In 2005, St Matthew’s opened a Community Library on the church compound, to serve the children of the local neighbourhood.
All children in Ethiopia are taught and examined in English from grade 7 onwards, but many do not have access to adequate text and reference books, or a comfortable place to study. St Matthew’s Community Library has textbooks covering the whole Ethiopian national curriculum. Children living in this and neighbouring Kebeles use the library throughout the week as a safe place to study where they have access to textbooks.
There are currently over 1000 students registered; and about 200 students visit the library regularly, some every day. Informal English language classes are also offered to children locally, through the library.
A vital aspect of this project is the partnership we have established with the local Kebele, through whom we currently support over 40 children (from the poorest of the poor families) by providing them with exercise books, a pen and pencil and help with school uniform.
The Library is funded by the Anglican Board of Mission - Australia.