In January 2018, SFI co-founders Ron Haak & Darlene Markovich visited the village of Dib Bahir, Ethiopia, near the town of Debark in the Simien Mountains. They met with administrators and teachers from the primary school as well as leaders of the community to discuss potential ways that SFI might aid the school. In May 2018, SFI was provided with a formal request from the Dib Bahir community to fund the construction of building comprising four classrooms and an office. The project was to be a partnership, with SFI providing funding, the co-founder of nearby Limalimo Lodge, Shiferaw Asrat, and his colleague, Dejen Gestie, providing project oversight and management, and members of the Dib Bahir community providing the labor (with the exception of construction that required skilled tradesmen). Construction was initiated in July 2018 and was completed in September 2019.
In May 2019, Ron and Darlene went back to Dib Bahir to see the building, which was near completion, and to celebrate the outcome of the project with the community and our Limalimo Lodge partners. The celebration included school children, teachers, and administrators as well as local and regional civic leaders, local and regional leaders of the Simien Mountains National Park, and senior leaders of the Orthodox Church. When the academic year began in September 2019, the building was put into full use.