Enhancing children's creativity through school innovation centers

Bereket Bedeke, 16, lives in Soddo town, some 480km south of the capital Addis Ababa. Bereket lost his father at two. As his mother had no means of earning life, she had to get married to another husband. Breket, therefore, had to be given to his grandmother to be raised without quenching his mother’s love. His grandmother was so poor that she had to live by collecting firewood. Leave alone providing him with nutritious food, feeding him three times a day with same sort of food was a tough challenge for her. At the age of five, Bereket had to join his grandmother to collect firewood. Attending school in the morning, he had to collect firewood and sale in the afternoon to subside his grandmother. When he was in grade five, her health deteriorated severely. So he had to quit school and take the responsibility of feeding her by collecting and selling firewood. “I love my grandmother so much, instead of seeing her die of lack of food and poor health condition, I preferred to quit school to take care of her,” he sadly recalls. World Vision, through its Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation (E-FACE) Project, met Bereket in the year he quit school. Having understood his miserable life situation, the organization, through USDOL fund, has begun supporting him since then. It has been providing him writing materials, garments and shoes to restart schooling. His grandmother was also supported with food. Bereket is now back to school. He says, “I have great interest for innovation. I like to recreate things I saw.  I have innovated cars, solar battery with thrown away materials before I was introduced with World Vision. I could have created more had it not been for financial challenges.” World Vision provided training on innovation to eight schools’ students and teachers who have talents to innovation. Bereket and his school innovation club members (30) were among the participants of the training. World Vision also reorganized and equipped innovation centers of each school with necessary materials. After such support, Bereket has innovated a number of amazing things. “I have innovated a modern ventilator, a refrigerator, incubator, false banana grinding machine, a cask, a microscope, a boiler and so forth. I am also close to finish innovating bricks producing machine,” he happily explains. His wonderful innovation has brought him two awards from his school and zonal authority. And he says, “I have a dream to continue innovating so many useful things for my country if there is someone who can provide me raw resources for innovation.”  He is grateful to World Vision. He says, “Had it not been for World Vision training and material support, my talent would have been of no use. God bless World Vision.”