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We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities
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YMCA Addis Ababa
P.O. Box 34340
Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
PHONE: 251 1 13 82 84 ----- FAX: 251 1 51 00 84
Contact: Berhanou Duguma, Secretary General
also John Knight-Doe at


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The Ethiopian YMCA Children's Fund is an independent fund-raiser dedicated in raising funds to house, clothe, feed and educate close to 24,000 street children in Ethiopia. The YMCA, a non- profit organization, took on this effort in 1995 to benefit the disadvantaged orphaned children in the streets of Addis Ababa who call the YMCA home. Some of the current programs being undertaken by the Ethiopian YMCA are:

Street children education and feeding
Teaching AIDS awareness to the children
Working with the ethnically displaced
Sanitation campaign in different communities
Purchase of desks, chairs and other teaching materials
Theater and music education (this project is so successful that the kids have formed a musical group and perform for money to sustain the group members)



The following is an updated list of contributors who made pledges in 1996-1997:

Sara Amesalu, Yohannes Ketsela, Elias Kifle, Tilahun Yilma, Mekonnen Gessesse, Anonymous1, Hailu Indashaw, Daniel Kifle, Abiy Tekle, Fiqroo Helebo, Berhan Dejene, Tadele Seyoum, Tegegne Wondafrash, Elias Wondimu, Abeba Taye, Michael Makonnen, Adugna Kebede, Kidane Mariam Woldu, Endashash Tadesse, Michelle Lucas, Cheru Terefe, Sophia Bekele, Elizabeth Zeleke, Elizabeth Kifle, Petros Toggia, Rahel Woubishet, Ermias F.Y., Fisseha Mekuria, Teferra Demissie, Alem Bantayehu, Addis Ababa Busn Ctr, Abbay Restaurant, East African Press, California Mart, Elias Zewdie, Lion of Judah Travel, Judy Hager, Mesfin Genanaw, Dejene Habtemariam, Kim Highland, Achamyeleh Gebremariam, Bobby Amosun, Daniel Tekle, Rahel Gebreselassie, Mickey I., Dr. Abebe Kebede, Daniel Workie, Yodit Zeleke, Abera Shiferaw, Abass Alamnehe, Yared Esatu, Tsegenet Esatu, Mr.& Mrs Solomon, Daniel Abebe, Dula Abdu, Haeran Fisseha, Abebe Gelagay, Ms. Fisseka Mekuria, Getachew Felleke, Gebeyehu Adugna, Wondimu Mekonnen, Miteku Sibhat, Sirak Abere, Abebe Wondafrash, Meron Agonafer, Mengistu Abate, Gideon Samuel, Surafel Hiruy, Tsehai Berhane- Selassie, Mimi Bantayehu, Yemeseratch Kidane, T.W. Giorgis, Maaza Christos Mekuria, Sewite Negash, Samuel Mersha Admasu, Atikem Hailemariam, Tadesse Eshetu,Osman Hassen, Nebiyou Girma, Fesseha Atlaw, Tegegne Tefera, Gebretsadic Shiferaw, Yacob Sulmo, Daniel A. Ayele, Samuel Kinde, Negusse Haile, Alemyehu Bekele, Anonymous2, Samson Wondafrash, Mustefa Tenker, Dawit Alemayehu, Menassie Taddese, Tilahun Temesgen, Andrew A. Muzain, Adinew Zeleke, Abraham Lakew

Boldface type denotes contributions made of $100 or more.

Please continue to support the street children of Addis Ababa by making a pledge to the Ethiopian YMCA Children's Fund and by sending your contribution to:

YMCA of Greater Louisville Ethiopian Children's Fund 501 S. Second St. Louisville, KY 40202
Make checks payable to "Ethiopian Children's Fund".


