Cherrytree Bakery’s Joshua Entwistle said it was a humbling experience as he helped to open a school in Ethiopia financed by the company’s profits.
Joshua, the bakery’s Product Development Manager, along with his dad and Managing Director Gary and Joshua’s sister Lydia went to officially open the school in Shifo, a remote part of Ethiopia.
The school has been financed by the company via the Costa Foundation – Cherrytree Bakery, on Billington Road, supply all the muffins to the Costa Coffee chain and the school was built for a coffee growing community.
“We had a tour of sites of schools due to be built or ones which have been built in the area and it was a real eye-opener,” said Joshua.
“What the Costa Foundation do is build the school as well as providing text books, teacher training, clean water points and more and they also work with the local community and local government to run it.
“It’s about self-sustainability and empowerment, giving the local community the chance to develop their local economy themselves instead of relying on contintuous foreign aid.
It’s about self-sustainability and empowerment, giving the local community the chance to develop their local economy themselves instead of relying on contintuous foreign aidJoshua Entwistle
“In return, the community provided us with the land to build the school on and they monitor the project through a local committee to prevent corruption.
“The local government also provide the school with essentials such as an external electric supply, the teacher’s salaries and administration costs.
“It means generations of people will have access to secondary education for the first time.”
Joshua added: “It was such a humbling experience. Some of the places we visited, without schools, were so improverished with little sanitation and the people there had absolutely nothing.
“Then we visited places with schools where there were children sat alongside 50 and 60-year-olds who had never had the chance to have an education and it was great to see.
“It can have such an impact on health, gender equality and economic improvement and there are extra curricular clubs at the schools on environment, health and gender.
“It also encourages improved sanitation, HIV awareness and prevention, better family planning, recycling practises and a generally better standard of living.
“It was overwhelming to see and great to officially open our school.”