Guest blogger: Claire Schreder
Haset was born in Wikro, situated in the Northern region of Ethiopia. Following her parents' separation when she was two, Haset and her mother relocated to Mekelle, Ethiopia's second-largest city, to stay with her aunt. Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, became their new home, and by the sixth grade, Haset and her mother were living independently. Haset excelled academically from a young age, consistently ranking first in her class. The pandemic, however, disrupted Haset's education, forcing a year-long hiatus. The situation took a darker turn when civil conflict erupted in her region, resulting in the closure of schools, markets, and public amenities.
Faced with these challenges, Haset's mother made the tough decision to move once again, this time to Addis Ababa, where they endured a grueling journey on foot with limited resources.
In Addis Ababa, they found refuge with friends, but Haset faced another setback, missing yet another year of education due to the ongoing war. A glimmer of hope emerged when the Addis Ababa Ministry of Education announced that war victims could resume schooling in the city.
Haset seized this opportunity and enrolled in a traditional school where she could finally immerse herself in education. Upon hearing about Studio Samuel from her classmates, Haset decided to enroll in the hopes of advancing her studies. Despite the hurdles, Haset emerged as a brilliant student. Her brilliance was highlighted by her success on the Grade 12 National Exam. In Ethiopia, each student must undergo a Grade 12 exit exam administered by the government to determine eligibility for university admission. Students that do not pass this exam often find themselves with limited choices, leading many girls to turn to early marriage or pursue employment as childcare workers in foreign nations. Recognizing the opportunities that success in this exam would unlock, Haset diligently devoted herself to its preparation.
Traditionally, successful exam takers had their field of study decided by the government. Students lacked the autonomy to choose their career or major in college. However, this year marked a historic change, allowing students, for the first time, to request their preferred field of study upon passing the exam. These requests are considered and approved based on exam scores. This newfound opportunity served as further motivation for Haset, as she tirelessly committed herself to preparing for it.
Haset’s relentless preparation paid off. Out of the 845,099 students who took the Grade 12 National Exam, only 3% scored above 50%, with Haset achieving an impressive 83.25%. This outstanding accomplishment allows her to not only attend college, but she is also definite that her desired field of study in college will be approved. Haset attributes her success to the support of Studio Samuel, where she utilized the library to read, access guidebooks, and receive advice from teachers to achieve her exceptional score.
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