I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation for all who have made a contribution toward our street children's project. We thank you for sharing our problems and making our project a reality. Ethiopia which once has been referred to as a land of the "Most Just Men" has lost the values of collecting its children which are scattered in the streets of Addis Ababa and some other major cities. This is due to many of the following reasons: change of governments, ethnic problems, broken families, unemployment, displacement, poverty and rural-urban drift in search of better living conditions.

The Ethiopian YMCA Children's Fund needs assistance in feeding, clothing, educating, and entertaining these street children. Our programs teach them skills in masonry, literacy, community health and hygiene as well as library and computer training. In the long run, we hope to provide the children with skills that can make them self-sufficient. We also try to obtain these children foster parents that can care for them. With your assistance, all these projects can become a reality.

Shifarraw Bizuneh
President, Ethiopian YMCA


Thank you for making a difference in the life of an innocent child. Thanks for donating to the Ethiopian YMCA Street Children's Fund. For the 1996-97 giving year the Ethiopian YMCA Children's Fund received $3233.00 in pledges of which $2398.00 was received. The funds were sent personally by a volunteer to the Secretary General of the Ethiopian YMCA in Addis Ababa, Mr. Berhanou Duguma. These funds will be used primarily for the various programs that benefit the street children of Addis Ababa.

On behalf of the Ethiopian YMCA and the International Committee of the Metro YMCA of Louisville, I would like to extend a big thank you to all those who have supported the cause in its first phase. We encourage you to continue to support these disadvantaged children in Ethiopia by making a pledge for the second phase of the 1997-98 giving year. OUR FUTURE WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE WAY WE TREAT OUR CHILDREN, THE FUTURE GENERATION.

Hope you will all participate in our future fundraising efforts.

John Knight-Doe
Chair, Eth. YMCA Children's Fund


Thanks to the Ethiopian YMCA Children's Fund, thousands of children have been able to eat three meals a day, have been given access to school supplies and are engaged in what is the most successful social and moral booster of all: theater and music education. Theatre serves as an important means for the street children to collectively perform skits providing them with freedom of expression and self-worth.

In the near future, the Ethiopian YMCA Children's Fund is looking to build a dormitory for the orphaned children 'to come home to'. Future contributions will be benefiting this long-term effort.


The following volunteers have assisted in all aspects of the Ethiopian YMCA Children's Fund:

" A big thank you to John Knight-Doe of Louisville, KY for spearheading this effort ".
" Thanks also are due to Elias Kifle (Atlanta), Samson Wondafrash (NC), Alem Bantayehu (DC), Elias Zewdie (Atlanta), Sara Amesalu (PA) ".
" A special thank you to Samuel Kinde (CA) for assisting in creating this web page ".
If you wish to volunteer in further making this fundraiser a success, please contact us with your ideas.


Chachi, the new wave Ethiopian entertainer, and the Gizzae Reggae Band will be performing in several major cities around the United States as a means to raise funds for the Ethiopian YMCA Street Children. Their first appearance will be on Friday, July 4, 1997 during the annual Ethiopian soccer tournament in Los Angeles, CA.

A YMCA Ethiopian Street Children's booth will be set up at the LA Soccer Tournament July 2-July 5, 1997 to expose our cause to the Ethiopian community at large. Please come by and visit us. Volunteers are needed to work the booth on several different shifts. If interested, please contact Alem Bantayehu via email at alem_bantayehu@hotmail.c om.

A meeting of YMCA veteran members was held on July 4, 1997 in Los Angeles. Jarso Desta initiated the meeting in order
1. To solicit more members within our respective states, cities and/or counties;
2. To do everything possible within our reach to enhance the operation of the YMCA in Ethiopia;
3. To meet at least once a year in conjunction with the soccer tournament; and
4. To establish an internet site in order to facilitate our communication.
An ad hoc committee was appointed (Desta Girma, Jarso Desta, Solomon Wodajo and Mengesha Beyene) to address the aforementioned highlights.


