In October 2023, Haile-Manas Academy (HMA) in Ethiopia, a mentee organization at HALI Access Network, warmly welcomed two representatives from Abaarso School in Somaliland, a member organization of the HALI Access Network. Despite being ‘crunch time’ with many application deadlines looming, this meeting was a pivotal moment of connection and collaboration between two schools with similar missions.

Ramiro Campos, HMA’s Director of College and Career Counseling, met with Elizabeth Ollerhead, Abaarso’s Director of Post-Abaarso and Institutional Learning. They discussed the shared challenges and opportunities in college counseling and shared pointers on how to work smarter in university admissions advising.

The Abaarso team was deeply moved by the HMA students’ stories about their future aspirations, how they have adapted to living far from home with classmates from all over Ethiopia, and their celebration of diversity. Hearing these young voices speak with such enthusiasm and resilience was truly inspiring. Similarly, HMA students were encouraged to learn that their peers across the border face and overcome similar challenges.

This newfound connection with a peer school has opened many doors. The two organizations plan to continue sharing resources and information to support each other and explore various collaborative projects.

Thanks to the HALI Access Network, schools with aligned goals can share resources and knowledge to achieve the best outcomes for students. Regular interactions through virtual webinars, an active WhatsApp community, and the annual Indaba foster genuine collaboration and enhance opportunities for high-achieving, low-income students.

Elizabeth Ollerhead

Abaarso School

As we look to the future, we are excited about the potential collaborations and shared successes that lie ahead within the network.