Konjit lives with her family in Konso, a small farming town in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia.
She loves writing and excels in reading. When Konjit grows up, she wants to be a doctor so that she can help people. But five years ago, Konjit’s life was upended when her family was forced to flee their home.
“Everything was stolen and burned,” says Konjit. “We started from nothing here.”
Since late 2020, inter-communal conflict in the region has displaced more than 228,000 people, and thousands of children are out of school.
Konjit had never been to school, but along with her guardian, Abebe, the stabilizing force in her young life has become a Luminos classroom.
“Education is important for changing my future. If I’m educated now, I will get a job and help my family.”
Konjit, Luminos student in Ethiopia
Konjit (right) plays a clapping game outside the classroom with her friend. (Photo: Michael Stulman for the Luminos Fund)
“Everybody welcomed me,” she says warmly. In just one school year, Konjit is learning to read, write, and do math in a joyful and safe learning environment.
“At first, Konjit was shy, but now she has confidence in herself,” says Konjit’s teacher, Tiblet.
Last year, Luminos expanded to Konso to serve children displaced by violence, like Konjit, who face numerous barriers to education. In recent years, drought has brought an additional challenge by exacerbating food insecurity in the region. As part of our Konso effort, Luminos provides a free lunch for students.
“This might be the only meal they have today,” explains Tiblet. In addition to Konjit, Abebe has two other children in the Luminos program: Andinet, age 10, and Ashalo, age 8. He recognizes their family is unfortunately still an outlier.
Konjit (left) and her classmates enjoy the free lunch Luminos provides to students in Konso. (Photo: Michael Stulman for the Luminos Fund)
“Education is key to all growth… This is an important program, and I hope the government can expand it. If all schools had this approach, a generation with concrete knowledge can be created.”
Abebe, guardian of Luminos student Konjit
“The conflict has a big impact on education. Many children have no second chance at education because of conflict,” says Abebe. “There’s only a small portion of displaced children who are in school.”
Providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for children like Konjit is critical to ensuring that they are not left behind. The Luminos program not only offers education and nourishment but also instills a sense of hope and possibility for a better future.
“Education is important for changing my future. If I’m educated now, I will get a job and help my family,” says Konjit.
“Education is key to all growth,” Abebe agrees. He is committed to supporting Konjit’s learning journey.
“When Konjit comes home, I help her with her assignments. I want her to have a good education to get a job and I’m willing to help her all the way,” he says. “This is an important program, and I hope the government can expand it. If all schools had this approach, a generation with concrete knowledge can be created.”
Luminos is working with the Ethiopian government to do just that. Since 2017, the Ministry of Education has been rolling out the Luminos model nationally to reach out-of-school children, through a program known as the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), reaching over 65,000 children.
Konjit (right) studies in class. (Photo: Michael Stulman for the Luminos Fund)