Five month ago, I received an interesting request from Ellenore Angelidis ( a friend I came to know for her love and dedication to Ethiopian related causes and her blog ) to write a letter for children in Marcato area of Addis Ababa to encourage them to study hard. I was very much surprised by her request because I  never considered anything I do as an inspiration to others rather as a self expression. Ellenore was in her way to visit the school with her entire family to deliver books and visit a library she help fund from her fund-raising efforts. I was very proud of her accomplishment and felt a person they need to emulate is her not me.

So some how, she eccouraged me to agree to her proposition and I wrote the following letter in Amharic (Ethiopian National Language) to them. I also send them a signed  African Union flag that I designed.

Today, I received a photo from the school I attached here. It was very moving to see the pictures of young boys and girl in their classroom listening to their teacher reading my letter to them. I am very honored and moved for being able to be in their life in such a small way.

Ellenore returned back to Seattle with renewed sense of urgency to do more for her friends across the ocean. In collaboration with Ethiopia Reads, she is planing a fund-raising titled Open Hearts, Big Dreams. A theme inspired by the letter I wrote to the students and her and Jane Kurtz’s Open Heart idea. I will be a speaker in the fund-raising with the renowned children book author and Ethiopia raised Jane Kurtz. I hope you will join us and help this great cause. May be this is will be one of your holiday charitable activity!

 Dear Students;

The great African leader Nelson Mandela once said “Education is a powerful weapon to change the world.”

 In today’s world, where science and technology is at its highest peak, I know you feel the lack of school materials and all the basic necessities around you might keep you from playing a vital role in your country as well as community. But just like Mandela said, education will help you to win the battle.

Dear students, with education there is no mountain you can’t climb and there is no dream you can’t achieve. You are defined not by the poverty and struggle around you but by the effort you put to better yourself.

 When I was a little kid, I used to worry about my future until I understood education is my ticket out of poverty. The poverty around me pushed me to be dedicated to my goals. Instead of discouraging me, hinder me from dreaming, it pushed me to go after my dream.

 So I beg you and urge you to seek education to change your future and your country’s future. You are tomorrow’s leaders and your dedication will better it for generations to come. Dream big! Dream peace! And work hard to achieve it!!