“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” 1 Timothy 1:12 (KJV)
When I look back on my life, I can see that God was leading me on the path of serving orphaned and vulnerable children–and God was not only leading me, but also my wife. I am married to Selam and have two children, Yikolia and Yafet. My wife, a nurse by profession, devoted all her life supporting orphaned children in different organizations.
During my childhood I attended a church, which was located in Finland Mission Orphanage. The children living in that particular orphanage were my best friends, and we sang together in the church choir. This sparked my passion for the cause of orphaned children in Ethiopia.
I was fortunate to begin my professional journey as a high school teacher in Selam Children’s Village, a nonprofit that was established to support children who were orphaned as a result of the 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia. I served there as a teacher, coach and counselor for those children who were facing many challenges. In 2009, I moved to School of Tomorrow, one of the private schools in Addis Ababa. Most of the students in the school were from financially stable families but around 64 students were orphaned children. I was serving as a mentor for those children.
After I received an MA in Christian leadership, I started to train the youth (especially focusing on orphaned youth) in life skills and leadership-related topics in numerous local churches, nonprofit organizations, and ministries like “Youth for Christ” in order to help them to have a successful future.
Then beginning in July 2013, God gave me another assignment — to establish B Loved Ethiopia’s project office in Wolaita Sodo, having a vision of supporting those double-orphaned children who do not have a support system. I was serving as Project Director, as well as a father figure for the children. I and my family moved to Sodo from Addis and settled there for five years. Together with my colleagues, we established seven group homes in the community and holistically served 56 children. We built B Loved Ethiopia Children and Youth Holistic Development Center to provide life skills training, and sports and recreation opportunities for B Loved children and the children and youth coming from the community. This helped them to have a smoother transition from childhood to adulthood. We empowered families (female-headed households) with different income-generating activities, and also started to build group homes for the children.
In June 2018 we moved back to Addis, because I sensed the assignment the Lord gave me was finished. God again counted me faithful, putting me into Children’s HopeChest’s ministry. I am looking forward to what God will do in my new responsibility as a Country Director.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory . . . .” Ephesians 3:20-21 (KJV)
Being part of Children’s HopeChest Ethiopia will give me a great opportunity to impact orphaned children’s lives positively throughout the nation. (So far HopeChest is supporting over 4,000 children in Ethiopia!) As one of the youngest nations in the world (43.47% of the population is under 14 years old and 20.11% is between the ages of 15-24 years), working with children, focusing on orphaned and vulnerable children, will provide a bright future for the supported children in particular and for the nation of Ethiopia at large. Forgetting these children will create unthinkable consequences for the future of the whole country.
I am glad to be part of Children’s HopeChest, because HopeChest believes in a holistic approach and focusing on transformation and sustainable intervention, in addition to covering the basic needs of the child. It is a pleasure to be part of Children’s HopeChest and contribute with all my heart, knowledge and experience, to meet the tremendous need of orphaned Ethiopian children.
Finally, I really want to thank you and to say, “May God bless you, for those who devote your life and money for the cause of the disadvantaged children of Ethiopia.”