Dear former Ethiopian YMCA members:

I am filled with great joy and happiness when I write this thank you letter to all of you that were present at the first meeting of the "FORMER ETHIOPIAN YMCA MEMBERS" held at the Gahar High School in Cerritos, CA on July 4, 1997 at 4:00pm.

All who were present at the meeting, on that day, had the opportunity to share a few words about the role that the YMCA had played in their life. In short, what was said was expressed with great emotion, love and gratitude for the unique programs that the YMCA had offered:

Programs that were rendered practically for free to its members. As a result, making the doors open for all - mostly for the have-nots.
Programs that laid strong foundations in the development of the physical, spiritual, mental and social aspects of the individual member.
Programs that ignited, in its members' life, the desire for forging to higher and better goals into the future.
Programs that put its members in a unique family - the family of the YMCA members that shared unique identity and bonding.
Programs that created awareness for the needs of the community and the roles that one can play to make them better.
Programs that prepared potential leaders through the different leadership training and club activities.

These are some of the benefits we mentioned regarding the YMCA and what it meant to us when we were members then. What does the YMCA mean to those members in Ethiopia now?
Getachew Eshetu, a youth representative that came to the United States to attend a Youth Conference from Ethiopia, gave us a brief picture of what the YMCA in Ethiopia looks like with the following brief statement:

"Even though the present government has approved the return of the Arat Kilo YMCA building for use by the YMCA; that has not materialized to date and it does not look like it will materialize in the near future. As a result, the Ethiopian YMCA at present is operating from a small shack located in Addis Ketema. The YMCA, presently is an institution with a lot of program proposals on hand, but without resources to implement them."

We all felt sad about the situation that the YMCA of Ethiopia and its staff are faced with. If we, however, pause and think about what can be done, that is where we the FORMER ETHIOPIAN YMCA MEMBERS (FEYM), that live in the USA, come in. I FEEL WE ARE THE SOLUTION. We are the solution because we owe the YMCA. We are the solution, because we have the resource to ignite the torch that is now very dim at the YMCA of Ethiopia and we can make it burn bright like it did when we were members. So, what we need is to unite and put our minds together. And when we do that, reaching for the stars will be easy. At this point, to reinforce my point, I would like to quote the Amharic saying:

"Fifty lemons are heavy and burdensome for one person to carry, but very light and a source of beauty when fifty people share and carry a lemon each."

This is the type of sharing we all are looking forward to. A sharing that will be a source of beauty and pride to all of us. And that source of beauty and pride for the FORMER ETHIOPIAN YMCA MEMBERS, I am sure, is seeing the Ethiopian YMCA, which is our root, standing on its own two feet. What do you think?

Do you want to be one of the torch bearers in this NOBLE DREAM?
Do you want to help your Ethiopian brothers and sisters as others have helped you?
Do you want to unite, join hands and forge into the future?
Do you want to meet once a year like the annual soccer tournament does?
Do you want to participate in any kind of tournament? If so, in what?
Do you have any other suggestions about what can bring FEYM closer together?

The feedback I receive from you for the above questions and others that you may have will determine the blueprint of our future correspondence.

Please get in touch with former members of the Ethiopian YMCA that you know in your area. Share this letter and what was said at the meeting with them. If they are interested, please send me their telephone numbers and addresses and I will add them to our mailing list.

I thank you for your participation in the beginning of this noble dream.

Jarso Desta


1. Desta Girma (412)227-3815
2. Elias Zewde (404)525-2120
3. Gezabegne Assegid (212)264-2539
4. Solomon Wodajo (805)266-8817
5. Mengesha Beyene (703)256-5406
6. Abraham Abebe (301)589-8859
7. Yeshitla Araya (410)655-6058
8. Abbiy Gebrekristos (310)337-9237
9. Mengistu Tadese (214)987-3461
10. Fikre Tafesse (213)735-5638
11. Solomon G.S. (213)740-4759
12. Jarso Desta (714)447-4302
13. Tefera Yigezu (310)458-3521
14. Getachew Eshetu (Addis Ababa)

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