by Crystal Hayes

October 30, 2019

It that time of year again. Fall is here and school is back in session. I’ve left the United States after four month of living in our family home in Colorado Springs, CO and I’m now back in Ethiopia and wishing for my own chance to check in with those Trampled Rose girls who have moved up another grade, hear about those who graduated last year, and meet our new students.  

This is how it works; Trampled Rose (TR) has already chosen the rural areas where we help girls based upon the former obstetric fistula concentration, official food scarcity statistics, and locations where few others are helping. Each area has a public high school and a public preparatory school. 

In Ethiopia, most children have access to education up through the eighth grade but after that, the high school can be far away.  In fact, a percentage of TR girls walk nine hours each way to attend school. In each chosen area, there is a volunteer steering committee consisting of local government officials, school directors, teachers, and students. The application process to qualify for Trampled Rose status begins as the girls arrive back to school after the harvest is complete.

Trampled Rose girls are chosen with priority given to orphans, next priority goes to disabled girls, next goes to girls who walk a distance of two hours or more to school, next to those with bedridden parents, and any final spots go to the girls who are suffering from general poverty. Once a girl has been accepted into the TR program, her position is guaranteed until she graduates from the highest level she can accomplish. 

Each accepted Trampled Rose girl sets up her own banking account so that she can receive the funds she needs to provide her shelter, food, a required school uniform, required school supplies, menstrual care supplies, basic health services, and any other necessary thing she chooses. This form of help is considered a best practice and empowers the girl to take responsibility for her own future.

I’m often asked how I know the money stays with the girl. That’s easy. How much improvement does she make semester to semester?

Our plan is to begin our travels to the village of Sheno on Friday. There are sixty-six Trampled Rose girls. It will be me, my husband Tesfaye, and our driver who is from the area. I’ll share their stories soon.