Rainbows 4 Children


Rainbows4children (R4C), a Swiss and UK foundation was set up in memory of Nicolas Robinson, the son of the founder, Max Robinson. With the support of the Tigray Disabled Veterans’ Association (TDVA), an Ethiopian NGO, R4C founded the Nicolas Robinson School (NRS) in 2005, in Mekele, Tigrai state, to educate the children of disabled war veterans of the Ethiopian civil war. The NRS provides education for disadvantaged children in Ethiopia – primarily the children of adults with disabilities such as loss of limbs and blindness.

The Nicolas Robinson School logo is: “Uplifting Ethiopia”. Our aim is to break the cycle of poverty and prepare future leaders of the country. We commit ourselves to educating the whole child and to create a community of caring students, educators, parents, and staff.

Our vision is to be the most admired school in Ethiopia, fulfilling each child’s unique potential through excellence in education.

Our mission is to provide top quality academic and vocational education for any child from the most disadvantaged backgrounds especially those whose parents have disabilities, to provide this education without any entry restrictions of any kind and to develop young individuals who will break the cycle of poverty in their communities and their country.

The School:  The NRS was founded in 2005 and is a non-profit day school with 1,430 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. We are an inclusive school which gives admission priority to the students of handicapped veterans. Admission does not require an entrance exam. The school has three sections divided among two campuses: the kindergarten educates 270 children aged 4-6; the primary school serves 770 children aged 6-14 from grade 1-8; the high school educates 360 children aged 15-18 from grade 9-12. The NRS is the top school in the Tigray region and one of the leading schools nationwide on the basis of the students’ academic results, the quality of teaching and the facilities available at the school. The class of 2019 was the fourth grade 12 class to enter senior year.

The Student Body:  Our students are mostly from the Tigray region; they speak and study in three languages: Tigrinya (regional language), Amharic (national language), and English. English courses are introduced as early as the kindergarten.

The High School Faculty: The 34 High School full-time and part-time faculty members have an average of 10 years of teaching experience and over 5 years with the school. 21% hold MA/MS or higher degrees, and most have taught at other schools. Faculty members are Ethiopians, educated and trained in the country.

High School Curriculum: Tigrinya, Amharic and English are the languages of instruction. The following classes are only taught in English: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history, civics and ethical education, health and physical education, ICT, technical drawing.

We follow the National Curriculum and prepare our students for the Ethiopian Higher Education University Entrance Exam which is taken in Grade 12. All Grade 12 students have already passed a National Exam in Grade 10. The NRS is a technology-rich learning environment with an emphasis on the hard sciences. ICT classes are introduced as early as Grade 1, and Coding is taught from grade 9 on. The high school has a fully staffed IT lab with computers as well as 3 modern science labs.

Our high standard of teaching is achieved by the dedication of our staff and their excellent work ethic, and training from our overseas volunteers.

The Nicolas Robinson School is recognised as the best school in the region, based on its high quality teaching, and its facilities and management systems.

Two of our students were awarded the International Baccalaureate at United World Colleges and went on to the US on full scholarships to study for their first degree. Two more students won full scholarships at the African Leadership Academy where they studied ‘A’ levels. One of those students went to university in the US and the other to study for a degree in Japan.

Leadership role in the community

In the last two years, the Tigray region has suffered severe hardship, starting with Covid which disrupted education in 2020. Soon after, the region’s farmers had to fight a plague of locusts which devastated their crops. And now the people of Tigray are living under siege without access to most of life’s essentials. The Nicolas Robinson School has taken its role as educators seriously by leading and educating the local community in many ways.

During Covid, teaching materials were handed out to parents, who returned classwork for assessment and took home the next lessons to their children.

Our science teachers developed bleaches and hand sanitisers for school staff, families and local health centres.

The science staff went on to develop natural pesticides based on the neem tree, to kill and repel the locusts. They then went into the farming areas, with staff from Mekelle University to spray the locusts that were destroying the harvest.

During the blockade on the Tigray region, July 2021 – ongoing:

Our staff  work with the local Agriculture Bureau to develop gardens and composts to grow vegetables to feed our school children and to teach the local community how to manage urban gardening.

Our staff have worked with the teaching hospital of Mekelle University to develop care for malnourished children and to recognise nutrition-related diseases.

Our staff are making the feeding of the children a priority, to enable them to be receptive to learning again. We also have trained the staff and parents to help the children cope with the trauma that they and their families have suffered.