African Connection Winter 2022

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Dear friends,

In this issue of The African Connection, we will have two reports:

  1. Edoy Water Project Completed (page 1)
  2. Financial Reports (page 2)

We are delighted to report that Edoy Water Project is complete!  Women and children are joyfully collecting clean water from nearby distribution centers we built for all five communities, which improves their health.  They no longer have to run to rivers to collect contaminated water only to be inflicted with water-borne diseases. 

Women are so happy to have clean water near their homes

Women are so happy to have clean water near their homes

The water also serves a Primary / Junior high school (grades 1-8) and a local Orthodox church that is frequented by thousands of worshipers from several other communities.

We are grateful to you, our donors.  Many donors have given thousands of dollars each, but wanted to remain anonymous.  A special thank you goes to Temecula Rotary Club who gave $9,000 towards this project.  Thank you!

School children drinking and washing hands from faucets

School children drinking and washing hands from faucets

We built 17 distribution centers serving more than 4,000 people.  Some of the pipes go as far as 6 kilometers.

Board Members:

  1. Olana Aberra – Chairman
  2. Adele Ohs – Secretary
  3. Harold Ohs – Treasurer
  4. Mary Staples – Member, co-founder
  5. Jim Reese – Member, co-founder
  6. Aberra Damessa – Member
  7. Seifu Ibssa, Executive Director, Member and co-founder

Mail your Tax-Deductible Gifts to:

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

Below is our financial statement for 2022.   As you can see, 97% of our income is directed to projects.  Our admin expenses are just 3% this year.  Each one of us pay our own expenses when visiting project sites in Ethiopia, or travel to speak to groups such as Rotary Clubs when we are invited to introduce our organization and its projects. 

Financial Report Dec 31 2022

Thank you for your continued partnership with EAVO.  We couldn’t have done it without you!

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African Connection Fall 2022

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Dear friends,

Our executive director, Seifu Ibssa, travelled to Ethiopia in early August and has updates on the following topics. 

  1. College Graduates
  2. Edoy Water Project update
  3. Acheber Natives Association established
  4. EAVO recognized
  5. Repairs to our oldest preschool
  6. Evangelism update

College Graduates:  Among our Acheber college attendees whom we support monthly, 7 (Seven) received their degrees in various studies. 

Seifu with one of our graduates

Seifu with one of our graduates, Esayas Gugsa

Among the graduates are 4 male and 3 female students.  So far, you have helped us with assisting 94 college students graduate and get employed in their field of study.  Thank you so much for all your assistance to these students. 

We anticipate supporting about 40 students in 2022-2023 school year, all from Acheber village, Ethiopia.  Many thanks again for your support!

Edoy Water Project Update:

Edoy Water Project is getting built as scheduled despite the unfavorable weather conditions in Acheber area.  Men and women load donkeys with large rocks, cement, sand, and pebble rocks from about 3 miles away travelling uphill for more than an hour.  The level of commitment is very impressive.  The reservoir is well designed with intake, overflows, and cleaning outlets.  

Helping unload donkeys (Yes, I grew up doing this 😊).

Reviewing spring container.

We are currently short by $14,485 to complete this water project.  Any support you can send us would be greatly appreciated.  (Please mark your gift as “Edoy Water Project”). Thank you!

Acheber Natives Association (ANA) established:  With an objective of making Acheber self-sufficient, Seifu called up all expatriates of Acheber that live and work in Addis Ababa, and helped them establish an organization.  They quickly collected over 250,000 Birr (about $4,800) towards the water project.  The group elected 5 leaders with Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.

With Ethiopia. Acheber expatriates

With Acheber expatriates

With the contractor by the reservoir he built

With the contractor, Muluneh (R), by the reservoir he built

EAVO Recognized:

Our organization, East African Village Outreach, has been recognized by the Zone Administration for its efforts in building schools in Acheber.  A trophy was given to EAVO’s Executive Director in a ceremony held in the Zone’s compound with several people attending the event.  We thank you for all your support to make this happen.  We could not have made it without your continued support.  Thank you!

EAVO Recognized

Oldest Preschool Repaired:

Built in 2006, our very first Preschool in Ethiopia required major repairs.  EAVO Board members discussed the situation and sent a little over $5,000 to help repair the school.  It is now in much better shape than 4 moths ago when Seifu visited the school. 

Some of the students that were taught here are now in 4th year college at some of the top universities in the country. We thank you for your continued support to help us address this and other needs in Ethiopia.

Repairs underway at our first preschool

Repairs underway at our first preschool


Children are being taught Bible lessons in all four preschools that EAVO supports.  With regards to our partner, Guennet Church’s efforts, the Church has a 5-5-5-5 plan to evangelize communities across Ethiopia and beyond.  The plan is to reach 5 million people across the globe (mainly in Ethiopia), within 5 years, send out 500 church planters and plant 500 churches.  

church planters

With that vision, our Roben Jirecha church plans to reach out to 10 communities in the area.  I had a meeting with the Mission Head in Addis Ababa and the person tasked with planting those churches in Sombo on my way to Acheber. Both are extremely thrilled about these plans.  I met a group of people praying in the home of the church planter.  It is an exciting project – one that can transform people’s lives through Christ.

