (K-9). The 2018-2019 school year saw the addition of 9th grade.

There are hundreds of applicants each year and class sizes are consistently at capacity. There are few opportunities in this area, especially for girls and for more than 520 students who struggle with the loss of parents, poor nutrition and disease. Because the children often come to class in tattered clothing and without shoes, uniforms were distributed. Tuition and all school materials are also provided free of charge.

Thanks to the help of dedicated supporters, the school now has a library and nurse's station. For the first time this past year, each student received a free health screen and follow-up medical attention as needed. Supporters have also contributed to clean water catchments, acquisition of medical supplies and completion of classroom blocks.

The enrollment process for the school is done in coordination with the local government, who help the Academy identify the children most in need, who may otherwise not have the opportunity of education. Adams Thermal Foundation is actively seeking sponsors for students so that more children can attend the Academy. Click on the Sponsorship tab to see unsponsored children now.

Leader
Ayalneh Wolde, ATAO Principal

Recent Updates

The Water is On in Ottoro & Tembaro!

Published Sun, Jan 20, 2019.

In 2013, when Adams Thermal Foundation (ATF) initially took over the operation of the school in Ottoro, they discovered the spring-sourced, gravity-fed system that had supplied water to the school was dried up and the infrastructure degraded. This marked the beginning of the Ottoro Water Project. A temporary solution was put in place when an alternative active spring was located and the infrastructure repaired. While water was once again flowing to the school, the supply was limited and would need to be upgraded further and stabilized.

Adams Thermal Foundation retained a water engineer and, working in conjunction with local government officials, began the search for a higher elevation spring source that could serve the school and local community for the long-term. The water team identified a source 4.6 kilometers away from the school at an altitude of 9,065 feet above sea level. The spring had a capacity of 1.4 liters per second and could easily fill most of a 50,000 liter reservoir overnight. Another smaller source with a capacity of 0.4 liters per second was located nearby. So negotiations began with local government and zone officials to cap both springs and distribute the water down the mountain with a gravity-fed distribution system. There were two primary issues to negotiate. First, the rights to cap the springs and use the water. The second issue was to establish ownership, administration and maintenance responsibilities so that the system would be kept in good working order. Agreements were made with both the Ottoro community, called the Duna woreda (district) and the neighboring Tembaro community, called the Bada woreda.

Vital to the success of the water project was the contribution of labor by members of the community. This labor served as the only investment the local community could offer. However, it also ensured maximum engagement and ownership by the community so that the long-term viability of the water system could be guaranteed. The community also provided some of the building materials that could be harvested nearby. Men and women, young and old, brought their farming hand-tools and began digging a trench for the water pipeline all the way up the mountain. Those who could not work came to offer encouragement and prayers for the laborers. No roads could access the water points or sources so all the supplies including sand, rock, cement, rebar, pipe, valves and fittings had to be walked up the mountain on donkeys and horses.

When the water was officially turned on on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, seven (7) villages comprised of 550 households and an estimated 3,300 users began receiving fresh, clean water daily through local distribution points just minutes away from their homes and Adams Thermal Academy Ottoro is tapped into the end of the new pipeline. The 560 students at the Academy are finally enjoying the permanent benefits of good sanitation, clean hands and faces, and pure water to drink as they grow and learn. Best of all, children are in school rather than fetching water several hours each day for their families.

Water Crisis in Ottoro - Part 2

Published Tue, Dec 11, 2018.

Water2.png

The school which is now Adams Thermal Academy Ottoro was opened in 2007 with a water source in place and some electrification. Having these resources was new to the community and the regular maintenance necessary to keep them operational fell behind. Eventually, the water valves and other system apparatus corroded and failed, leaving the school with no water for sanitation, consumption or any kind of a food program.

Initially, the Adams Thermal Foundation vision for the school in Ottoro was to add a grade-level every year until students could ultimately graduate high school. In Ethiopia, high school graduates with satisfactory academic performance can attend university or trade school for free. So the strategy was to grow from the current K-8th grade to high school as quickly as possible. But when Adams Thermal staff started to look at photos of the students in Ottoro, priorities changed.

