A passionate, fervent belief in the importance of education is the motivating force behind the African Children's Education Trust (A-CET). Its aim is to alleviate the poverty of vulnerable African children often orphans, the disabled or abandoned thorough long-term self-sustaining education initiatives, primarily in
A-CET is a small charity set up by David Stables. He has spent most of the last forty-five years in
Africa . In the 1960s, David taught engineering in Kenya and
Zambia . In the 1970s, he worked for an Italian gas company in
Sierra Leone. After a brief period at
College , Oxford, he spent the 1980s as a development worker successively in Indonesia, Kenya and
Afghanistan .In 1992, he was a team leader for CARE International in Somalia, before spending four years working for the Red Cross in
Northern Ethiopia . When he left for
Tanzania in 1997, David wanted to continue to provide support for a handful of orphaned children he had met in Makele, so that they could continue their education. This was how A-CET was born.
As A-CET grew, more money was raised and distributed as scholarships to other children and families, primarily in Tigrai region, but also in Addis Adaba,
Gondar and Lalibela. It enabled them to go to school, rather than work to support themselves and their families. Now some 800 children (including 340 AIDs orphans) are supported with scholarships. David and A-CET's local partners, themselves often former scholarship students, regularly talk to any parents and relatives and look at students' school reports to check their attendance, lateness, sickness and grades obtained.
As income has grown, A-CET and Ethiopian Youth Educational Support (a registered non-government organisation) have built four new schools, with two more under construction. Five minutes reading the abbreviated biographies of students on the www.a-cet.org web-site shows what a difference to their lives A-CET is making.
A-CET relies principally on individual donations. It has no paid staff in the
UK . David Stables, its chief executive, and its trustees are unpaid. 92% of all donations go directly to support students and educational projects. Only 8% of income goes to administration.
So, when I heard about A-CET from Her Honour Judge Frances Kirkham, one of its trustees, I wanted to do what I could to support it. In April 2005 we put up a permanent exhibition of photographs of people which I had taken in different parts of the world on the main staircase at Harrow Crown Court, where I used to sit as a judge. The exhibition was entitled One World, One View. We wanted to provide permanent decoration for the public parts of the court, to reflect the diversity of the background of our court users and to open up the court building to the public. We also wanted to raise money for A-CET. The exhibition was opened by Baroness Hale of
Richmond and sponsored by local solicitors and barristers, and, through their generosity, raised a large sum for A-CET. My book of photos one world one view grew out of that exhibition.
Click here to visit A-CET's web site www.a-cet.org