More Pictures

A section of Acheber Uruffa Cheffee High School

A section of Acheber Uruffa Cheffee High School

Discussing Edoy Water Project

Discussing Edoy Water Project

Work of Art in making a basket

Work of Art in making a basket

Delivering solar lights

Delivering solar lights (Gift of Temecula Rotary Club)

Some of our preschool children

Some of our preschool children in Roben Jirecha

Help Acheber girls run to school

Help Acheber girls run to school, not to rivers. Donate towards Edoy Water Project! We’re short by $14,485

Board Members:

  1. Olana Aberra – Chairman
  2. Adele Ohs – Secretary
  3. Harold Ohs – Treasurer
  4. Mary Staples – Member, co-founder
  5. Jim Reese – Member, co-founder
  6. Aberra Damessa – Member
  7. Seifu Ibssa, Executive Director, Member and co-founder

Mail your Tax-Deductible Gifts to:

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

Or donate online at
(Click Donate Now link)

More ways to help EAVO

Sign up at to have a 0.5% of your purchases donated to EAVO!

Smile Amazon.

Thank you!

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African Connection Summer 2022

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Dear friends,

Our college graduation has been pushed to August this year due to the pandemic.  We thought about updating you with our other activities until then.  Here are some topics:

  1. Roben Jirecha (RJ) Preschool Construction
  2. RJ Church benches delivered
  3. Edoy Water Project launched

Roben Jirecha Preschool:  We are very pleased to report that, our partners, Ethiopian Guenet Church, just completed the construction of a preschool in the Roben Jirecha church compound with funds you donated. 

The building has a classroom, with two doors and four windows for visibility (no electricity in rural Ethiopia), and an office / storage has been added.  There is a plan to add one more classroom in the future when funds become available.  Our Executive Director, Seifu Ibssa, travelled to Ethiopia in March 2022 and reviewed the construction in progress.  Seeing it completed and looking this good brings a special joy to all of us in the EAVO family.  Thank you for making this possible! 

Roben Jirecha Church Benches: The church in Roben Jirecha community, which was constructed and supported by EAVO – received 15 pews, replacing the fragile temporary seating.

Roben Jirecha church with its new benches.

According to our partners who delivered the pews, the church leaders, along with Pastor Lemma, expressed gratitude for the gift. 

“Looking back 16 years ago when we visited this community”, commented Seifu in our Board meeting after he returned, “I thank God for the positive changes I have witnessed in the area.  It’s truly remarkable!”. 

Edoy Water Project launched:  During Seifu’s trip in March, he was asked by Temecula Rotary Club leaders to visit Edoy village with a water engineer and report back.  Edoy is a village in Acheber area where EAVO built a teachers’ dormitory and toilets for the elementary school where there is no water.  

Girls are tasked with running to springs/rivers for water and carrying it back to their families, rather than run to school.

The water engineer reviewed the source of the spring, did some measuring, and informed us it will cost roughly $46,000 to cap the spring, build a reservoir and pipe it to the community as far away as 5 miles, the school 2 miles away, and an Orthodox church 3 miles away.  This cost includes 15 distribution centers, each having 4 faucets. 

Community leaders.

Seifu and the community leaders met for about 2 hours to discuss plans.  The community leaders immediately decided to donate their labor and local materials along 2,000 Birr ($40) from each family, which is 10% of their annual income, towards the project.  That comes to about $7,500.

Armed with this commitment from the community, EAVO board members met and decided to support the project with Temecula’s help.  Seifu is scheduled to make a presentation to our Temecula Rotary partners on July 20, 2022. 

Here is the breakdown:

Hiking to the spring source.

When completed, the water project will serve 4 communities: Edoy where the spring is, Gurambar, Metera and Woldia.  In addition, an elementary school (grades 1-8) and a church will be beneficiaries.  Those who would benefit the most will be the girls who are tasked with bringing water to their families carrying it on their backs every single day. 

Help us send girls to run to school rather than to the rivers.
(Please mark “Edoy Water” on your check memo)

Mail your Tax-Deductible Gifts to:
East African Village Outreach (EAVO)
9688 Ashstone Way
Elk Grove, CA 95624

Or donate at our website

Just as a reminder from our last newsletter.  Admin expenses have mostly been less than 5%.

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African Connection Winter 2021

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Dear friends,

As always, we are so grateful for your continued support. The last couple of years have been challenging here at EAVO due to COVID-19, but the work continued, thanks to many of you. We thought you would like to see where we spend your donations, and your giving have advanced the gospel.  Financial reports are on page 2 of this newsletter.  Please continue to support us with your prayers and your gifts.

High School Dedication: Acheber High School has been dedicated with a fanfare of celebrations.  Officials from the Zone and District administration were present during the celebration, and handed out certificates and special gifts (Gabi, a cotton made scarf) to those who participated in the high school construction.

Among them were Mr. Hailu Ibssa, our former College and High School Coordinator, who came up with the idea of housing high school students in a nearby town while knocking at government doors to get a high school built in Acheber.  He also raised more than half a milion Birr from the community towards the construction.  EAVO was also recognized at this event.  Community members came from miles on horses and by foot to attend this important celebration.

Hailu Ibssa, 2nd from left, receiving Certificate of Appreciation and a Gabi.  “I want to see a high school built in Acheber before I die.” Hailu’s wish back in 2009.  Well, God has granted your wish, sir!

