The Story of VICKtory

By the VICKtory team 

Working with the VICKtory school for the Deaf in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Who are we: 

We are team VICKtory, and we work with the VICKtory School For the Deaf in Ethiopia. The VICKtory deaf school is a free school for hearing-impaired girls and boys ages 4-20, 98% of whom come from families who aren’t able to support themselves. Ethiopia is one of the many developing countries doing their best to support students with disabilities. However, because of the language barrier between the deaf and the hearing communities created by the lack of people who know sign language, the deaf community are at a disadvantage. It is rare to find teachers who can sign and explain lessons to deaf students. On top of this, there is no budget to assign interpreters for the deaf in every school in Ethiopia. This makes education a scarce resource for the deaf.

The true potential of someone is seen once they are given the education to thrive upon, and unfortunately, there are very few schools who advocate and educate the deaf like the VICKtory school. This minority is rarely ever given the same opportunities to challenge their potential because of this, yet they are the ablest people we have ever met in my life. All they need is to be given a chance to show their potential. That is the main reason why we are working with them: to do what we can as a community to reach out and provide them with the support they need in order to have an education.

The VICKtory school takes in these kids (and young adults) – for free – and provides them with an adopted education for their disability up to grade 8 and supports them when they transition to another high school often into college. Because of this school, these incredible people are given the chance to reach their full potential. 

Story of the school: 

The school started with 2 incredible women: Joyce Vick and Gomeju Tafesse. Both are responsible for giving many kids the opportunity to be educated despite their learning disabilities. Gomeju Tafesse was born with the natural ability to teach those around her. Unfortunately, she was also born into the hands of poverty. Her father rejected her and her mother collected bottles and cans to feed her. At the age of 11, she developed a high fever which led to paralysis and the gradual loss of hearing. It was later discovered that she had meningitis and no access to medical care. After long periods of depression and isolation, what got Gomeju back on her feet was the unique opportunity offered by an American missionary named Joyce Vick. Joyce Vick had set up a school for the deaf as one of her projects in Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia). Gomeju found happiness in the ability to learn despite her disability and her natural ability to teach those around her. Joyce took Gomeju under her wing and mentored her. A few years later,  there was a change in the Ethiopian government and Joyce was forced to leave the country. Joyce took Gomeju with her to further her education abroad. After many years, Joyce passed away, donating all her money to Gomeju with her dying wish: for Gomeju to use this money to return to Ethiopia and open a deaf school of her own. That is how VICKtory was founded and named after Joyce Vicktoria (Vick). 

Unfortunately, the school is struggling to stay on its feet. There is not enough money to finish the school’s building itself, on top of that, the students lack basic necessities such as pads (for the girls’ periods), underwear, clothing, shoes, masks, hand sanitiser (for COVID), and other sanitation products. Especially now because of COVID, these hygienic necessities have never been so important. My team and we have dedicated our time and effort to this cause but we need your help. 

Our goal this year is to successfully put into place a clinic (consultation room) in the school so that it can be a place where its students can be treated for things as simple as a cut to a place students can come to and talk with a doctor- a safe place for students. The school will transform its already existing hallway to form this clinic. Our team is helping with ‘furnishing’. The development of this clinic relies on the donations we collect as a team and send back to Ethiopia.

 The importance of a clinic in this school goes beyond words. Girls need a place to collect pads, kids need a place to go for medical needs as this could be their only access to any medical care. These students deserve a stable clinic to provide them with support in order to then achieve academically with minimal disturbances. However, due to Covid regulations, it becomes increasingly challenging to find ways to raise funds for the clinic, leaving your donations key to this clinic’s development. 

Our goal is to raise enough money, just over 500 CHF, to supply the clinic with furniture, first aid kits, and other necessary equipment. If you are able to help, donating something as simple as 10 CHF, a pack of bandages, or a gift box will help significantly. Help us make a better life for these children 

We have witnessed first hand what it means for these children and young adults to get simple items we take for granted like underwear or t-shirts. It gives them the feeling of being loved, respected and most of all, valued, a feeling everyone deserves to feel. Help us make a better life for these children.

To donate click on this link 

or contact us here 

Any donations of medical items such as bandages can be left in secondary reception. 

(Those who donate will be given a monthly update on the school’s clinic’s progress if they wish.) 

Thank you, from team VICKtory (Efrata Tadesse, Talia Bar-Tur, Patrick Daly, Zoe Gaymard, Mia Emblad, Mary O’Brien). 

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