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Drought, famine and civil war have taken its toll on Ethiopian families. With life expectancy low, high illiteracy and widespread poverty, opportunities for many Ethiopian children are limited. We provide a happy, healthy start in life for children in seven locations throughout Ethiopia. … more about our charity work in Ethiopia

Mekidem’s story: The glittering prize

Mekidem’s story: The glittering prize

Mekidem’s story is a remarkable one. His experiences at our SOS school in the town of Awassa inspired him to aim for the very highest prize, and his efforts have been rewarded with a hard-won place at Harvard University. As he prepares to leave Ethiopia and head for the US, Mekidem considers how he will use his success to change yet more lives...

“It has been 12 years since I joined SOS Children’s Village Awassa. I have great unforgettable memories of my stay in the Village. The sport tournaments I participated in, the clubs I got involved in, the trips I enjoyed with my friends, the academic hurdles I climbed, the friends and families I made there, the laughter I shared with my brother and sisters, mother, as well as my teachers, the tears I wept when I missed my friends - these were among the experiences I enjoyed as a kid.

Perhaps tutoring my brothers and sisters every week was among the most rewarding experiences I could mention. When I taught these students back in the day, I was pleasantly surprised by the creativity displayed by these children. They had become independent at a very young age, and, though difficult, they were reaping the benefits. When I saw them excitedly studying in the classroom, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride. I will truly miss my childhood.

The moment I got the acceptance letter from Harvard, I celebrated the news with a great joy. However, I also realised that I am carrying a great responsibility to accomplish. The teaching experience in SOS has taught me that life is not only about the mind but also the heart. It inspired my interest to study education studies in my university life. It set off a new passion in my heart. Programmes on education, child and family services and youth development are among the areas that I am currently interested in.

Through these programmes I will make my own researches on how to improve education in different areas. I will strive to change lives of children in poor communities. Furthermore, it will give me life time skills and experiences to make changes in my community after my university life. Hopefully, I will return to SOS, to the place where I embraced a great deal of experiences - to help children as develop the emotional, social or academic intelligence that will make them active and productive citizens in the future. I am planning to minor in Education Studies or Psychology.

Since I was a kid I had a great interest on numbers and science. I had taken part in several mathematics competitions in our school and my town. At university, I want to use my knowledge and skills creatively in for research. I am not sure exactly what I am going to major in. I will probably end up studying Aerospace engineering or Applied math.

I am so grateful for SOS for making my dreams possible. Getting an offer from Harvard was one of my goals. I believe in the motto 'Success is a journey not a destination', and I will continue to work hard in the years to come.”

Find out more about what we are doing for people like Mekidem in Ethiopia...

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