Family gives back to community in ‘Seyo Bekele Molla Preparatory School’
Mojo town will now have a new education facility named after the prominent entrepreneur Bekele Molla, a pioneer in hospitality chains that he started over seven decades back.
The Mojo City Administration decided to name the school ‘Seyo Bekele Molla Preparatory School’ which has had its eight million birr cost completely covered by the Bekele Molla family.
The school is constructed to alleviate the shortage of educational institutions, particularly felt due to the expanding population growth in Mojo Town and the surrounding area of Lome Wereda.
As more and more people have been moving into the area, schools have felt the burden of overcrowding in the classrooms. The only school in the area ‘Mojo Preparatory’, at times saw 100 students in a single classroom.
“The overcrowding contributed greatly to a decline in quality of education, forcing students to drop out of school or find themselves unqualified to pursue higher education,” town officials said.
Plans have been in the works for the past six years since the public and the Mojo City Administration began observing the changing demographics, so they began seeking a source of funding to improve their educational services.
In March 2008, the city administration approached the Bekele Molla family in search of support and the family immediately agreed. At first it was expected to cost 5.4 million birr but that price escalated to 8 million birr by the time everything was completed.
Bekele Molla, never had the opportunity to go to school and as a result he has always felt passionately about increasing access to education. Before his passing, he founded the Dole Primary School, located at Langano area in Southern Ethiopia.
“We believe that this facility ‘Seyo Bekele Molla Preparatory School’ is one of the dreams of the prominent entrepreneur Bekele Molla and would have wanted to build even more schools during his lifetime,” Alemayehu Bekele, managing director of Bekele Molla Hotels, said at the official transfer of the facility to the City Administration held on Thursday March 20.
‘Seyo Bekele Molla Preparatory School’ has seven blocks; three blocks with 12 classrooms, and two laboratories, one library and one administration blocks. It also has eight restrooms.
“This project has encouraged other investors to get involved in social development. We will also expand this company’s experience to other investors so they can be part of humanitarian projects in the town,” Zerfu Assfaw, Mayor of Mojo said. Students have already been enjoying the new school since the beginning of this academic year in September, 2013.
“To realize this education facility come to life, the family and employees of Bekele Molla Hotels made significant sacrifices,” one family member said.
Mojo, 80km east of Addis Ababa, hosted the first chain hotel by the prominent businessman Bekele Molla. Currently, the company is constructing a hotel in the town that has turned into a hub for logistical service since the government established a dry port.
According to the company head, who is also the son of Bekele Molla, the new hotel at Mojo town will be opened before the end of this year. The new Bekele Molla Hotel that rests on 28,000 meters square will have 48 luxury bedrooms with full hotel amenities.
“We were focusing on the school, so we haven’t been able to get to our planned hospitality center yet,” Alemayehu said.
The company has also undertaken several social projects in different parts of the country. Four years ago the company furnished a primary and junior school at Arisi Negele town.
“We will have more projects to contribute to the society in the future,” Alemayehu said.
“For instance we recently agreed with Welayta Sodo City Administration to be part of a social development project,” said he added.
Most of the hotels constructed by Bekele Molla are located in Oromia and SNNP Regions, within the route of the Great Rift Valley area.
Bekele Molla Hotels have been in the hospitality business for over 75 years. The company has developed hotels and motels in prime resort areas in the southern part of the country. It is one of the first chain business models in the country. Currently, it owns 15 facilities from Addis Ababa to Moyale the southern part of the country, making it the largest private chain of hotels and motels in the country.
The entrepreneur, the late Bekele Molla who started his business at the age of 12 by selling eggs and chickens received several recognitions in his lifetime for his achievement.
The man who is still a symbol of recreational areas on the Great Rift Valley passed away in April 2000 at the age of 87.