Education opens doors for changing one’s life. Education gives you multiple avenues to success. By education, it means for me every type of education – in and out of school. Anything new and useful that we learn will contribute to change our lives.”


Tegitu, Second Chance teacher

Tegitu experienced the joy of education early as a child. She attended primary and secondary school, and looked forward to continuing onward to grades 11 and 12. “If I were a man, I would be able to go to [the next town over], stay in a rented house with a group of other students and would complete my preparatory education and join university. I couldn’t go to the next town to continue my education – because I am a woman. My parents couldn’t let me go in fear of other risks.” As a result of being unable to continue her education and go on to teacher’s college, Tegitu wasn’t qualified to work as a government school teacher. However, bright young adults like Tegitu hold incredible potential. Luminos has had great success recruiting and training local young adults with at least a 10th grade education to serve as teachers in our Second Chance classrooms. In a Luminos classroom in the Sidama region of southern Ethiopia, Tegitu found her own second chance to pursue her love for education and became a Luminos teacher four years ago.

This Women’s History month, we want to honor the many incredible women who are integral to the Luminos Fund’s mission of providing transformative education programs to thousands of out-of-school children by teaching every day in our Second Chance classrooms. Luminos teachers (a mix of both men and women) have made it possible for us to reach 152,051 children with joyful, quality learning. Luminos strives for gender equality in all our classrooms (49% of Luminos students in Ethiopia are girls this year), and women like Tegitu help students form a solid foundation for their education. Recently, we accompanied Tegitu for the day as she shared what she loves about teaching and education, and her hopes for her students and women in Ethiopia. 

School begins at 8am Monday through Friday with Tegitu taking attendance and then starting on the first lesson of the day. Luminos Second Chance classes are capped 25 students unlike conventional schools which often have 45 students per teacher. The smaller class size allows teachers like Tegitu to spend more time with each student and better assess their needs. In the Second Chance Program, previously out-of-school children learn to read and do math in just 10 months through an accelerated learning curriculum. Most importantly, Second Chance teaches children to learn how to learn, a skill they will use all their life.

Today’s initial lesson is on vowel identification, after which students divide into five small groups that they rotate through during the day. Each group is tasked with coming up with uses of the vowels that go along with their station. For example, the Handicraft Group might create tactile, 3D versions of vowels using clay or bottlecaps. Engaging with core concepts in multiple ways ensures students really internalize the lesson.
Here, the Crafting Group is making vowel flashcards. In addition to supervising self-directed learning, Tegitu continually assesses her students to see if the concepts are sticking. This enables her to support struggling students and make sure everyone is keeping up with the pace of the curriculum.
Last year when classrooms were closed, Tegitu taught micro-classes comprised of five students outdoors. “It was quite a unique experience teaching five students at a time,” Tegitu said. Second Chance classes reopened in Ethiopia in November for the 2020-21 school year, and Luminos provides all classrooms with masks and handwashing stations as COVID-prevention measures.
The Second Chance program’s activity-based curriculum takes place inside and outside of the classroom. Here students are playing a game called Father Jacob, which is similar to the games Duck-Duck-Goose or Musical Chairs and reinforces letter identification. Tegitu says her students have the most fun, “when they are given a competitive assignment and when they are given project work which involves different skills. Amazingly, they are also happy to teach others, to write on slate boards and the black board. Moreover, they enjoy all interactive teaching and learning process-songs, and other activities.”
Tegitu lives a 30-minute walk away from the Second Chance classroom with her family. Every morning, she and her children walk together to school for part of the way. Her daughter (left) is 12 years old and her son, who is 7 years old, just started school for the first time this year. “My dream is the dream I have for my children,” Tegitu says. “I always pray for my children to grow up healthy and become successful in their life.”
In their home, Tegitu, her husband, and two children eat meals together. The meal above is comprised of chechebsa, a barley-based bread that is fried with spiced butter and can be served with vegetables. Family members take turns feeding one another in displays of affection, and to help the youngest ones.

Hopes for the Future

Tegitu has high hopes for the future of women in Ethiopia and says, “I dream Ethiopian women will conquer key positions in government and the community with at least equal numbers as men. I wish men could share the burden of women at home. I wish I could abolish all domestic violence against women.” For girls, Tegitu sees education as a critical way to counter structural marginalization. “If girls have a good education,” she says, “they can stand up for themselves.” Ultimately, Tegitu believes education leads to a better life for girls and their future families.

“I want to see my students become outstanding students recognized at the regional and national level. I want them all to complete high school and get some kind of training that enables them to lead a successful life. Above all, I dream young people will grow up in high discipline, loving their country, and becoming hard workers.”


Tegitu, Second Chance teacher

Luminos is proud to have inspiring, empathetic teachers like Tegitu in our Second Chance classrooms. Their tireless efforts transform the lives of some of the most marginalized children around the world, unlocking the light of learning to create brighter futures across communities and generations.


Photo Credit: Mekbib Tadesse

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+1 781 333 8317   info@luminosfund.org

The Luminos Fund is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt charitable organization registered in the United States (EIN 36-4817073).

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