Sebeta School’s triumph: Empowering change through Local Fundraising
Nestled in the heart of Ethiopia, Sebeta School for Blind Children (SSBC) has stood as a sanctuary for visually impaired children for more than 70 years. Yet, like any institution, it faced financial hurdles in meeting the needs of its 246 students, including dormitory accommodations, food, and educational resources. An unforeseen obstacle emerged when their vital water supply motor pump suddenly malfunctioned, jeopardizing the school’s daily operations and requiring immediate action to secure clean water for its students.
It was at this pivotal juncture that Sebeta School embarked on a remarkable transformation, deftly converting adversity into an opportunity. Armed with the knowledge and skills acquired through the Change the Game Academy’s local fundraising training, they boldly confronted their water supply crisis. Principal Berhanu Bobo describes the impact of the training, stating, “This training was a game-changer for the school, equipping us with the tools to tackle our water supply crisis head-on. Leveraging the insights gained from the course, we initiated a comprehensive plan to address the water pump issue.”, he says.
Empowering Local Fundraising success through collective action
One of the most extraordinary facets of Sebeta School’s fundraising strategy was their decision to involve the primary beneficiaries – the students and members of the school community – in advocating for a new pump from potential donors. “They became the most compelling advocates for the cause,” notes Berhanu Bobo. This approach infused their project presentation with profound personal conviction. After all, who better conveys the significance of the motor pump than those whose daily lives depend on it?
Furthermore, Sebeta School recognized the critical importance of strategic donor engagement. Through meticulous mapping of potential donors, taking into account their interests, character, and circumstances, the school significantly increased its chances of securing support.
Following their earnest efforts, SSBC submitted a project proposal to Awash Bank, a local financial institution. Thanks to their well-structured approach and the persuasive advocacy of the students and community members, Awash Bank made the affirmative decision to support the school’s cause, donating approximately $6,000 USD. In a matter of months, the school’s water supply challenge was resolved, and a new motor pump was purchased. “From initial donor outreach to the installation of the motor pump, the entire process took a mere 2 to 3 months,” details Berhanu.
A cascade of positive outcomes
The impact of local fundraising extended beyond the water supply crisis. Sebeta School harnessed the power of effective fundraising through their existing management team, applying the “elevator pitch” concept to secure an additional generous donation—thirty white canes, valued at nearly $650 USD. Media outreach by Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN) not only resulted in valuable donations of mattresses, bedsheets, and blankets, worth over $1,500 USD but also significantly boosted the school’s visibility through a compelling video showcasing their activities. Additionally, the school received substantial contributions, including over 100 metal roof sheets and packs of nails, for constructing a vital storage facility following the patronage of Ethiopia’s First Lady, Mrs. Zinash Tayachew. Recognizing the potential for income generation, Sebeta School leveraged its resources by cultivating various vegetables within its compound, enhancing sustainability and resilience.
Sebeta School’s success story stands as an invaluable source of inspiration for grassroots organisations and communities across the globe. Their ability to translate knowledge gained from the Change the Game Academy training into practical action, engage beneficiaries in fundraising endeavors, and strategically approach potential donors exemplifies the potential of local initiatives to bring about transformative change. Their dedication to disseminating knowledge among teachers and the school community, along with their commitment to giving beneficiaries an active role in fundraising, epitomizes the spirit of community-driven change and empowerment.
Their journey from adversity to triumph serves as a shining beacon of hope, illustrating what can be achieved when a community unites with knowledge and determination to conquer challenges and shape a brighter future for its members. It underscores the profound notion that change is not only possible but achievable at the grassroots level, proving that empowered communities can indeed accomplish remarkable results. Sebeta School’s story illuminates the path for others to follow in their pursuit of positive change, offering a testament to the power of resilience and collective action.