Meet Jonah, an 12-Year-Old Crocheting Prodigy and Budding Philanthropist


At just 12 years old, Jonah Faiso Larson has already mastered the art of crocheting and opened his own crochet business, Jonah’s Hands.

It began when Jonah was just five years old. His aunt gave him a bag of old craft items and Jonah was immediately drawn to the crochet needle. After watching hundreds of YouTube videos, Jonah picked up the talent and was “hooked.” Now, Jonah crochets each morning and evening, creating anything from scarves, to potholders, to bags, and ornaments. Jonah has developed his crochet skill and is often called a crochet prodigy.

But it’s Jonah’s philanthropy that’s garnered national recognition. Jonah uses his talents to donate some of his goods and earnings to organizations he holds dear. Roots Ethiopia was fortunate enough to receive several of Jonah’s most prized pieces – some of the very first projects he ever crocheted when he was just five years old. He donated them to be sold in Roots Ethiopia’s online store during our annual “Upcycle Sale” so that profits can support our programs. In 2019 Jonah started a GoFundMe campaign and generously gave $9,300 to begin work on “Jonah’s Library” near the place he was born. Later, he invited Anthropologie to donate $5k to help create Jonah’s Science Lab at the same school! The library is finished, and the science lab is undergoing construction as of February 2020. It is an honor and a privilege to work with Jonah. We love the talent of both is hands and his heart.

We’re proud to work with such an aspiring young artist, and we’re so grateful to Jonah for his continued support and generosity. Keep up the great work, Jonah!

To learn more about Jonah’s Library, you might want to catch his debut on NBC’s Little Big Shots! We surprised him with a video welcome from students at the school! You can hear Jonah’s story here.  Minute 22.37 is the start of Jonah’s segment. (We’re not crying, you’re crying! It’s very emotional!).

To support Jonah’s work, we are grateful for any gifts made to It’s All Big To A Kid. Gifts made this this campaign will be dedicated to work at the “orange” school, which is Jonah’s favorite color.

Meet Adaneche: Our Latest Self-Help Entrepreneur (SHE) Rock Star


It takes power to stand up for yourself. And knowledge. How do you self-advocate if you don’t have access to the tools needed to improve your life? How do you reach self-reliance? And, finally, it takes a community having your back. Do like-minded community members see your potential and your struggle? Do they believe in you? Continue reading “Meet Adaneche: Our Latest Self-Help Entrepreneur (SHE) Rock Star”

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.

Please give today to support building dreams 

SHE Means Business! Meet Hanna


There are staggering roadblocks to success for a woman like Hanna. Forced to abandon school in the 9th grade. Married at an early age and soon the young mother of two daughters. Her husband’s mental illness and inability to work. Her younger daughter’s neurological disease. Aging parents who move in with her. Hanna. The 24-year-old who’s already lived a half dozen lifetimes is now tasked with supporting her entire family.

It’s the stuff of tragedy, and for a weaker person might well be the end of the line. But Hanna is a survivor. And she is also not alone. Continue reading “SHE Means Business! Meet Hanna”