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Letter to Donors

Dear Manale Foundation Community,


This year in Ethiopia has been one of significant change and uncertainty.  Most aspects of Ethiopian life – health, school, work, travel – have been in some way upended due to the war, economic strife, and inflation.  Many have had to compromise, sacrifice, and deal with an abundance of the unknown.


Despite this unstable backdrop, Manale Foundation persevered and broke ground on our first project, the Dil-Ayen School.  For those of you who have been members of our community for some time, as you know, the words Dil-Ayen School have been on our tongues for years now.  We have worked for this moment for countless hours, overcoming countless obstacles, and finally, we have a school building to show. 


Thanks to our generous donors, the Dil-Ayen School is now 60% complete, built from the ground up, including two buildings, each containing four classrooms for the 720 Dil-Ayen students.  We immensely appreciate your kindness and would like to extend sincere thanks to you from the local villagers and children.  Your gift to this village will extend far beyond the foreseeable future, and far beyond the bounds of the village, for the gift of education is the ultimate gift that keeps giving.


We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the entirety of the effort that went into constructing the Dil-Ayen School.  While the construction budget is $74,000 (3.6 million birr), the real cost is far greater.  Manale has been working full-time (unpaid) for the foundation for four years; numerous other Manale team members have likewise donated copious hours to the cause.  Collectively, $30,000 has been donated from Manale Inc. and Manale International, much of it from the sale of Manale accessories and garments.  Further, we could not have done this without the help of the regional NGO (Amhara Development Association) and local villagers. The local community has not only been key in our ability to leverage regional assistance but has also been our source of construction labor – all at no monetary cost.  Hats off to them and to every one of you for your support.   

Construction commenced this past March and halted in June, as expected, once the rainy season began.  We are now in need of additional funding (approximately $13,000, or 700,000 birr) to complete what remains of the two main buildings; further, we need $6,200 (~300,000 birr) to complete the girl's and boys' bathrooms.  Our timing is urgent, given our limited window before the heavy rains return, most likely by May.


Many of you are all too familiar with the present economic state in Ethiopia, so for the less informed, please note Ethiopia is now enduring extreme monetary challenges due to inflation and a very poor foreign exchange rate.  Relevant to the school’s construction is the dramatic increase in the price of materials.  For example, the cost of cement has increased by 243% from 700 birr to 1700 birr in one year alone.  The price of metal has tripled, along with comparable increases for doors, windows, and painting. 


What we can accomplish between now and May of 2023 depends on continuing to unite in support of the Dil-Ayen School.  At a minimum, we plan to seed a central vegetable garden as a school project for the students, permitting a lush communal area to flourish with the rain. 


Your generosity makes a massive difference in the Dil-Ayen students’ lives and their village.  Our construction progress proves that with hard work, dedication, and a shared heartfelt mission, we can make change happen. Thank you all for your support and, likewise, for your inspiration.  Knowing that you, too, are fighting for a better Ethiopia continually renews our faith that together, we can make a difference.


Yours Truly,

Manale Team

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