2011: Agbelouve – The Project That Started It All!
The school built in Agbelouve is the first project that SET undertook after having visited the village with Sleeping Children Around the World. Located 80kms north of Togo’s capital of Lomé, Agbelouve has a population of only 7,000 people. After touring the existing school (at the insistence of the principal, who guided us through the facility), we recognized that only six of the nine classrooms in the school were in ‘ok’ condition. The three other classrooms were thatched-roof shelters, which were regularly attacked by wind and rain. The teachers had only faint blackboards on which to share knowledge with the 400 students who attended the school. Because of the poor conditions during inclement weather, most students would either stay home or choose to be cramped in the more permanent classrooms. As many as 65 students would shove themselves into a 35-person classroom just to attempt to learn.
After meeting with the principal, the village Chief, the Parents’ Committee and AED, we recognized the energy and commitment to education, and Agbelouve was selected as the first location for a SET school. The land and labour were supplied by the community, and a couple of months later, the 2,118-square-foot, three-classroom school was completed – both on time and on budget, at a cost of only $35,500 CAD. The reaction of the children visible in the photos speaks volumes, and inspired us to continue on with this work.