As we indicated in previous newsletters, with the completion of the new high school, we no longer have to send high school students to the nearby town of Harba Chulule.  We praise God that we were able to house more than 2,000 students in that town over the past 16 years, and send them to colleges because of your gifts!

 Classrooms ready!

The new preschool in Acheber is ready to receive new students! We expect students and teachers will be in their classrooms by the time this newsletter is published.  The new preschool is equipped with round tables to help children learn more efficiently. 

Update on Preschool Toilet Rooms: Now that the rainy season in Ethiopia is over, construction of the toilet rooms should begin while the classes are ongoing. 

We are grateful to many of you, our donors, who sent funds for this purpose.  A very special thank you to Denny and Judy Smith of Paraklete Foundation who covered more than 90% of the construction of the new preschool’s toilet rooms.


This year, we have had 13 students graduate in various field of studies, of whom 2 were female students.  Between 2020 and 2021, the ratio of girls that graduated were 25%.  So far, EAVO has helped 87 students from Acheber graduate from college since 2006.

These were students that we supported throughout their high school, living in a nearby town, thanks to your continued support.

Financial Report: Please note the financial summary of the past five years.  As you can see, our 2020 income was down significantly due to COVID-19.  EAVO aims to spend 5% or less of total income on administrative costs.  Our goal is to ensure the bulk of your donations are used to support our programs in Ethiopia.

Income and Expense (5 Year Trend)

Income and Expense in Graphs

 We are grateful for your partnership in this journey of spreading support and educational opportunity in Ethiopia. The improvement that we see developing in people’s lives would not be possible without your generosity.

Thank you!

Mail your Tax-Deductible Gifts to:

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

Or donate at our website

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African Connection Winter 2020

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Dear friends,

Happy New Year. We hope that you remain well in these times of the pandemic. And we hope this update will encourage you.

Graduations:  Because of your generous support, four young women and seven young men from Acheber graduated this year from various universities with undergraduate degrees.  The number of female graduates is inching up slowly.  So far, 74 young people from Acheber, Ethiopia have graduated university because of your gifts. The previous 63 have all been employed, and we will assist the latest graduates to find jobs.

Flour Mills: In an effort to encourage self-sufficiency for our preschools and build infrastructure, we are installing two flour mills—one each in Roben Jirecha and Ginchi.  These mechanical mills will allow the villages to quickly mill their harvests of barley and teff. As we did with the water well in Roben Jirecha, we will charge a small fee to support operation of the preschools. We are grateful to Professor Adu Worku who, through his nonprofit Zoz Amba Foundation, donated $20,000 towards this project.  We added another $5,000 and got the project off ground.  The link below shows a village installing and operating a mill.  Also, see sample picture below.

Evangelist in Acheber: After several years of praying and searching for the right person, we are delighted to report that Mr. Amanuel Tekele has been hired as an evangelist to reach out to the community in Acheber.  Amanuel is married with a child, and is currently leading a group of 25 Christians in Acheber town.  Please pray for the Lord to open hearts for the Gospel.

Solar Lights.  Thanks to a generous donation from the Temecula Rotary Club, we purchased and shipped 32 large solar lights--enough to light up an entire hut and help high school students study at night.  The total cost, including shipping, was more than $5,000.  Thank you, members of the Temecula Rotary Club and Mr. Richard Smith, for these gifts.

High School Students AT HOME! You may recall that for many years, we have supported high school students to attend school in a nearby town, 25 miles away from their families.  Recall also that by continuously lobbying the government, we built a high school in Acheber.  Since 2018, the school has been teaching 9th and 10th graders, but beginning in September 2021, 11th and 12th students will begin attending that high school as well. They no longer have to travel 25 miles away from home.  This came to pass because of your gifts and on-going support of EAVO’s commitment to educating the youth of Eastern Ethiopia.

Preschool Construction Update:  Construction of our 9th school (6th preschool in East Africa), is almost complete.  We were informed that the finishing work is underway.  Thanks to Paraklete Foundation, we just wired more than $8,500 to buy desks, office furniture and teaching materials. Thank you, Paraklete Foundation.

Planned Trip: Our Executive Director, Seifu Ibssa, plans to retire from his regular job this spring and travel to Ethiopia this summer, subject to availability of COVID-19 vaccinations. He will spend his time helping teachers and high school students with their English language and computer skills.  He will also be directly involved in many of our projects to make sure they are successful.

We are grateful for your partnership in this journey of spreading support and educational opportunity in Ethiopia. The improvement that we see developing in people’s lives would not be possible without your generosity.

Thank you!

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African Connection Summer 2020

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Dear friends,
We hope and pray that you and your family are keeping safe during this unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic. For many families, it has been a time of reflection / bonding with each other. We hope that is the case with you and your family as well.

In this issue, we will bring you updates from Ethiopia and the effects of the pandemic for our ministry.

Preschool Construction:

We reported that we received 5,000 square meters of land in Acheber town for the purpose of building a preschool and Community Center. Many thanks to the generous donation of Mrs. Beverly Norton, The Paraklete Foundation and you, our faithful partners. Harvest Church of God (our partner in Ethiopia) has just completed the foundation, walls, roof, doors and windows. The floor and many other finishing jobs are yet to be completed. Please consider donating to help with the completion of the school and start the construction of the community center.

