Groton Pepperell Rotary Club recently held a soccer tournament that raised more than $10,000 to help a school in rural Ethiopia. Twenty-two teams representing more than 100 children participated in the tournament on August 25 at Lawrence Academy.
It was heartwarming to see so many kids come out to play for a great cause that will benefit students at the Adilo primary school in Ethiopia. Susan Daly and Tony Hawgood, a local Groton family, have three sons from Ethiopia.
Last summer the couple traveled to Ethiopia as a family and visited the village the boys are from. It is an extremely poor region where many of the families survive through subsistence farming. It was clear that the local school lacked the resources to ensure children had access to a quality education. The Hawgoods are passionate about education.
Tony is a teacher at Lawrence Academy, and they believe that education is one of the keys to ending generational poverty. They decided to partner with an NGO (non-governmental organization) from the US called “Roots Ethiopia” to determine the best way to improve the school.
Local resources evaluated the school and determined that significant improvements to the learning environment cpid be made with a $20,000 investment. This would provide electricity, floors, textbooks, a desk for every student and training for the teachers. The next obstacle was how to come up with the funding for the project.
The Hawgood brothers, Eyob, Dawit and Jack are avid soccer players. On the sidelines at one of their games, Susan mentioned they were trying to find a way to fund the school and two friends, Shannon Walent and Pam Fraser, came up with the idea for a 3v3 soccer tournament.
Their idea was to get local kids involved in raising money for a great cause. Brittany Goodman, a local youth soccer coach, volunteered to be the tournament director. They had no idea that the entire community was about to jump in and support the
Susan is a member of the Groton Pepperell Rotary Club and the club immediately agreed to sponsor the tournament. Members of Lawrence Academy staff are also members of the Club and Dan Scheibe, Head of School, and his wife Annie Montesano offered to host the tournament at the school. Numerous local businesses and families signed on to sponsor the tournament. Parents registered their kids and helped spread the word to local towns.
The weather was picture perfect on the day of the tournament and the venue at Lawrence Academy offered stunning views of Gibbet Hill. More than 40 volunteers from the Groton Pepperell Rotary and the community came together to make sure the tournament ran smoothly and on time.
Littleton Rotary Club decided to partner with Groton to support the cause with a very generous donation. The next step is to apply for a grant through Rotary International to match the funds raised. This will expand the project to include training programs around inclusive education and literacy.
The Hawgood family is humbled and grateful for the way the community came together to support this cause, with a special thanks to the players, referees, volunteers and sponsors who made the day such a success.