African Connection

Spring 2015 


It has been 10 years since we began reaching out 

to the people of Ethiopia and Kenya

 Come and celebrate with us!  

Let us praise the Lord together.  

May 16, 2015, 4 PM until 6 PM

Bethel Evangelical Church

7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828


Ethiopian Food (Served for Free)


Music by Johanna Christian Band


  • Activity and Financial Reports
  • Our college/high school coordinator, Hailu Ibssa, will be here from Ethiopia to speak.  His topic: My Beloved Acheber Village: Then and Now
  • Come meet other donors and fellowship
  • Hear the fascinating story of Frew Tibebu, our guest speaker. (see article below)


(All Free - Not a fundraising event)


Will you come?


We would like to prepare enough food for everyone 

so if you come, please email us at[email protected]

before April 30th, 2015.


Thank you!



Frew Tibebu with his son

Introducing Frew Tibebu, our Guest Speaker


Frew was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was a high school senior at the time Emperor Haile Selassie was dethroned and replaced by a military junta. Frew then joined a youth resistance group against the military regime and was subsequently arrested for his involvement.  After his release from prison, he fled to neighboring Djibouti wherein he was granted political asylum. He came to the United States as a refugee in September of 1980 with the help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He settled in the Washington, DC, area and obtained his bachelor's degree in Business Management in 1986. In 1989, he moved to Fremont, CA, and later married Debbie, whom he shares two boys and a girl. He has been living in Tracy, CA since September of 1997 and currently works as a real estate professional at Coldwell Banker in Valley Central, and runs a non-profit, Ethiopian Diaspora Stories Project as president and co-founder.


In November of 2006, almost thirty years since he had left Ethiopia, he traveled back to his country for an extensive visit. He discovered that the country had shown very little change overall, and that a majority of the children had only a slight, if any, chance of receiving quality education. It was here that he also learned about "Ethiopia Reads", and felt that being part of it would be one way to make a difference. As a result, in early 2009 Frew became an active board member for Ethiopia Reads, participating in strategic board meetings in shaping the organizations mission and vision, all the while establishing brand equity, and engaging in ongoing fundraising campaigns in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.


In January of 2014 Frew was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Image Award and received congressional recognition from Representative Jeff Denham' office for his hard work, leadership, and active involvement in the Tracy community and his work with Ethiopia Reads. In addition, Frew has received the Gold Heart Volunteer Award for his outstanding volunteer service at the Open Hearts Big Dreams Seattle Event.  In January of 2014, Frew started a joint campaign with One World Play Project and Ethiopia Reads to distribute the world's ultra-durable soccer balls to underserved communities all over Ethiopia.  



Unclean water before construction

Clean Water for Endegagn Village:


Endegagn is a community located some 260 kilo meters (165 miles) southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.  We partnered with a local church to rebuild a school within the church compound.  The school reaches out to children of Muslim and traditional Christian family backgrounds. 


During our visit in 2012, we identified the community's need for a clean water source.  Women and children walked hours to collect unclean water for their family.  They spent several hours lined up to take turns to collect that unclean water. The picture at the right disturbed us very much and we came back determined to do something about it. There were challenges we faced though: The location of the water source is very difficult to work on, so we had to wait until three issues were resolved: The right contractor, government permits and funding. Many thanks to our generous donors, we sent a total of $5,000 to our partner organization, Berhan Village Outreach (BVO), in Ethiopia to begin the water project with the following conditions in place:
1. Community participation:  We asked BVO to make sure the community donates its labor and local materials.
2. Permits:  Proper approval and government oversight is in place to avoid lawsuits.


With those two conditions met, EAVO board approved $5,000 be wired to Berhan Village Outreach. The work began earnestly sometime in January 2015 and was complete in mid-February 2015.


A village woman collecting clean water


More than 1,000 benefit:  
The water tank is capped at the top to keep it clean, and a faucet is installed at the bottom of the tank from where villagers collect clean water.  Our partner, Berhan Village Outreach, reported that villagers from as far away as 5 kilometers came to collect the clean water as soon as they heard rumors of the construction.  In all, more than 200 families with an average of 6 people per family use this water.



We are grateful to these fine organizations and individuals

who made this possible:

  1. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
  2. Jassac Charitable Foundation, Inc.
  3. Mike and Mary Staple
We thank you on behalf of the recipients of clean water. 


Winter 2015



Ten Years Later

Despair Turned to Hope

Seifu Ibssa, Director

This year marks the 10th anniversary of EAVO’s efforts to help a few villages in Ethiopia, followed by Kisumu, Kenya. I was in Ethiopia this past Fall, and I couldn’t help but marvel at how much has changed in the past ten years. I will never forget the gloomy image trapped in my mind of the young boy in Acheber fetching unclean water for his family. 

