Planting Seeds of Educational Opportunity by Dr. Marika Lindholm

Dr. Marika Lindholm has made a 5-year commitment to support Roots Ethiopia’s Learning Resource Project (LRP) and we couldn’t be more excited! She’s the founder of and co-editor of We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor.

She’s penned this letter below with her thoughts on our LPR program, why creating educational opportunities is important, and why she has committed to help.


As a sociologist who has taught the sociology of education and a feminist who advocates for increased opportunity for girls and women around the world, I’m thrilled to support Roots Ethiopia’s Learning Resource Project (LRP).

All parents, regardless of whether they live in a modern high-rise or in a tukul surrounded by eucalyptus trees, want their children to have educational opportunity. My husband Ray and I have made a five-year commitment to supporting this program because we know it will change lives.


Success in school is not always guaranteed, but research shows that children who defy odds and overcome educational challenges are blessed with more than a work ethic. They had someone in their life, someone who was not their parent, that invested in their success. Roots Ethiopia’s LRP offers more than academic support and help with test preparation; it’s a weekly testimonial that a student’s success is valued. This is life-changing.

Students from 19 primary and three secondary schools (benefiting from Roots Ethiopia’s LRP) will be fortunate to have tutoring in five core subject areas and preparation for regional and national exams. In addition to building confidence and filling in gaps, they will learn how to make study plans and enhance their time-management skills. Most of us understand the value of extra attention and tutoring for any young person, but imagine the tremendous impact it has in a region and a country where schooling is not always a given – especially for girls.

I’m thrilled that girls will be equal beneficiaries of the tutoring program, which is certain to propel these dedicated students into unique opportunities and leadership roles. The recent appointment of Sahle-Work Zewde, the country’s first female president, signifies an ideological shift and commitment to increasing opportunity for women.

Metasebia Shewaye Yilma, a media entrepreneur and president of the Ethiopian women’s business group AWiB, told NPR on Thursday that she is “ecstatic” at Sahle-Work’s appointment, calling it “superb news for all us here, especially for women.” It’s exciting that the tutoring program is in-sync with this historical milestone for Ethiopian women.

My spouse and I have had the good fortune of being able to give our five children tremendous educational opportunity. As a sociologist, I know that socioeconomic status is the greatest predictor of educational success. I’ve seen the research that demonstrates the value of tutoring and personalized attention for students who, due to structural and geopolitical circumstances, face challenges and barriers to equal opportunity in education.
Roots Ethiopia, in its culturally sensitive and hands-on approach to tutoring and other educational support, is paving a bright future for Ethiopian students to excel, give back to their region, and shape the nation’s future.

I’m proud to sponsor a small fragment of this wonderful work and encourage others to do the same.

Dr. Marika Lindholm
Founder Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere
Co-editor of We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor

It’s All Big To A Kid!

Our work with schools, children, and educators in rural Ethiopia creates lasting change. Your contribution today means Ethiopian students will have the resources they need to start school, stay in school, and succeed in school.

To keep our work going strong, we’ve launched a donation campaign to support students, schools, and teachers in Ethiopia. And we’ve rooted it in the idea that no amount is too small to impact a life — it’s all big to a kid! Every donation makes a child’s world a little bit bigger and widens the door to new opportunities.

What does $10 do? It provides three textbooks for a library. It helps a local school get one donation closer to its first microscope. It fills a backpack with school supplies. It supports a fund to provide educators continued professional training. It creates a ripple of change through the community.

We’d like to share a few stories of the children, teachers, and schools we’re working with in Ethiopia:


Please SHARE this with others who might want to learn about our work to improve school facilities and provide tuition support in rural Ethiopia!

*Donations will be allocated to our “LRP: Schools Receive Critical Learning Materials” and “School Sponsorship Fund” as needed.

Be A Dream Builder Series. Meet Betsegaw

Recently we celebrated the launch of our Roots Ethiopia Education Ambassador program, in which we took the two top-performing students from each of our partner schools on a trip to Addis Ababa. The week was a game-changer, broadening not just their appreciation of their country, but their sense of access to the wider world. It’s one thing to believe in the power of every child’s dreams. It’s quite another to see them catch fire in real time. The gift of our work in Ethiopia is the promise of children like Betsegaw.

Betsegaw is a 14-year-old 9th grader who lives in the city of Hosanna. His top student marks in his primary school—one of our partner schools that draws some of Hosanna’s poorest students—earned him a spot on our Ambassador programs. And like his exceptional peers, he returned from Addis Ababa with new stars in his eyes. The architecture Betsegaw marveled over on his trip added fuel to the fire of his own dreams.

Roots Ethiopia had the good fortune of visiting with Betsegaw so we could admire some of his own architectural creations; models built using brilliantly scrapped-together materials that he collects from the streets and local stores. Bravely practicing his English with us, Betsegaw showed off his small collection of working tools (scissors, paper, cardboard) and the first model he ever made, a hospital he assembled last year. After he constructed it, Betsegaw took the next step to find a mentor and seek out advice. A local architect suggested to Betsegaw that he next train his focus on building something more personal. So, this young man set about designing a model of a Roots Ethiopia school. After all, school is Betsegaw’s kingdom.

We celebrate this young man who has found his passion and created a way for himself to pursue it wholeheartedly. May he travel far in this world to feed both his imagination and his ideas.

Your donations fuel the amazing success of students like Betsegaw. Thank YOU!

Be A Dream Builder Series: What Gembero Did This Summer (And Why It Matters)

Adventure and imagination are the life source of dreams. New foods, new smells, new landscapes, new voices, new possibilities. Roots Ethiopia’s focus on enriching the hard lives of rural students through education is a core program. And part of our work is showing students the possibilities for where that education could take them. Continue reading “Be A Dream Builder Series: What Gembero Did This Summer (And Why It Matters)”

Meet Barkot – a smart young student with an exciting future ahead of her!

We are so excited for you to meet Barkot Alemu,  a 14 year old girl whose name means “Blessing the World”. What a perfect name for a  shining star in her 8th grade class at Mugunja Primary School in rural Ethiopia. Barkot is the top student in her class, and she’s an amazing leader among girls and students in her village.  Continue reading “Meet Barkot – a smart young student with an exciting future ahead of her!”