This came during a special ceremony held Tuesday to mark the topping-out of a Chinese-funded, multi-purpose school building for Alpha School for the Deaf in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopia capital, attended by senior Ethiopian government officials, Chinese diplomats in Ethiopia, representatives from international charitable organizations, and members of the school community.
The latest support also features the donation of much-needed educational supplies to the vulnerable students at Alpha School for the Deaf.
Addressing the ceremony, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Women and Social Affairs Huria Ali acknowledged the Chinese government, companies and charitable organizations for their continued assistance in targeting vulnerable Ethiopians.
"In Ethiopia, the vast majority of people with disability are estimated to live in poverty and many of them depend on family support for their livelihood. They often experience discrimination, stigma and exclusion from education, health, employment and social protection," Ali said.
The state minister commended the Chinese government’s assistance in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in basic services. She said the latest support provided to Alpha School for the Deaf demonstrates the Chinese government’s commitment to supporting the East African country’s efforts to create a conducive environment for students with disabilities.
"The support empowers our dedication to addressing the educational gaps faced by the deaf community in Addis Ababa and most of Ethiopia," she said.
The multi-purpose school building, contracted by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), a Chinese construction company, is under construction with 1.5 million U.S. dollars donated by the Chinese government to Rehabilitation International (RI), a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting the rehabilitation and welfare of disabled persons.
Zhang Haidi, president of Rehabilitation International, at the ceremony emphasized the crucial role that the Alpha School for the Deaf is playing in terms of providing the necessary educational development for its students.
"When I think about children in the Alpha School studying in spacious and bright classrooms and how their fate might be changed with their time in this school, I feel that our work is so important and meaningful," said Zhang. "We are in deep love with this school. It is the seed we have sowed in Africa, someday the seed will grow into the most beautiful flower."
Zhang, who visited the Alpha School for the Deaf for the second time after her first visit in 2017, fondly interacted and motivated the school children, as she encouraged the school community to further sustain their positive contribution to students’ overall development in life.
Mola Wulie, the school director, said the continued support by Rehabilitation International (RI), with support from the Chinese government, has meaningfully contributed to the provision of quality education.
"With these various awards, it helps encourage the school community to work better," said Wulie, noting that the assistance has enabled the school to address the long-existed gaps that hindered the teaching and learning process.
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Zhao Zhiyuan emphasized the positive outcomes of the multifaceted Sino-Ethiopian cooperation, with socioeconomic contributions benefiting all segments of the two countries’ people.
Noting the importance of the recent establishment of the all-weather strategic partnership between the two countries, Zhao underscored the two countries’ strong commitment to advance cooperation targeting people with disabilities.
"This strategic decision will surely further enhance cooperation and exchanges in all fields including undertakings for disabled persons. China is ready to join hands with Ethiopia to advance further the international cause for the disabled," the ambassador said.
Liu Dong, deputy general manager of CCECC, pledged the company’s strong commitment to the timely and quality completion of the multi-purpose school infrastructure, as witnessed in the timely completion of the building’s main structure.
With a total construction area of 660 square meters, the building features classrooms, offices, a meeting room, a faculty lounge, a canteen for teachers, as well as playground facilities for students.