In Roben Jirecha and Acheber, the living conditions, education, healthcare, and overall level of impoverishment was nothing short of mindboggling. The villagers were drinking the city’s industry-waste-contaminated river water that caused a host of health issues, including death, for many people in the region. The only school in the area only went up to the 4th grade level. In Acheber, eighth grade students didn’t even have a high school to continue their education, and teachers sent by the government left after a while because of the lack of sleeping quarters. The only church building in the entire community was eroded away by heavy rain and wind; the only clinic for the community was in dire conditions and very poorly staffed. Nothing other than hopeless suffering could describe the situation surrounding Acheber and Roben Jirecha in 2005. The villagers were trapped in a cycle of poverty, desperate for an intervention.


This picture communicates a telling story about the village’s condition 10 years ago


2005: What “desks” looked like in classrooms

There is still a long way to go, but the landscape looks much different now and would absolutely not be this way without your faithful support.

In 2005, those villages were in struggling in despair; in 2015, they are now ringing with hope. Despair turned to hope for four villages because of your gifts! What a difference a decade makes! Your support also went on to touch two other villages: Endegagn and Ginchi. Here is a summary of what your love and support went on to do for these villages:

─     We built 8 additional classrooms and an office for a church school in Endegagn

─     A clean water project is underway as we speak, and in the process of bringing clean water to the villages of Ethiopia

Clean water filtration system, instead of contaminated industry-contaminated waste river water

We were able to do all these with your help and God’s grace, and we would like to celebrate these and other achievements with you, our supporters. We want to thank you in person at our 10th anniversary to be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 4 PM, with music performed by Johanna Band and delicious Ethiopian food, all free. It is a time of celebration, not a fundraising event. It will take place at Bethel Evangelical Church, 7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828. Dinner is free. We will have a good time. So, please mark your calendars.

Mr. Hailu Ibssa (Ex-Ethiopian Airlines Executive)

A Man on a Mission

Mr. Hailu Ibssa, a former Ethiopian Airlines executive, living comfortably in retirement is now on board helping us achieve our initiatives. He was previously happily managing a travel agency for fun, traveling to the U.S. to be with his grandchildren, and spending leisure time with other retired airline employees at their Ethiopian Airlines Retirees Club. 

Nothing could have disrupted his comfort more as he enjoys the latter years of his life in Ethiopia than to witness the conditions these people live under. 


Hailu with his high school students

All that luxury lost its meaning when Hailu learned that 95% of 8th graders could not afford to continue their education for lack of a high school in his birth village, Acheber. Hailu would find himself deeply shaken - his outlook on life forevermore transformed. One evening, Hailu received a call from his younger brother in the US. “I will not do well, Seifu, until I see a high school built in our village” came the reply to a “how are you” question on the other side of the line.


Melesech, one of our graduates

Interim Solution: The two brothers, joined by a team of volunteers in the US, meanwhile began sending students to a nearby town where they housed and educated them in the high school. Since the program’s inception in 2006, over 50 students went on to two-year and four-year colleges. So far, 17 students have received their degrees and are in the workforce. Throughout this time, Mr. Hailu Ibssa would learn his true calling in retirement – serving his fellow village men and women.

Hailu at a partially built high school

Permanent Solution: These were encouraging results, but Hailu knew he couldn’t continue sending high school students away from their family’s supervision and nurturing. He secured a 60,000 square meters of land from the community and got a permit to build a high school. He knocked at government officials’ doors until they built a four-room block of classrooms. Now, he hopes to have the rest of the buildings completed this year. His dream of a high school at his birth-village may finally come true this Fall if he completes building an admin building, a latrine, a lab and a library, which are the minimum requirements. We may ask you to help us buy desks, but not until he’s done with the 

A few pictures from our Fall 2014 trip

Soccer balls EAVO provided

A community representative (left) receiving 3 of the 20 soccer balls EAVO provided to the schools in the community in which we are involved. These balls do not require pumping and can last over 10 years. Many thanks to Frew Tibebu, they were donated to us by OneWorldFutbol, a nonprofit organization.


The water distribution center

Lana Reese Preschool (right background) is still under construction. We hope to inaugurate it by Fall 2015. The water distribution center (foreground), built by donation from the Rotary Club of Sacramento for the community and the school, continues to deliver clean water.

Trained teachers teaching

Already trained, two teachers are eager to teach. And students are just as eager to learn in this unfinished classroom (left) in Ginchi, Ethiopia. We need help for desks and teaching materials, only if you can please.


A few faces and interesting observations

This poor man earns $2.50 a day as a laborer. He was happy when we gave him 100 Birr ($5.00) and promptly pasted it on his forehead, courtesy of his sweat.
The face of future Ethiopia

Hanging on to dear life! 

Tonight’s meal being loaded on the bus (Anyone see a Safeway?)

We would not have been able to do all these things without your help and God’s grace.

For that and we would like you to join us in celebrating these achievements by attending our 10-Year anniversary party to be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 4 PM! There will be live music, performed by Johanna Band and delicious FREE Ethiopian food.

It is a time of celebration, not a fundraising event. It will take place at Bethel Evangelical Church at 7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828. We will have a good time! So, please mark your calendars!

Mark Your Calendars!!!

Let’s celebrate our 10th anniversary together!
May 16, 2015 at 4 PM 
Delicious FREE Ethiopian food
Music, fellowship, progress & financial reports 
7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828

We will send out another reminder as the date nears, but don’t miss out!