Photos of students were taken for the new online child sponsorship application launched in 2014. Those photos displayed a marked difference between children in Hosanna and those in Ottoro. The students in Ottoro consistently showed signs of malnutrition and disease. In addition, teachers reported students fainting in class, falling asleep and other behavior detrimental to learning. So priorities for the school changed immediately. Plans were put in place to develop a meal program like the one in Hosanna and to find reliable water sources for the long-term.

Ottoro is rural and isolated with virtually no infrastructure. Setting up a food and water program presents many more challenges than operating in Hosanna, a city of approximately 80,000 people. Pursuit of a water solution must include the infrastructure that is lacking in rural areas. This increases the scale, timeline and cost of the project. Children's Home Society of St. Paul, MN - the organization that founded the school in Ottoro - had recently completed a gravity-fed water system in nearby Mudula just prior to Adams Thermal Foundation taking over the school in Ottoro. The Mudula system capped a spring at higher elevation and then allowed gravity and water pressure from a reservoir to distribute water down the mountain to Mudula. Other communities near the pipeline also benefited from the water through distribution points along the way. The success of the Mudula water system became the model for the water solution in Ottoro.

Adams Thermal Foundation retained a water engineer and, working in conjunction with local government officials, began the search for a higher elevation spring source that could serve the school and local community for the long-term. The water team identified a source 4.6 kilometers away from the school at an altitude of 9,065 feet above sea level. The spring had a capacity of 1.4 liters per second and could easily fill most of a 50,000 liter reservoir overnight. Another smaller source with a capacity of 0.4 liters per second was located nearby. So negotiations began with local government and zone officials to cap both springs and distribute the water down the mountain with a gravity-fed distribution system. There were two primary issues to negotiate. First, the rights to cap the springs and use the water. The second issue was to establish ownership, administration and maintenance responsibilities so that the system would be kept in good working order. Agreements were made with both the Ottoro community, called the Duna woreda (district) and the neighboring Tembaro community, called the Bada woreda.

Vital to the success of the water project would be the contribution of labor by members of the community. This labor would serve as the only investment the local community could offer. However, it also ensured maximum engagement and ownership by the community so that the long-term viability of the water system could be guaranteed. The community also provided some of the building materials that could be harvested nearby. Men and women, young and old, brought their farming hand-tools and began digging a trench for the water pipeline all the way up the mountain. Those who could not work came to offer encouragement and prayers for the laborers. No roads could access the water points or sources so all the supplies including sand, rock, cement, rebar, pipe, valves and fittings had to be walked up the mountain on donkeys and horses.

When the water is officially turned on in December of 2018, seven (7) villages comprised of 550 households and an estimated 3,300 users will receive fresh, clean water daily through local distribution points just minutes away from their homes. While Adams Thermal Academy Ottoro is currently drawing water from a short-term, low-capacity source, the school will tap into the end of the new pipeline. The 560 students at the Academy will finally enjoy the permanent benefits of good sanitation, clean hands and faces, and pure water to drink as they grow and learn. Best of all, children will be in school rather than fetching water several hours each day for their families.

Water Crisis in Ottoro – Part 1

Published Tue, Dec 11, 2018.

Like many African countries, parts of Ethiopia face severe water shortages, poor sanitation, and lack of access to clean water. A study conducted by Water.org concluded that only “42% of the population has access to a clean water supply” and only “11% of that number has access to adequate sanitation services”. In rural parts of the country, these figures are even lower, resulting in health problems in the villagers as well as their animals.

Drought over the last 20+ years has led to wells, streams, ponds and lakes drying up or becoming very shallow. Many people living outside of the cities collect water from these sources which, in their depleted state, are often contaminated with animal and human waste, worms and disease. During times of drought, disease runs rampant through small villages and towns. Frequently there is not enough water for people to bathe which leads to infections and sickness in children. Water borne illnesses, such as cholera and diarrhea, are the leading cause of death in children under five in Ethiopia.

Children, and especially girls, are often charged with collecting water for their families each day, which often takes three hours or more to complete. The water sources are rarely conveniently located so the children are required to haul empty jugs on foot or by donkey cart to the water, fill them up and haul them back, often traveling several miles in the process. In many cases the children spend so much time collecting water that they are unable to attend school.

