The Muday Charity Association (MCA) is a locally-run, registered Ethiopian charity that focuses on providing education for underprivileged children and supporting vulnerable women through livelihood opportunities. The organisation is based in a deprived area in the outskirts of Addis Ababa and encompasses a primary school – the Fresh and Green Academy – as well as a workshop that provides single mothers with onsite training and jobs.
The Muday Charity Association was started in the year 2000 by Muday Mitiku. Having spent much of her teens volunteering at schools and community organisations, on graduating from high school she decided to open up a private kindergarten with a partner.
It was on her daily commute to the school that Muday became aware of the numbers of single mothers with children begging and living on the street. After enquiring why these women were not sending their children to school, they replied that they could not afford it (although government schools are ostensibly ‘free’, costs such as registration, transport, buying textbooks, stationary, uniforms etc are prohibitive to many). So she started inviting the mothers to send the kids to her school, free of charge.
The first obstacle came when she realised that she would have to start providing meals for these children as the paying students would bring lunchboxes while the poorer ones could not afford anything to eat. Furthermore, as the numbers of children coming for free education grew exponentially, parents who were paying for their children to attend became increasingly irate and eventually grouped together to deliver an ultimatum that either Muday would have to get rid of non-paying children, or that they would remove theirs.
Muday decided that from then on she would take only underprivileged children and split with her business partner. The first year was a struggle but she managed to stay afloat by asking for small sponsorship costs from her local community. She herself also branched out by creating several small businesses, the profits from which she ploughed back into the school. She also asked the mothers of some of the children, most of whom were destitute and working as prostitutes or beggars on the streets, to come and volunteer at the compound and help by cooking meals and cleaning. In addition, Muday and her husband personally adopted fifteen orphans, whom they look after alongside their own four children!
In 2005 she created the training/livelihoods branch of the charity. This aimed at giving additional skills to the mothers in activities such as cooking, weaving, pottery and so on. Muday pays them a salary and they sell some of their products at fairs and events as well as on the premises. Once they are fully trained up the mothers move on but are now able to earn a salary with their skills.
— THE AIMS OF THE MUDAY CHARITY ASSOCIATION
The Muday Charity Association provides vital and much-needed services in a deprived area of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In one of the poorest countries in the world, with no welfare system or safety net in place, organisations such as the Muday Charity Association play an extremely important role in providing care, community cohesion and educational opportunities for the most deprived and therefore most vulnerable sections of society.
The organisation provides two differing yet essential functions within the community. One aspect focuses on providing work and transferrable skills to vulnerable, mostly single women, often from abusive relationships or working in very low-income or dangerous work such as begging and prostitution as a means to feed themselves and their children. Muday provides these beneficiaries with jobs and salaries, teaching them handicraft, cooking and other skills, which allows them to provide for themselves and their families.
The other central role of the Muday Charity Association is to provide free education and support to children who are orphaned, or from impoverished or occasionally abusive families. It does this through an on-site school which provides for children from all ages ranging from pre-school care to kindergarten all the way up to grade 8, or secondary school. The Association also provides further financial and logistical assistance to children from grades 8 to 12 and even university in some cases. All the children receive additional support which they themselves, or their families, cannot provide, such as clothes, uniforms, stationary, medical expenses, and three nutritious meals a day.
The Association provides a vital function in the community, lending hope for hundreds of people and breaking the cycle of poverty by allowing women to make a living for themselves and their families and by giving children the chance at a good education and prosperous future.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Muday Charity Association is funded entirely through Muday’s own business enterprises and donations and sponsorships. While the livelihoods department is largely self-sustaining the school and associated costs are where funding is needed most. This includes outgoings such as renting the premises, paying teacher salaries, buying textbooks, stationary and other resources, buying food, uniforms, clothes and assistance with renting accommodation for families.
Wines That Make a Difference provides funding in the form of sponsorship for 50 students at the Fresh and Green Academy. This funding goes towards all aspects of the child’s education and welfare incorporating, among other things:
- Teacher salaries
- Food costs for three meals a day, seven days a week
- Medical costs
- Uniforms and clothing
- Textbooks, exercise books and stationary
- Rental costs for the compound
The sponsorship of 50 students also provides benefits for the organisation as a whole, relieving financial pressure on other aspects of the organisation and freeing up funds for projects such as:
- Teacher training – improving the quality of teaching at the Fresh and Green Academy by employing qualified teacher training specialists.
- Partnering with schools across the globe, allowing for programmes such as teacher exchanges or volunteer teaching.
- Improving quality of resources available, such as improved textbooks and learning aids and improving the IT department.
- Improving the scope and quality of extra-curricular activities such as art and music classes and sports.
— THE FRESH AND GREEN ACADEMY
- 205 pupils in classes from kindergarten up to grade 8 with each class ranging from 17 up to 25 students.
- Currently there are around 100 additional students being supported by MCA in secondary school (grade 9 to grade 12) and at university.
- There are 25 children with physical and/or mental handicaps who are taught in classes with the other students but who require additional care.
- The school is classed as a private school meaning that it receives no government funding and that it is allowed to follow its own curriculum.
- There are currently 17 teachers. Due to limited finances all are paid below what state school teachers earn, meaning that teachers at the academy are less well-qualified and more likely to leave as better opportunities present themselves. With our support we can improve wages and therefore the quality and consistency of education that the children receive.
— LIVELIHOODS WORKSHOP/TRAINING
- Started in 2005 to provide vulnerable women and single mothers with job opportunities and training.
- Many of the women have or had children attending the Fresh and Green Academy.
- Women carry out activities such as weaving, pottery, jewellery-making and brush-making, with products then being sold on site and at events and bazaars over Addis.
- When they join the programme, rent is paid for by MCA for three months, after which the women are able to support themselves through the salaries they are paid.
- So far over a thousand women have passed through the programme and are able to earn steady wages and support and educate their children.