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Student Stories


Mehret, Veterinary Student

Mehret grew up in the area where the Ethiopian Education Fund operates but was not involved with our student program. After graduating from high school and receiving excellent marks, she could not afford to go to Veterinary University. She contacted the EEF, and we evaluated her situation. Her drive and vision were strong. Her grades superb. However, her resources were few.

The EEF agreed to support her quest to become a veterinarian. Mehret enrolled in Mekelle University in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia. In her second-year war broke out between Ethiopian forces and Tigray. For a period, the University was shut down and students were sheltering in their dorms.

Mehret was able to contact EEF, describe the dangerous situation, and asked for our help. The EEF was able to wire her money and she had a plan to continue her education. She managed to get out of Mekelle on a bus to the safety of the capital Addis Ababa. Once in Addis, through EEF connections, Mehret was able to meet with staff at the Ministry of Education and officially request a transfer to Bonga University near her home. Without the official process she would be considered a dropout and would have been unable to return to university.

We are happy to report that Mehret is now in her third year of Veterinary Medicine and on track to become a veterinarian. Her perseverance, intelligence, and knowledge that the EEF was with her is allowing her to achieve her dream.

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Tsegaye the Social Worker

Tsegaye was the inspiration for Stephanie and Jeff to start the Ethiopian Education Fund. He lived in the orphan house associated with the health clinic where they worked in the early 2000s. He graduated at the top of his class in Grade 8 but did not have the money to continue with school. The need was clear. His educational abilities proven. And he became the first student to be funded by EEF. He received support through grade school, then high school, university and beyond, eventually receiving his master's degree in social sciences and development.

Like many students, upon graduation Tsegaye found it difficult to find a job in his field. He found jobs to earn a living and eventually landed a job in a government office in Bonga, a much bigger town than his village of Muti.

Once established in the government office, Tsegaye approached the EEF for a "budget support" to do a special project that was not covered by the regular budget of the Social Services Department. He proposed that the EEF provide school uniforms and supplies for the poorest children the office served. Often the uniform will be worn for years and might be the only clothing a child has. EEF agreed because it enabled the EEF to reach younger children by working through the local government offices. Twice a year from 2020 the EEF provides $1,000 , through Tsegaye, for this program. We are happy to be able to collaborate with an EEF graduate and his colleagues so that they can reach many additional students using EEF support. We are proud of Tsegaye!

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Celebrate the Graduates!

Gebaynesh (photo left) graduated from Teacher College this year. She has a job teaching elementary school in her native language of Kafanunu. We met this bright student when she was in 7th grade.

Desta completed a degree in Medical Technology and is looking for a job placement. EEF has supported her since 8th grade.

Tesfaye secured a job as a Health Exchange Worker near his family.

Yohannes graduated from Teacher College and will be teaching math in a village school.

We are proud of the work these students have done! Ethiopia is stronger with their talents and leadership. We thank our supporters for enabling this kind of success.

Ethiopian Education Fund Tigist & Birhane

Birhane’s Story

Birhane entered the EEF program in 8th grade and stayed through 10th grade. At that time she did not pass onto the next grade but went back to her small rural village four hours from Chiri. We were glad that she was able to attend a few more years with the support of EEF because every additional year of schooling has a positive impact of a woman’s life. Birhane got married and had two children and was then asked by the community school to teach primary school because no official teacher was available, and Birhane had more education than most women in her community.


She did so well in the temporary position that the village counsel nominated her for one of the highly prized openings at a teacher’s college. EEF put Birhane back on the support program each summer for 4 years to earn her teacher certificate. Her husband is a teacher also and has been very supportive over this process. This June she completed all her studies! She will pass on the value of education to her children, the school children and the community.

Ethiopian Education Fund Tigist's Family

Tigist’s Story

Tigist began with EEF program when she was in 6th grade. She went on to graduate from 12th grade and from Nursing School and currently works in Bonga (30 minute bus ride from Chiri) in a government hospital. Tigist is married with two children and lives in her own home. EEF partnered with Days For Girls to bring washable menstruation pad kits to Ethiopia. Due to high cost or unavailability of sanitary supplies, some girls do not attend school during that time. Tigist received a package of 25 kits, as a pilot project, which she distributed in her community. She expressed interest in continuing to distribute kits and especially to our girl students. We are thrilled to collaborate with one of our former students to bring these supplies, helping to reduce absenteeism and improving their ability to succeed.

Ethiopian Education Fund Tekalign

Email from Tekalegn, engineering student, December 14, 2018

“Dear Jeffery, thank you for helping & bringing the laptop and for visiting us. I loved the laptop it is best product, best quality & latest. I will keep it safe & virus free. I think the only thing what I have to do is just studying hard and achieving the success, sure I will do with God! I will be successful because you are on my side & helping me. Thank you, I wish all the best to you.”

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