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Ethio-Day at Putney High School!

Out of the Box has officially hit the ground shaking! Thursday, February 5th, 2015 was first official Out of the Box fundraising event at the Putney High Junior School, and it was an incredible success!

The day began with the sale of authentic Ethiopian scarves of many different colours and designs. The scarves were a big hit amongst many of the girls (and parents as well), who were eager to complete the Ethio-Day look — as they were already wearing the Ethiopian colours of red, green, and yellow to school in anticipation for the day’s events.

Following the palpable excitement already in the air surrounding all that was to come, the day proceeded with a series of assembly presentations and workshops by the OTB team. The assembly discussions focused on the project’s mission, as well as some fun facts and information about Ethiopia to help the students foster some broader connections to the project locale of Addis Ababa. There were also a number of workshops with smaller groups of students, which further engaged the girls in a more in depth way with the ideas behind this project, through informative dialogue regarding life, education, and play in Addis Ababa. The objective, as such, was to allow the girls to form an understanding of the similarities and differences between their lives here in the UK and the lives of those children this project is aimed at assisting.

Perhaps the main event of Ethio-Day, so to speak, was the grand Ethiopian dance fundraising challenge that happened just before lunch. This event saw two Ethiopian dance experts, Teddy and Daniel, lead the entire Junior School to see how long everyone could shake! The Year 7’s, having become experts in their earlier lesson with Teddy and Daniel, were also present to help teach the younger girls the entertainingly rigorous Ethiopian dance session. Needless to say, the sponsored dance went on for much longer than expected — over 15 minutes, in fact! Furthermore, by the level of engagement shown by the students (and even many teachers), it certainly seemed the highlight of everyone’s day!

The overall aim of Ethio-Day was to spread knowledge and foster a connection between young people locally, and those in Ethiopia whom the OTB project is working with, as well as to raise funds to go towards carrying out the OTB project which aims to build a children’s playground and community centre in Balderas condominium, Addis Ababa. Such goals were reached and even surpassed, as the level of engagement and interest shown by students and staff members throughout the day towards the project was overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the exciting and informative engagement the OTB team got to experience with the students, the funds raised through scarf sales, student commitments to the group dance, and other donations totalled just over £2,500. This impressive figure, along with the positive feedback received from all those involved, suggest that Ethic-Day was indeed a smashing success — an enjoyable and informative event for the students and others involved, and one which will undoubtedly have a great impact on carrying out the OTB vision in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!

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