“If architecture is going to nudge, cajole, and inspire a community to challenge the status quo into making responsible changes, it will take the subversive leadership of academics and practitioners who keep reminding students of the profession’s responsibilities.” –Samuel Mockbee
The EthiopiaStudio2.0 sends 12 students and 1 professional architect into a remote village community 120 miles southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Africa. The story of this project began with a coffee bean farmer who only had enough money to send 1 of his 15 children to school. Unbelievably, that child not only went to primary, but went on to complete university in Addis Ababa and progress into a wonderful career that now allows him to return to his community and rebuild the school of his past. In collaboration with Mesganu Arga and through the help of Keri & Brian DeGuzman, Arizona State University, the Woreda Educational Bureau, and DeBartolo Architects, we find ourselves with a wonderful opportunity to design a new school which will address the educational needs of the community and provide an opportunity for the children of Mekana Kebele to complete elementary, junior, and high school and open for themselves all the doors of future potential. This renovation/addition will increase the number and quality of classrooms, provide space for a library & computer center, and bring hope for a future by changing the cycle of poverty through education.
EthiopiaStudio2.0 will develop the master plan, landscape and architectural design and construction documents for the immediate construction of these desperately needed facilities to support the growth of education and potential in Mekana Kebele.
The project, called Shebraber School, will be built with local materials in a manner that honors the indigenous culture of the Gurage region. Construction will be performed by Ethiopian builders and artisans; the facilities will be staffed by Ethiopians and will provide employment for many people in the community, creating hope and opportunity through meeting the desperate needs of the children and community. This school will begin the process of alleviating poverty and changing cultural attitudes towards women through education. We believe in the potential of education to alleviate the socioeconomic problems in a community and in facilitating sustainable development through education.
“Teaching a girl is teaching a society, while teaching a boy is teaching an individual.”