African Connection Summer 2019

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Donor Spotlight:

Beverly NortonIn 2005 Beverly Norton, a long-time donor to East African Village Outreach, joined a group of Presbyterian ministers and missionaries on a tour of Ethiopia. While there, she approached Presbyterian leaders in Ethiopia about partnering with an unreached people group in the western part of the country. Her interest and determination to invest in reaching such a group resulted in a ministry to the Shekacho people in Western Ethiopia.

At the same time unbeknownst to her, a fellowship of Ethiopian Christian expatriates was meeting in her home church in Sacramento, California. When she returned she met and joined in partnership with Seifu Ibssa to strategize and dream of how to generate and provide resources for improving the lives of the people of Ethiopia. Subsequently, Seifu led Beverly and several others, including our own Jim and Lana Reese, to visit his own birth village Acheber, Ethiopia. As a result of that trip and the energy and enthusiasm of those who went, EAVO was born.

Throughout the years, Beverly has given generously to support EAVO and our commitment to providing education for preschoolers. Her own passion for creating educational opportunities for children is born from her many years as an educator and trainer of teachers. Her dream is to see our preschool teachers trained to educate the children with methods and activities to develop the whole child—mind, body, and spirit. Her love for children extends to a dream for adequate nutrition and nurture for all the students who come to our schools. Her most recent of $15,000 will establish a new preschool in Acheber town where it will become the cornerstone of a community compound. Construction will begin in September 2019.

Because of donors like Beverly, with a vision that extends halfway around the world, EAVO continues to strive for a brighter future for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. Thank you, Beverly Norton!!


One of our Board members, Mr. Aberra Damessa, presented certificates to 30 preschool students in Roben Jirecha, Ethiopia, who graduated and moved on to 1st grade.  Present during the event were parents, community leaders, local pastors and Guennet Church leaders. It is common to see older children in Preschool in Ethiopia.

Mr. Damessa presenting certificates in the newly built church building (story next page)

EAVO’s Goal: Self-sufficiency

One of EAVO’s goals is to develop our partners’ capacities so that they become self-sufficient agents of change in their communities.  Two years ago, we transferred responsibility for community improvements that we had built in Endegagn to the local church. These included building a safe water delivery system and a preschool with latrines.

At a recent Board meeting, we determined that our partnerships with the Ginchi Preschool in Ethiopia and the Kisumu primary school in Kenya have accomplished the original goals. EAVO equipped these schools by building classrooms and providing desks and other needed supports. EAVO will continue to support these two partnerships for one more year and then withdraw, allowing them to run their schools beginning in September 2020.  We do this to avoid dependency on donors and encourage them to be self-sufficient. The board has decided to focus on Roben Jirecha and Acheber villages, both of which are in Ethiopia.

Supporting  a Deaf Student


When met Dereje Geresu roughly four years ago, he was living in Roben Jirecha with his widowed mother. Dereje is deaf and could not speak.  He asked our partners in Ethiopia to see if EAVO could send him to a special school for the deaf in Addis Ababa.  We did!  Today he is able to communicate by writing.

With some surplus funds, his mother was able to buy a cow.  Four years later, the cow gave birth. Today, he is the proud owner of a cow and two calves. These will enable him to have an income by providing dairy products to sell. 

Church Building Completed:

Many thanks to our donors, Lia and Asmare Bekalu who donated $5,300 to complete the church building in Roben Jirecha. It’s now complete and in operation.  The preschool is within the church compound.  Both attract the communities to come together daily or weekly.   

College Graduates:

This year, we supported forty-eight college students from Acheber village.   Roughly 30% of them (fourteen) are female students.  We are pleased to inform you that nine of our senior college students graduated in June 2019. Among the graduates, three are female.  Many thanks to you, our donors; we are slowly moving forward in building the ratio of graduating females to males. See the fruits of your gifts in the sample pictures of two graduates below.

Sara Temesgen Tolera Regassa

Sara Temesgen

Tolera Regassa
Applied Chemistry

Below is a list of this year’s graduates and area of study.  We thank you for your continued support.  These young men and women are the future of Ethiopia in general and Acheber in particular.

Name Gender Major
Alemu Bedada M Pharmacy
Awoke Getu M Economics
Bebalkachew Taye M Midwifery
Bebbe Negesse M Economics
Sara Temesgen F Geography
Tolera Regassa M Applied Chemistry
Yigremachew Mehdi M Banking and Finance
Zemzem Bonsa F History
Tariknesh Senbeto F Management


Board Members:

  • Dr. Olana Aberra, Chairman
  • Adele Ohs, Secretary
  • Skip Ohs, Treasurer
  • Mary Staples, Member
  • Jim Reese, Member
  • Jaime Major, Member
  • Aberra Damessa, Member
  • Seifu Ibssa, Member & Executive Director

Please send us your comments or questions via email to anyone of us as follows:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Mail your

Tax-Deductible Gifts to:

East African Village Outreach (EAVO)
9688 Ashstone Way
Elk Grove, CA 95624

You can also donate online at:

We need your help!

We are grateful to Mrs. Beverly Norton for her donation of $15,000.  We believe this will help build at least 2 of the 3 classrooms we plan to build (see design next page).  Will you help us complete this vision to improve the livelihood of Acheber, Ethiopia? Our goal is to make this community self-sufficient.