A FORMER York head teacher has set out to achieve her life goal of building a school in Africa.

Sue Eland, who was head at Poppleton Road Primary School for eight years, and retired from her post eight years ago. She has since become a self-employed education consultant and has held jobs as an education adviser and a lead school inspector.

In 2017, Sue decided to pursue her dream and approached Link Ethiopia, a charity currently working to help build schools in Africa. She went on to form a partnership between them and the organisation she herself founded and of which she is CEO, Building Futures Ethiopia. This partnership works to give children the right to an education.

Sue then travelled to Ethiopia to find a suitable location to build the school. After visiting four villages, she chose Gendit, a small village in Northern Ethiopia. Sue said: “It was a tough decision choosing where to build the school as all the villages needed one. Building a school in Gendit allows the opportunity for up to 500 children to gain an education. In the area, most of the local children don’t go to school and are either trafficked out, married early or work at home.”

In February 2019, a ‘Breaking of the Stone’ ceremony was held to mark the laying of the first foundations. More than 100 village elders attended the celebration.

One year into the four-year project, six classrooms have been built and the school is due to open in September 2019.

The CEO said: “It’s a very long but exciting journey. I still live in North Yorkshire and I go out to Ethiopia twice a year to work with the director and the teachers, it’s been amazing.”

Each classroom will have up to 50 children. The Ministry of Education has agreed to provide textbooks and teacher salaries for the new school and the aim is to make it a model for other schools to follow.

The vision over the next two years is to build up to ten classrooms, a science laboratory and a library.

If you are interested in donating to this project or could put Sue in touch with any organisation willing to sponsor the project details can be found here.