Sewasew on Art, Nature, and Connection

Welcome to our first Ethiopian artist feature! Each artist has donated their artwork for our Threadless Shop. This generosity is so important for our mission, and it brings beautiful and original Ethiopian art into your home in a unique and fun way!  Visit our shop on Threadless to view (and buy!) this amazing artist’s artwork! Continue reading “Sewasew on Art, Nature, and Connection”

Meet Ruhama!

When the Roots Ethiopia field staff first met Ruhama, she was working for a road construction company lifting heavy materials. With no parents to care for them, Ruhama and her brother and sister were struggling to survive on their own.  Ruhama wanted to attend school, but regular attendance wasn’t possible. Despite her desire to achieve and learn, Ruhama worried whether a difficult childhood and so many demands on her to take care of her family’s needs would assure she would always be poor and without the education.

Today, with the help of Roots Ethiopia’s School Sponsorship program, Ruhama attends 9th grade. She and her older brother still work to support the family, but the support Roots Ethiopia provides means Ruhama attends school daily.  Your support means Ruhama’s school fees are paid, her school supplies and a new set of clothes, shoes, and a uniform are ready for the start of every school year. Ruhama’s family also receives food support 3x a year.

It’s a challenge for a 15-year-old to balance work, taking care of family, and school. Ruhama is tremendously ambitious and driven. She says, “Even though life is difficult for me living in the countryside, Roots Ethiopia’s support helps me to continue my education and move me toward my dreams. No one can stop me from making my dream of education come true.”

You are making such great strides, Ruhama! Keep up the great work!

Etta with cake

Every Little Bit(e) Helps Communities in Rural Ethiopia

Cami Blumenthal serves on the Roots Ethiopia Board of Directors. Two of Cami’s four children were born in one of the rural areas served by Roots Ethiopia. In this guest post, she shares how her daughter has been using her baking skills to support a cause important to her.

During this time of COVID-19, I found myself worried about how the pandemic would affect the families in the southern region of Ethiopia. The Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia is a rural region where many vulnerable families lack access to healthcare and live on 50 cents per day. How could we help keep Ethiopian families safe and healthy?

Thankfully, Roots Ethiopia was able to pivot its focus quickly and deliver food, soap and health education to thousands of families in rural Ethiopia. This resulted in keeping many families fed, together and safe.

Meanwhile, back in my bubble outside of Seattle, Washington, my biggest challenge was how to keep our four children engaged in virtual school while also being mindful of their emotional well-being since they could no longer enjoy favorite activities. Talk about privilege!

Our daughter, Etta, who is age 11, LOVES to bake and she’s quite talented at it. Being home full-time created the time and space to further her passion of baking.

I quickly realized two important things during this time. First, I have no will power and so eating daily baked goods isn’t great for the waistline. And second, I realized Etta needed to share her joy of baking more broadly as her treats were delicious! That’s how Etta launched her own business, E’s Sweets.

As Etta and I talked about what to do with the money she would earn, she thought of how she could use her baking as an opportunity to do some good in the world. It took her no time to decide on Roots Ethiopia as the organization she wanted to help support by donating a portion of what she earned.

Etta began taking orders in June and has already donated $80 to Roots Ethiopia. I’m proud of her hard work and her big heart in wanting to make an impact in this world.

What I’ve learned through all of this is that each of us has an opportunity to find a way to support the causes that speak to us, and every little bit counts.

I’m so grateful to those who have chosen to support Roots Ethiopia. Your generosity is making a difference in the lives of many.


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