Dubuque Children Collect Pens for Students In Ethiopia
By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Donations came pouring into a Dubuque preschool after a volunteer made an unusual request. He needed ball point pens.
They’re pretty easy to come by. You just grab one if you need it. But one Dubuque volunteer says pens are among the greatest needs of students in Ethiopia.
Don Koppes said, “They don’t have notebooks or pens and they can’t have pencils because they don’t have pencil sharpeners. ”
Each year, Koppes travels to the village of Homacho, Ethopia. He says schools there are rundown and extremely over crowded.
Koppes said, “The smallest class size I saw, we were at two different schools, the smallest class was 66 students. ”
He says there aren’t enough school supplies to go around.
So Koppes asked children at the Dubuque Community YMCA to collect pens, both new and used, for the schools in Homacho.
Dubuque Community Y’s Vickie Gassman said, “Our goal was to collect 1,000 pens. We ended up with over 5,000. ”
Later this week Koppes will take the thousands of pens with him to Hamacho. But his mission to improve schools in Ethiopia doesn’t end with collecting pens.
Koppes said, “We plan to build a preschool and kindergarten because that doesn’t exist because kids don’t start school until they are seven.”
And who better to help get that started than the little ones here at home?
Koppes says he and his wife started a non-profit group to help raise money for schools in Ethiopia. They’ve already raised more than $8,000.
If you’d like to donate or help with the cause contact the Dubuque Community YMCA.
What's On KCRG