No Graduation Pictures:

Sadly, we don’t have college graduation pictures to share with you this year. Schools in Ethiopia have been closed to minimize the spread of Covid19. As a result, 48 college and 64 high school students (11th and 12th graders) that EAVO supports have been out of school. Once vaccinations are available, students will repeat the same grade (or year in which they were in college).

For the Record:

Just as a reminder, thanks to your generosity, EAVO has been able to accomplish a great deal in partnership with village leaders and churches:

  •  7 Water sources have been protected, giving thousands of people healthy clean water.
  •  6 Preschools have been built and supported, 2 schools upgraded and 1 high school built in partnership with the District government, giving several thousand children a good start in their education.
  •  63 college students have graduated since the beginning of our high school / college programs. These young people will help lead Ethiopia in Health Care, Education, Environmental Protection, Engineering, and  Economic Development of the country for years to come.
  •  Over 2,700 apple trees have been distributed to help farmers expand crop yields and improve their quality of life.
  •  Many of the poorest in these communities have benefited from benevolence gifts to become productive members of their communities.

Please pray for Ethiopia.

Recently, the south and south-eastern part of the country has been rocked by civil unrest, ethnic-based killings and some religious persecutions from extremist Muslims to evangelical and Orthodox Christians. Many Christians have been hiding inside Orthodox churches; others have camped out in the compounds of Orthodox churches. Please continue to pray for Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God”. Psalms 68:31

Meet the Team / Board Members

Dr. Olana Aberra, Board Chairman: A physician at Kaiser Permanente and lives in the Sacramento region with his wife and children.


Adele Ohs, Secretary: Retired Education Consultant, lives with her husband Skip in Sacramento.


Harold (Skip) Ohs, Treasurer: Retired US Air Force officer, lives with his wife Adele.

Jim Reese, co-founder and board member: A retired high school teacher, lives in Sacramento.

Mary Staples, co-founder and board member: lives in Arizona with her husband.


Aberra Damessa, board member: is retired and lives with his wife in the Sacramento region.

Jaime Major: Board member: Lives with her husband and two children in the Sacramento region.

Seifu Ibssa, Exec. Director, Board member & co-founder: Financial systems consultant, lives with his wife and their sons in the Sacramento region.



Mail your Tax-Deductible Gifts to:

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

You can also donate online at:

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African Connection Winter 2019

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Ethiopia Trip Report
By Adele Ohs

In early November, I traveled with East African Village Outreach (EAVO) director, Seifu Ibssa to Acheber, Ethiopia. Also in our party were Richard Smith, Chairman of the International Development Committee for the Temecula Rotary Club; Hirut Ibssa, from New Orleans and whose father had been born and raised in Acheber; and Begashaw, our Ethiopia EAVO liaison.

Our itinerary was daunting. We drove to Harba Chulule to visit with the 11th and 12th grade students there. The 15 girls and 20+ boys welcomed us warmly. The girls fixed coffee for us ladies while we discussed the use of the Days For Girls (DFG) reusable feminine hygiene kits they received last year. We discovered that most of them had used them for one year and thrown them out, so we clearly have some communication and training to do about the proper care for the kits. (More about this later). We also talked with the boys about respecting the girls as their sisters and protecting them from bullying or improper advances. The students have clearly formed a community of their peers; we had lively discussions about their needs and how EAVO can best meet those needs in the context of their living quarters.

While in Harba Chulule, we were invited to the offices of the district governor to discuss a matter of dispute over the land granted for the Lana Reese Preschool in Acheber. The school is operational, but the water distribution center has been vandalized and is unusable, and the neighbors are allowing their livestock to graze on the school property. The practice violates the agreements EAVO had about the use of this donated land. EAVO needs to be able to erect a fence to keep the school safe for students, but neighbors now contend that they weren’t adequately compensated in the land donation. The matter must be settled between the district government and the local Aceber officials. However, since the school is an EAVO project, we were involved in the negotiations and the fate of the water distribution site.

As we descended into the valley where Acheber town is located, we stopped to view the land where the future Community Center will be built The land is fenced and ready for the preschool construction to begin. Further on, as we passed the town and approached the north edge of the valley where the guesthouse and Ajo pre-school are built, we were greeted by a band of noisy horsemen surrounding us with song and waving sticks. Further on, a group of men on foot stopped our caravan to greet us—it was a great honor. The community clearly appreciates EAVO’s involvement in community development, and especially their native son, Seifu.

The next day we visited one of the 16 water distribution sites near the guesthouse. We followed that with visits to the Ajo Preschool and the elementary school where we have supplied desks for some classrooms. We distributed some DFG kits for seventh and eighth grade girls and some solar lights. We were encouraged that the eighth graders who took the national exams last year all passed, and the teachers there impressed us with their devotion and commitment to the future success of the next generation.

Our visit to the high school in Acheber surprised us—the government has added numerous buildings to the original four classrooms EAVO helped build. Apparently, the site will be developed into a much larger, regional high school. We discussed some anomalies in the girls’ pass rates from last year’s exams, distributed more DFG kits and solar lights.

