King Edward's School BATH

Hester and Lily complete the Women First race in addis ababa

Hester and Lily complete the Women First race in addis ababa

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29 March 2019

Earlier this month, Hester Poole (Year 7) and Lily Chapman (Year 8) took part in the WOMEN FIRST 5km run in Addis Ababa as part of their fundraising campaign to raise money for the Mekele School for the Blind in Ethiopia.  Diagnosed blind as a baby, Hester has never let it hold her back and was determined to help improve the educational life of the children at Mekele. Since last year Hester has been raising money for the school, and both girls made the trip to Ethiopia so that they could complete the race and visit the school to see for themselves how fundraising can help improve the fortunes of the students there.

On arriving back to the UK, Hester and Lily reported back on their visit.  Read about their trip below.


Our visit to The Mekele School for the Blind was overwhelming in places. The children were blown away by the story boxes we brought (they were pronounced ‘wonderful’ ) and the teachers were excited by the scope that they will have in both teaching and recreational terms. The jingly footballs, dancing bell bracelets, and craft materials were also met with huge enthusiasm. Hester and Lily sang and danced with the children and made many new friends. The whole thing was very moving. 

The students at the blind school were keen to hear about Hester’s experience of education. In Ethiopia visually impaired students are unable to study maths or science beyond grade 5 and do not take part in sports. Something Hester and Lily felt was very unfair as it limits their opportunities and job prospects in the future. 

While we were there Sarah (Hester’s mum) was able to mend 5 broken braillers so they could be put back in use. Not bad considering she learnt brailler maintenance from a youtube video just before we went.

The WOMEN FIRST 5km run in Addis Ababa was the most spectacular festival of hope and promise for the future. 14000 women and girls came together to show their society that they are ready to lead.  The music and dancing meant that it was like a Glastonbury size Zumba class! We met the legendary long distance runner and Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie (Hester shared the stage with him in front of the crowds) and the inspiring Yetnerbersh Negussie, a blind human rights lawyer who recently won the prestigious Spirit of Helen Keller award. She invited us for dinner at her house after the run to meet her family. An unforgettable experience. 

Hester, with her guide Charlotte Evans MBE, and Lily completed the 5k in good time which at altitude and scorching heat was amazing - and we have far exceeded our fundraising target and raised over £22000 so far! We would like to thank everyone for their generous donations and support. We couldn’t have done it without you! The Just Giving Page is still live so there is still time to contribute if you would like to.



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