Our Focus

Today, our singular focus is to raise enough funds so that we can electrify the school and ship the computers.  We have collected over 120 computers now ready to be shipped.  However, without power in the school, the computers would not be put to good use.  So we are still continuing to ask our friends, families and everybody we know to help us reach that goal.

We believe that having access to the internet and online learning resources will help the students close the gap that exists right now.

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Support Zorat

Thanks to our supporters, Zorat Elementary School is one step closer to getting electrified.  We have now raised $12,000 as of April 2013.  We feel blessed to have your support and we know you will take us all the way to $20,000.  Give the gift of education.

EXCITED ABOUT LEARNING

These are some of the children of Zorat Elementary School. Fredericton’s Yemane Muzey, who grew up in Ethiopia and attended this school, raised money for soccer jerseys and soccer balls for the students there.

 

These are some of the children of Zorat Elementary School. Fredericton’s Yemane Muzey, who grew up in Ethiopia and attended this school, raised money for soccer jerseys and soccer balls for the students there. Muzey and his fiancée are now raising money for things like books, desks and chairs for the students.   Needs

http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/front/article/576018

 


By LORI GALLAGHER

Ethiopia and Canada are a world apart in things like lifestyle, geography and climate, but the two countries hold a special place in the heart of one local man.

HELPING ANY WAY THEY CAN: Yemane Muzey, who once attended Zorat Elementary School, and his fiancée, Katherine Toner, are raising money to purchase desks and chairs, library books and much more for students at the school in Ethiopia.

Yemane Muzey grew up in Ethiopia, only coming to Canada and beginning a life here at the age of 20. Now 42, he wants to give back to his country of birth, helping the children at his old school as someone once helped him.

His journey began at the age of 16-17, he says, when he left Ethiopia for the Sudan.

"I was in the Sudan for three years. The majority of those three years I spent at a refugee camp, but the first nine months were probably the worst part."

Ethiopia was hit by a devastating famine in 1984, but that wasn't the reason Muzey left the country.

"The famine hadn't started when I left, as it took me four months to get to the Sudan," he says.  He walked most of the way. "There were guerilla fighters that were fighting the government that captured us and we travelled with them," he says. "There were a lot of us, students, young kids, men and girls who had run away for the same reason."

The reason was the government in Ethiopia, which at that time was led by a brutal dictator.  "If you were of age, they came at night and took you to training camps, trained you for six weeks and sent you to the front line," he says, to fight in a civil war that had been going on in the country for 17 years. "There, death was but guaranteed."

As they made their way to the Sudan, they met people coming back who told them not to go, but at this point they had invested so much time, and they were afraid what going home would mean, so they continued on.  "We ended up getting to the Sudan and in a matter of weeks we found out there was no work and we had no food, so we ended up at a refugee camp," he says. "There were 24,000 people in the refugee camp I went to."

Muzey isn't sure if it was luck or destiny, but at the camp he met Canadian Harold DeCoste from Halifax, N.S. "It was his second day. He was with the Canadian military for 20 years and did peacekeeping missions, he was a major with the army. He had taken the 20 year plan and retired. Two days after his retirement, he was on a plane going to the Sudan to work for UNHCR, which is the refugee arm of the United Nations."  They met when Muzey overheard DeCoste speaking with another refugee and realized the answer he was getting wasn't correct. Though his English was limited, Muzey stepped in to help and their friendship grew from there. Not long after, DeCoste helped him get work as a watchman at the camp.  Even though he was a resident of the camp, Muzey didn't have a tent and instead slept behind a hut on the road. When DeCoste realized this, remembers Muzey, he wept.  "He took me with him to the UN compound and took a bed out with a mattress and sheets. This was heaven," he says. "I started living there and he saw me being active. I didn't just do my job and sit back."  His initiative impressed DeCoste, but the Canadian didn't consider the future until a nun from the U.S. asked him what he was going to do with Muzey. When she pointed out that he couldn't just send the young man back to the camp, he asked Muzey if he'd like to go to Canada.  "My world was so small that I hadn't a clue. My first instinct was, 'Will I ever come back?'"  What little he did know was the symbol on the bags of wheat being sent over by Canada, igloos and Eskimos up north.  Reluctantly he said, "sure."  At first DeCoste's parents attempted to adopt him, but he was too old to be adopted under Canadian law. Then DeCoste's siblings got together and created the DeCoste Group and sponsored Muzey to come to Canada.  "They are really, truly my family in Canada," he says.