We ended the first days’ work with a visit to Lana Reese Preschool where we talked with the teachers and students and examined the fence “problem” and the vandalized water distribution site.

Later in the week, Seifu and I went with Tamirat, the new Secretary General of Guennet Church, and Pastor Gossaye to visit the work in Roben Jirecha. We drove up the mountains in teff and barley harvest season; all around us farmers were cutting and bundling their harvest by hand. In Roben Jirecha we were greeted by the pastor of the church on the property and by the teachers. There were fewer students in class because of the harvest, but the little ones who were there were seated and respectful. Their teacher expressed his commitment to teaching in his native village as an act of giving back to his community and investing in the future of the country. A visit to the well that EAVO put in several years ago was an example of a community taking responsibility for themselves. The people are paying a small charge for the water, which pays for the water technician.

We had meetings with officials from Harvest Church of God, our partners in Acheber, and with Guennet Church, our partners in Roben Jirecha.

We also met with a young lady, Raeye, who is trying to start a DFG work in Addis. Her enterprise is not fully operational yet, and she and a partner have only worked with high school girls in Addis so far. We proposed that we would pay for her and her friend to travel to Harba Chulule and Acheber to train our girls in proper use of the kits and also some basic female issues that aren’t readily available to them. We will make arrangements with the schools for them to meet in the near future.

My last meeting was with a group of our college alumni. Only a few of the many graduates were able to meet with us, but we had an encouraging conversation. Some highlights: one of the men we met with is now supporting a younger brother in university, and they are all in an alumni foundation which is committed to regular giving to support Acheber’s students further education. Begashaw communicates with those who could not attend, and many are joining the association.

Begashaw was instrumental in supporting all of our high school and college programs and is growing in leadership skills. Our friend Getu made arrangements for our ease and comfort at all steps along the way, and everywhere we were welcomed by friends and family of EAVO and the Ethiopian people.

I was aware, as I met with our Ethiopian friends, that I was representing all of you, our donors. Your generous gifts to EAVO, make these partnerships to support education and community growth in Acheber and Roben Jirecha possible. The honors that we received belong to each of you; your donations have funded all this growth. As you contemplate the end of 2019 and 2020, please continue to make EAVO part of your giving. Your participation is making a difference.

Getu's wife Abbay prepared tasty meals for the road

Dozens of solar lights have been donated to the schools in Acheber, Ethiopia.

Acheber Valley with the town from a distance

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


We would love to hear from you!
Email your comments or questions to any of us:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[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:

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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.

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African Connection Winter 2018

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Warm Greetings, dear friends of East Africa Village Outreach (EAVO). As we near the end of 2018, we pray you have had a blessed year, and we hope you will rejoice with us in what your partnership with EAVO has accomplished.

In September, Executive Director Seifu Ibssa traveled to Ethiopia. Here is a summary of his trip.

In March of 2018, Seifu facilitated a trip to the Acheber region where an extensive water project was underway thanks to a successful partnership with the Sacramento Rotary  Club. Four members of the Rotary traveled with him to see the progress. The project was extensive; it was designed to provide water to sixteen separate distribution centers in villages in the Acheber area. Each distribution center would be provided with four spigots providing clean water. Villagers would no longer have to travel long distances to obtain unclean water from rivers —usually a task for the girls in the family.

On that same visit, the team brought 96 solar lamps to students at Acheber High School. These lamps are provided to the female students since they often have family responsibilities that prevent them from studying until after sundown. With the solar lamps, the girls can complete their domestic chores and have access to light for study at night. 

Using Nokero solar lamp, a young Acheber high school student studying at night

The team also distributed eighty reusable feminine hygiene kits to the high school girls to enable them to attend classes during their monthly cycles.

In September, Seifu was able to oversee completion of the water project and all eleven distribution centers are operable. Additionally, EAVO plans to construct five more distribution centers at a nearby village.

Student Support:

EAVO is currently supporting 42 college students from Acheber. There are 32 males and 10 females receiving monthly stipends to ensure that they are able to continue and complete their educations. These college students have been supported throughout their high school years.

We continue to provide support for high school students in 11th and 12th grades to board in Harba Chulele as the high school in Acheber serves only 9th and 10th grades at the present time.

The ratio of males to females continues to be unbalanced (three times more males than females complete their secondary or college educations), and EAVO continues to focus on culturally acceptable ways to encourage more girls to complete their educations.

The pre-schools in the Acheber region (Ajo village and the Lana Reese Preschool) currently serve roughly 120 students each. These students are entering elementary school better prepared than their peers who have not attended pre-school and are faring better academically in elementary school as well. In a recent awards program, a high school sent out a scholarship competition to a zone with 8 districts for outstanding eighth graders. All were from a single district where Acheber is a part of. We are excited to report that all three awards were given to Acheber students.

EAVO completed a preschool in Roben Jirecha last year, and that school is currently serving sixty-eight students from pre-school through eighth grade.

A Report from our Partners in Kisumu, Kenya

Hello Seifu,

I am writing to just give you brief update. The school has started doing exams and we began by giving children special African meal to motivate them. We normally do the special meal once in a while since they enjoy it a lot. We plan for the graduation for the students who have qualified to be transmitted to grade one next year to be held on 25th October next week, Thursday, where we will have a special school function inviting all parents, guardians, government education section, community opinion leaders among others at the school new building. Thereafter, we will be conducting interview for the new children who will be joining us next year in January  2019 as new admission. 

