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New Playground Equipment Installed at Kidane Mehret - July 2007

The Sisters and 150 children of Kidane Mehret Orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will remember the last week of July 2007 for a very long time. For that was the week, when what seemed like an army of volunteers (in fact there were seven), arrived on a flight from Dubai and transformed their concrete courtyard into a playground adventure paradise, complete with climbing walls, slides, ropes, leap frog grasshoppers, huge sand pits for soft landings and grandstand benches - all within four days!

Donations from Emirates' customers were generously allocated by The Emirates Foundation, to transform the lives of these children. "We believe that every child has the right to develop their imagination through creative play" said Emirates Airbus Captain Geoff Hucker, who has actively supported the children of the orphanage for several years. "To see 150 beaming smiles and listen to their laughter and squeals of delight as they swamped their new play centre, made every second of work worth while."

playground installation team

And work it was! Alongside a representative of the Danish supplier, Kompan, a team of volunteers, some of the older orphans, and local workmen toiled through rain, thunder and sunshine for 10 hours every day, to hand dig holes in cement, assemble all the equipment, and secure it in place. As a finishing touch, the school house and fences were painted, to keep the area bright and cheerful.

Sister Camilla of Kidane Mehret said "Thanks to The Emirates Foundation, many generations of children will enjoy hours of safe, stimulating play. For orphans, having the chance to lose themselves in a world of carefree happiness is worth more than I can say." The Emirates Reiki Group are also to be thanked for their generous contribution to this project, as well as the Dubai and Addis teams at Emirates SkyCargo for assisting with the transportation and clearance of 1600kg of equipment.

The outdoor Play Centre perfectly compliments the Emirates Foundation Learning Resource Centre, which was recently completed at Kidane Mehret. It gives the children invaluable access to thousands of books in English and Amahric, as well as computers for interactive learning.