Did you know the sister city relationship between Denver, CO and Axum, Ethiopia has enabled hundreds of students in Axum to receive better access to educational resources? Wondering how? Read on!

Denver Sister Cities International (DSCI) along with diverse community partners including the Metropolitan State College of Denver (MSCD) students, faculty, and administrators formed the Ethiopia Partnership Support Committee in 2010 to implement a “textbook drive.” The idea for this drive was initiated after a visit by MSCD faculty to Ethiopia who saw that the newly established University of Axum (estd. 2006) had two library buildinga but hardly any books on the shelves.

In what was to be ultimately a highly successful endeavor, the Committee collected 9 tons of books! MSCD students and faculty, with support from all college departments, collected textbooks for the University of Axum. DSCI collected children’s books and school supplies for the Hawelti Elementary School in Axum and for additional elementary schools in and near Axum. The U.S. Department of Defense funded Transportation Program generously offered to transport the books to their destination.

The DSCI-MSCD collaboration also led to the building of a school in Axum. The project was a result of a 2008 visit to Axum by Dr. Ali Thobhani, the MSCD Executive Director, Office of International Studies,; and Dr. Carrie Besnette, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at MSCD who saw the dire need for a concrete school building in the region. With financial support from The Cunningham Foundation, a local Denver establishment: Strings Restaurant, and the Western Union Foundation the four-room “Gesseso School” was successfully inaugurated in summer last year.

DSCI has a history of educational programs in Axum. The sister city relationship facilitated the formation of the partnership between University of Axum and the MSCD. DSCI also ran a year-long project distributing water purification packets to all Hawelti Elementary School students and staff and monitoring their attendance records. It later assisted the school in the construction of a toilet facility and hand-washing basin.

DSCI is currently planning a 2013 delegation to Ethiopia. Click here to see details on how you can join them!