Students during a feeding time at Purpose Driven School in Kisumu, Kenya

Preschoolers in Kisumu graduating

Thank you.

Board Members:

  • 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

We would love to hear from you!

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

Example: [email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]


At our mailing address below:

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

Year-End is here!

Please help us reach the unreached in Ethiopia and Kenya. 
Send your 2018 Tax-Deductible Gifts to the mailing address shown above. 

You can also donate online at:

Future Opportunities

In the Acheber region, the town of Acheber continues to grow in population. As the area develops, EAVO foresees a unique opportunity there to support community development. Seeing the success stories of our two preschools in Acheber, the town has donated 5,000 square meters of land to EAVO to develop a community center that would include a three-room preschool, a two-room multi-purpose community building, a latrine for those buildings, and a guest house with a bathroom/shower for visiting US students and teachers to provide English language support for students preparing for college exams, and community developers to work in the area. EAVO is in the planning stages of this, our most ambitious project to date. We want you to dream with us of a time, perhaps within the next five to ten years, when Acheber will be a model of culturally sensitive community building in the Horn of Africa (see design on last page).

Our objective is not only a preschool, but also a high school tutoring program in the Study Room with computers, books and tutors from the US and Ethiopian college students.  Please mark your gift “Acheber Preschool”

A Vision Born Out of a Need

Help us make this dream a reality.  Thank you!

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African Connection Summer 2018

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Celebrating Water – Together! 

 Four members of the Sacramento Rotary Club, Clayton Lee, Marta Senz, Rita Gibson and Laurie Rood  traveled to Ethiopia with Seifu Ibssa of EAVO in March 2018 to celebrate the completion of the Ajo Water Project together with the community of three villages in Acheber, Ethiopia. Upon arrival to the villages, we were informed that the entire community participated by donating their labor and local materials for the project, which will serve over 5,000 people.  The youth in particular came out in force and worked very hard carrying sand, cement, rocks and hiking all the way to where the water tank was constructed.  Three elders took turns in blessing the Rotarians, and gave them hand-crafted shawls to show their appreciation.  East African Village Outreach (EAVO) would like to extend its heartfelt thank you to Mr. Clayton Lee and Mr. John Phair for their enormous contribution of energy and finance.  We also want to thank Mr. Hailu Ibssa & Mr. Jim Reese for their vision. Entire Community

New Building – New Life!

New Building


New building - New Life

With your help, we were able to open our 8th school in East Africa!  Our Kenyan partners, Samuel and Susan Okumu reported that the new building has, in their words, “brought a new life to the community and greatly changed the image of the Church”.  A BIG Thank You goes to EAVO family of donors. 

A Heartfelt Acknowledgment

Girum Fantaye

We partially financed Girum Fantaye’s college education.  Upon his graduation, Mr. Fantaye wrote: “This acknowledgment was written on my original paper submitted to Mekane Yesus Seminary.  Board members of East African Village Outreach have been loyal supporters of my education, and encouraged me to pursue my dream of serving the Church.  Thank you so much!”.

More Graduates:

Among the 32 college students we currently are supporting, all of whom are from Acheber village, five have graduated this year.  It is encouraging to see more girls graduate this year, though we have a lot of work ahead of us.

  1. Sitota Byene (M), Civil Engineering
  2. Bontu Bedada (F), Statistics
  3. Bahirnesh Mulatu (F), Civics & Ethical Education
  4. Biruk Bobe (F), Geography & Environmental Studies
  5. Negalign Zewde (M), Accounting & Finance

Upon encouragements from EAVO, an Alumni of Acheber Village Graduates has been formed and is making progress in setting up a  nonprofit organization to improve the future of Acheber village.  They have begun meeting periodically.

An Evening of Celebration

On April 7, 2018, EAVO and over 120 friends celebrated a year of accomplishments and shared hopes for the future at a dinner at Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. A team of talented cooks led by Betty Girma provided a bountiful Ethiopian meal for all.An Evening of Celebration

The evening included reports from the EAVO Board: Chariman Dr. Olanna Aberra served as Master of Ceremonies; Jim Reese shared EAVO beginnings; Treasurer Skip Ohs provided an overview of fiscal health; Secretary Adele Ohs shared the work to improve education for female students in the villages and introduced Carole Hanna, local chair of Days For Girls which makes and provides reusable feminine hygiene kits. Executive Director Seifu Ibssa shared progress on current initiatives (water projects and schools) with a special word from Rotarian Clayton Lee about the recent visit Rotary members made to Acheber.

Adugnaw Worku

Special guest speaker, Professor. Adugnaw Worku, retired professor of Pacific Union College and director of ZOZ Amba Foundation, spoke poignantly of his childhood in rural Ethiopia and of the opportunities God opened to him through higher education. He emphasized the value of investing in education as a vehicle  for supporting young Ethiopians.

The evening concluded with an appeal, which was warmly received. Thanks to all who helped  and who have joined us in supporting transform lives in Ethiopia.