He was 20 when he arrived. He went to high school in Halifax, completing grades 10-12, then went to Dalhousie University and did a business degree, eventually moving to Fredericton. Muzey has since travelled back to Ethiopia to visit his home and family six times. On his last trip, he began a project to help the school he once went to called Zorat Elementary in Axum, Tigrai, Ethiopia.  "I have been the recipient of so many gifts from strangers that are now my family. They didn't know me, but they opened their homes, their hearts and their wallets," he says. "For me, it changed my world."

When he lived in the Sudan, the nun he met from the U.S. once told him that there would come a time when it would be his turn to help.  "I never forgot that. I didn't fully understand what she meant (at the time)," he says, but now he does.  He's quick to point out that he's not a saint. He wants as much as the next person - the house, the car and other material things that make life comfortable. Last year, he says, it dawned on him that the list of things he wanted to do for himself would never run out. There would be no perfect time to help others.  He still wasn't sure how he would give back when he met with Mike Washburn. He was telling him about his plans for the trip to Ethiopia and all he and his fiancée would do while there, including visiting his old elementary school. Muzey had some school supplies he was taking over and mentioned that if he had the money, he'd like to be able to get the school soccer team jerseys and soccer balls. Washburn immediately wrote him a cheque to help out.  Muzey was shocked. He told the story when he got back to his office and immediately got another donation. That inspired him to do more fundraising among his colleagues and in 15 minutes he had raised $900.

"I called my brother and I told him to purchase some soccer jerseys at the local store so we could deliver then when we got there," he says.  When they visited, they went to the administration office to explain what they were doing and why.  "They pulled an assembly of the entire school, 1,700 students," he says. "They have two shifts, morning shift and afternoon shift, because they don't have enough classrooms."

He remembers the assembly being a sea of kids in blue uniforms, all who were thrilled with the presentation. That's when he knew this is what he should be doing - helping that school and in turn helping not only those children but future children who will go there.

The initial goal is $40,000, to raise money for everything from seating to uniforms to relevant books for the library to basic lab kits for science class."Twenty-five per cent of the kids don't have any seating, so they are basically sitting on rocks," he says. "It's very difficult to learn when you're sitting on rocks all day."



Life there is hard enough as it is, yet even with the hardships these children are so keen to learn, he says.  "The bigger picture is that they really are truly the future of Ethiopia. It has had famine and war and so many hardships. It's one of the poorest countries in the world," he says.  And while it has gotten assistance and money from all over the world to help, it just fed the people for a day. It didn't change anything.

"I truly believe this is where the real solution is, at the grassroots, kids being educated in the right way," he says. "They cycle has to break and the education piece is missing to a large extent."  He adds, "I know we're just doing this on a small scale, but somebody did something for me and my life changed. And my families life changed."

All the money raised for Zorat Elementary goes directly to Zorat Elementary, stresses Muzey. He is working to set the project up as a charity, but for now any donations are a gift.



To learn more, visit www.zorat.org. Muzey says he would be happy to answer any questions.

 

 

Recently, a family donated $365.00 to Zorat.org.  This is the third time this family has done it.  We are so grateful for their continued support.  Thank you very much.  When ever we visit them around Halloween, they gave us their donation on a brown bag.  They save $1/day for the year just for zorat.  $1/day seems very small and easy to do but it goes a long way for our cause.

We hope there will be more people who can do the same as this family.

In three years, we have done several projects for the school. We have achieved our goal of having all students a chair and a desk, we have provided funding for uniforms for kids that are Orphaned and we have bought 570 books! Now the Tigrai government has promised us that they will electrify the school.

Our effort will now focus on finding computers loaded with free educational software that can be used by the students. We are looking at logisitics of how many and when we will begin to collect computers.  We look forward to your continued support.

18¢ per day can change 2000 Students in Ethiopia!

$ 20000
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donation thermometer
$ 12000
donation thermometer
60%
Updated
14/04/2013

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Contact us

117 Sunset Dr.
Fredericton, NB E3A 1A2
Canada
Tel: 506-452-6789
Fax: 506-452-6787
Web: www.zorat.org
Email: school@zorat.org

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Current happenings

We have no completed the instillation of open source software on all the computers we have collected!