4Mati Foundation’s most recent project is Shebraber Primary School in a remote village 150 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There are currently an estimated 10,000 school-age children living within this community. These children have access to one school that provides minimal education only up to grade 6. The nearest secondary school is a four-hour walk through a hostile environment. Many of the children are physically unable to make the walk and fear the risk of attacks from wildlife. Girls in particular are at high risk of rape or being stolen into the sex trade. Sadly, many drop out of school and are thrown back into the cycle of poverty.
Conditions of the current classrooms are deplorable and there is no running water or electricity. Often teachers are forced to hold classes outside because of overcrowding, and to help limit the spread of disease.
The school community is poor but progressive-thinking and passionate about providing education to its children. In July 2010, Brian and Keri deGuzman were first introduced to this community by Mesganu Arga. They listened to countless stories from local officials, school board members, teachers, and parents about their passion to change the future of their children through education. The deGuzmans were inspired not only by these stories but by the children who shared dreams of becoming a doctor, a teacher, or an engineer despite their current circumstances. Brian and Keri pledged their fullest support to the community, thus becoming a passionate project for the 4Mati Foundation.
In September 2011, Arizona State University School of Design, under the leadership of Jack DeBartolo (DeBartolo Architects), sent 12 graduate students to design a new Shebraber School. After a 10-day stay in Ethiopia and a semester-long study, designs for a new, 15,000-square-foot Shebraber School were born. Every aspect of the local community was examined and incorporated into the design, which includes all-local materials, agriculture and labor. The project was designed not only to change the lives of thousands of children through education but to lift up a community in hope for a better future.
The 4Mati Foundation is committed to raising $450,000 for the first phase of hope for the students of Shebraber School.
Read more about Shebraber School.