Leading a trek in the Ethiopian Highlands in 2015, Passage West born Martin Coughlan visited a small local school. Built of mud walls on a wood frame, it was leaning over precariously. The children were squeezed three to a desk on rough earth floors. With too many children for the few classrooms they have two shifts morning and afternoon. Come June the rains will start and at over 3000 meters winds can be very high. Martin and his trekking companions took measurements. He planned to help.
It all started in 2007 with Irish Aid funding each community along an 80 Km. stretch of magnificent highlands to build stone Tukals to accommodate trekkers. Africa Direct, a small Cork based all voluntary charity, leads a group trek every October to raise funds. In the following year Martin, with the help of local trek guide Getish and Africa Direct funds, got the walls straightened and reinforced with a concrete base and new cement floors. New desks were funded, made locally.