14-year-old boy aspires to be helicopter pilot or astronaut

A young boy is receiving vital educational support to pursue his dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.

Fourteen-year-old Yakob* Birhanu* is attending school classes at Canaan Lighthouse – an aftercare centre run by Hope for Justice for children who have been exploited, or who were at risk of exploitation.

Yakob dropped out of primary school soon after his mother died. He was aged just nine at the time. He told us: “Growing up, my mother was the only one who always advised me to be educated. She was the one who encouraged me. But after she died, I found it difficult to engage. I didn’t have a strong interest to go to class.”

At the Lighthouse in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Yakob has found a renewed enjoyment for learning. He has begun reading and writing in his native language, Amharic, as well as developing his English. He said he particularly enjoys studying the sciences.

“After I joined the classes at Canaan Lighthouse, I realised the importance of education,” he said. “I liked the lessons and enjoyed participating.

“In my hometown, I couldn’t read or write in Amharic but now I can. Before I had no experience of studying but now, I spend most of my time reading books.

“When I return home, I want to advise and help my sister in her education in the same way my mother encouraged me. Education is the best thing that I have been given by Hope for Justice.”

During one of Yakob’s recent classes, he built his own cardboard helicopter model. He said: “In the future I want to be a helicopter pilot or an astronaut.”


*Name and photo of child changed to protect identity of victim