In 2013, when Adams Thermal Foundation (ATF) initially took over the operation of the school in Ottoro, they discovered the spring-sourced, gravity-fed system that had supplied water to the school was dried up and the infrastructure degraded.  This marked the beginning of the Ottoro Water Project. A temporary solution was put in place when an alternative active spring was located and the infrastructure repaired. While water was once again flowing to the school, the supply was limited and would need to be upgraded further and stabilized.

To be continued…

Eating and Learning - The Role of Nutrition in Education

Published Tue, Dec 11, 2018.

Precious food at Adams Thermal Academy Ottoro in Ethiopia. The children are not playing with their food as it appears. Rather, in Ethiopian culture, it is an act of love to feed another person and to share what you have.

(Photo) Precious food at Adams Thermal Academy Ottoro in Ethiopia. The children are not playing with their food as it appears. Rather, in Ethiopian culture, it is an act of love to feed another person and to share what you have.

When Adams Thermal Foundation launched its child sponsorship program in 2013, photographs of children began to pop up on our sponsorship website. At that time, it was easy to pick out the children that were extremely malnourished based upon their physical appearance. The eyes, the skin, the teeth and their overall stature told a story of universal scarcity and disease. Teachers were calling out the challenges of keeping children awake and attentive - even sharing instances of students fainting and falling out of their chairs. In particular, the school in mountainous and rural Ottoro, Ethiopia involved a strenuous hike each day just to get to school. The village was also more prone to food and water shortages due to it's isolation.

Our school in Hosanna was more urban and connected to reliable sources of food and water. Although our enrollment criteria of serving only the poorest-of-the-poor kept students from enjoying the benefits of regular meals that are nutritionally balanced. A meal program was already in place when the Foundation took over the school in Hosanna in 2013. Water collection tanks served by a municipal water system also ensured that students had clean water to drink and for hand washing. The difference between the Hosanna students and the Ottoro students on the sponsorship website was obvious - so much so that even casual observers might ask, "what's wrong in Ottoro"?

As soon as we became aware of the nutritional and developmental deficiencies in Ottoro, we began putting together the pieces of a plan to implement regular meals and clean water access at the school. Without any infrastructure, we would need the means and methods of food supply lines, storage, preparation and serving as well as a new reliable water system to replace an old gravity-fed line that had corroded and dried up. We began with seeking out a delivery vehicle that could travel the rough the rough roads and transport supplies from local communities. Next came the buildings necessary to store food staples for 500+ children and some staff. Then came the kitchen and dining halls, built from indigenous wood poles, mud, grass, rocks, concrete and rolled tin. Last came the new gravity-fed water system which originated from a source 5 kilometers away at approximately 10,000 feet above sea level. The system would not only supply the school but also 3,000 other members of the local community.

In November of 2017, all the pieces were in place for students to enjoy a nutritious meal and clean water for drinking and washing. The celebration of these new resources at the isolated school was unprecedented and attributed to decades of prayer lifted up by current and previous generations. A church in the United States provided all the food for the first year of operations until child sponsorships could grow and cover the cost.

Already, the academic performance of students has shown improvement and behavioral issues due to malnutrition have been dramatically reduced. Medical issues that were largely gastrointestinal and attributable to poor sanitation and water quality are down sharply. Not only does the access to food and water aid the educational process, but this provision also incentivizes poor families to keep their children in the school program rather than requiring them to stay home and work.

While the first year of food supplies was provided by generous donors, child sponsorships in our program have still not grown to adequately cover the meal program in the coming year. If you would like to help provide food to the children in Ottoro, please call 877-678-1099 or email info@adamsthermalfoundation.org.

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Life Church Desks & Chairs

In the fall of 2018, leadership from Life Church came to Adams Thermal Foundation to ask about a need that could be address through the church's annual "Sunday of Generosity". One of the most press...

$14,000.00
Goal
$0.00
Raised

Ottoro High School Classrooms

On Easter Sunday 2018, Pastors Doug and Brian shared their vision for a new high school in Ottoro with the congregation at Hillcrest Church. Jesus has risen from the tomb and forever changed the co...

$30,000.00
Goal
$0.00
Raised
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