No Girls Left Behind

As we reported in our last newsletter, the ratio of girls who graduate from high school is extremely low in sub-Saharan Africa.  In our high school program, only 13% graduate from college.  One of the ways in which EAVO has been addressing this issue is through distribution of feminine hygiene supplies to all high school girls. No Girls Left Behind

We are happy to report that we have partnered with Days for Girls, a nonprofit organization that provides feminine hygiene supplies throughout the World.  During our recent trip with the Sacramento Rotarians, we distributed 178 washable supplies to every high school girl in Acheber.  A presentation was made on best use of the feminine hygiene supplies.

Let there be light

As part of the effort to increase the girls ratio, we also provided 96 solar lights to help the girls study after they help with house chores.  In prior years, we distributed 66 of those study lights and were informed they were extremely helpful.   

Each light costs less than $10 discounted and are worth every cent. Thank you for making this possible!

Next Year’s Budgets:Next Year's Budget

In its May 5, 2018 meeting, EAVO Board approved $34,060.36 of expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year that begins in September 2018 and ends August 2019.  93% of the incoming donations will be sent to Ethiopia and Kenya for various projects and teachers’ salaries where as 7% is allocated to administrative expenses such as wiring fees, newsletter printing, etc. 

As you can see, 93% of your gift goes directly to the recipients.  We hope you will recognize this effort to reduce our overhead expenses and join us to make a difference in bringing badly needed education and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the next generation of East Africans.

We have moved!

Please note that our new address:

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

You can donate online at:

email us your comments and suggestions

[email protected]

Board Members:

  • 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
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African Connection Spring 2018

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EAVO: A Focus for the Future

“…if all women completed primary education, we could reduce by 70 per cent the number of women dying in childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa – saving over 100,000 lives every year….Some 6.1 million children under 5 die in poor countries every year – we know we could cut this by half if all women had secondary education.”

                        Irina Bokova, United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI), 2016

She belongs in school

United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI), 2016

According to the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI), only 47% of girls in Ethiopia who enter primary school complete that step of their education. If a girl is supported and resourced to attend secondary school, she has a better chance of completing her education.

She belongs in a school

She belongs in a school

These statistics from the UNGEI are alarming to us, and for this reason EAVO is committing its focus for this year on specific interventions to support girls’ education. Those of you, our friends and companions on this journey to build schools, fund secondary education, provide clean water and build the infrastructure for the Word of Christ to flourish, will not be unfamiliar with this endeavor. For years, as we built and outfitted schools, we have attempted interventions that would help more girls complete primary, secondary and university educations. But the numbers are still not good enough for us—our goal is equality of educational experiences for all the students in our programs.


Some statistics of Acheber Girls:





% of Girls

College Graduates





Current Attendees






Many of the girls in our programs face significant physical and cultural challenges to completing high school, and fewer than 25% of the young people EAVO have sent to college and university are women. The girls are the ones in the home who are most responsible for household chores—fetching water and firewood, caring for younger siblings, cooking and cleaning. With the onset of adolescence, many of these girls stay home during their monthly periods; they don’t have access to feminine hygiene products to allow them to attend school with dignity and privacy. Girls often leave school to marry before they can complete their educations.


You may remember that in Acheber and Roben Jirecha, we have provided opportunities for boys and girls to attend high school by renting places for them to stay during the week. We provided a small number of solar lamps to allow girls the light to study at night after their household chores have been completed. We have reached out to the organization Days For Girls to begin providing reusable feminine hygiene kits for use during their menstrual cycles. But these are just the beginnings.

They belong in a school

In the coming months, EAVO will explore ways to expand these programs and to seek discernment for how Christ would expand our ministry to girls. We are looking forward to how God will use us, and we invite you to continue on this journey with us.

You are Invited

Ethiopian food

EAVO invites you to a special event on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at Fremont Presbyterian Church. (5700 Carlson Drive, Sacramento--across J St. from Sac State)  at 5:30 pm.

We would like you to be our guests for dinner and a time of celebrating the accomplishments of EAVO and the future of our ministry. Dinner will be a buffet of Ethiopian and Italian food (remember that Ethiopia was invaded by Italy during WWII, and the influence of the food has endurItalian fooded.). You will hear about recently completed projects and the effects these have had on village life. And we will share our hopes for expanding our influence in supporting female education.

Our special guest will be Dr. Adu, a retired professor from Pacific Union College, who is leading a ministry organization in the northwest of Ethiopia. Dr. Adu will share his life story and how he came to advocate for the education of girls and women in Ethiopia.

We hope you will continue with us on this new adventure. Please let us know if you can join us for dinner on April 7. Note that childcare will be provided for children under 10 years of age.  

One of our graduates

One of our graduates

RSVP to Seifu at (916) 202-2444 (or [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]). We look forward to hearing from you!

Board Members

Dr. Olana Aberra, MD (Chairman), Jim Reese (Member), Skip Ohs (Treasurer), Adele Ohs (Secretary), Mary Staples (Member), Jaime Major (Member), Aberra Damessa (Member), Seifu Ibssa (Member and Executive Director). 

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African Connection Fall 2017

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Introduction:  Our executive director, Seifu Ibssa, travelled to Ethiopia in September and was able to help establish an association of college graduates EAVO supported during their high school and college years. We hope that this association will continue the life changing work EAVO.  Here is his report:

An Association is Born: (By Seifu Ibssa)

In the past 12 years since we began our high school / college programs, a total of 46 students, all from Acheber village, have graduated from universities and colleges. With one or two exceptions, all have joined the workforce as engineers, accountants, bankers, nurses, teachers, etc. 

My brother Hailu, who is heading the high school and college programs for EAVO, has been dreaming about establishing an association of these fine graduates for quite some time.  Our objective is to have these graduates continue and expand the work EAVO began a decade ago.

Acheber college graduates meeting to form an Association

Acheber college graduates meeting to form an Association

A few months before I travelled to Ethiopia, I sent out a call through Facebook to all the graduates we supported.  Most were out of town for work or for the holiday, but 15 of them attended a meeting at a hotel about five minutes’ walk from where Hailu lives.  We were joined by a sympathetic mentor and volunteer, also from Acheber region, whose job is to consult with the government. 

It is a tradition to have an older person bless a meeting before it begins, so I asked my brother to bless our meeting.  He then made a short speech that was very moving for the attendants – some were moved to tears.  He said, “My dear sons and daughters, I am now aging.  I turned 79 this past March.  I cannot continue the work I started with my younger brother, Seifu.  Please take this responsibility from me”. 

The participants quickly began discussing what to do and how to go about making a difference in the village in which they were born--how to change the lives of the young and the old.  They chose five committee members to explore ideas, to come up with bylaws and an appropriate name for the organization, and to call a meeting within six months.  Hailu and I were ecstatic about the formation of this alumni group.  We told them we will be the first two members of the organization and continue to support them with ideas and finances.  It was a day of jubilation! A day of passing the torch from our generation to the next.

Away From Family:

Although a high school has been built in Acheber after many obstacles, only 9th and 10th grade students are able to get their educations while they still live with their families.  The 11th and 12th grade students must travel about five hours to the nearest town for high school.  Currently, EAVO pays for their rent and provides them with matresses and other essentials.  Thanks to your gifts, four students from the poorest of the poor families also get financial support for their food.

the poor families also get financial support for their food. Hailu (background) with his 11th and 12th grade students

Hailu (background) with his 11th and 12th grade students

Hailu periodically knocks at the door of the government’s education bureau--lobbying them to send teachers to Acheber for these 11th and 12th grade students.  Please continue to pray for these students who study away from their homes and families.  And thank you for your continued donations to support our efforts to ensure these students’ futures.

Church School Transferred:

We are pleased to inform our donors that Bethel Evangelical Church (the Ethiopian fellowship in Sacramento CA) has agreed to take full responsilibity for the church school EAVO began supporting in Endegagn ten years ago.  The school was originally built 35 years ago with the help of Bethel Church’s current pastor, Tamirat Haile Weshebo, but it was in disrepair when EAVO agreed to help.  Thanks to you, we upgraded the school from preschool to 1-4th grade, complete with an office and 8 classrooms.  EAVO has been paying for teachers salaries for the past 10 years.  The community has also benefited from a water project that EAVO funded with about $7,500.00.

Our objective is to have either the community, our partners, or a combination of both to take full responsibility for the schools we built, so that the community will claim ownership without relying on foreign aid.

Class in session in one of the 8 rooms EAVO built in Endegagn

Class in session in one of the 8 rooms EAVO built in Endegagn

The Rotarians in Acheber, Ethiopia:

Five members of the Sacramento Rotary Club journeyed to Acheber village, Ethiopia, to participate in a water project serving more than 5,000 villagers. The Club donated more than $33,500 for the project and an anonymous EAVO donor gave $6,000.  We are deeply grateful to all the members, but particularly to Mr. Clayton Lee and Mr. John Phair who worked tirelessly to make it happen. We are also thankful to Finot Rotary of Addis Ababa for partnering with this project.

Special thanks to Clayton Lee, an EAVO friend, for getting the stalled project off ground!  Thank you!

Sacramento Rotarians, Finot Rotary leadership (standing), project contractor (seated, center) and Hailu Ibssa, seated right)

Sacramento Rotarians, Finot Rotary leadership (standing), project
contractor (seated, center) and Hailu Ibssa, seated right)

As 2017 ends, we hope you will consider making a special gift to the work of East Africa Village Outreach. As you can see, your contributions make a significant difference to the lives of the people of Ethiopia and Kenya. Thank you, and may you and your families be blessed during this special season of celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Mail your tax deductible gifts to:

East African Village Outreach
7276 French Road
Sacramento, CA  95828



Give online at our secured website:

Thank you!

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African Connection (Summer 2017)

The African Connection

            A Quarterly Newsletter of East African Village Outreach (EAVO)


“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now….” Philippians 1:3-4.

Introduction:  Earlier this summer, our Board President, Dr. Olana Aberra, took an extended trip to Ethiopia. He shares what he experienced there while visiting our working sites. 

A Journey of Appreciation: (By Dr. Olana Aberra)

This past summer, I travelled to the four of our five East African Village Outreach (EAVO) sites where we have built kindergartens (KGs) in rural Ethiopia. Seeing the eager and bright eyed faces of all the children attending school at these KGs was definitely the highlight of my visit. 

It is one thing to read the reports and see the pictures of EAVO projects but it was an entirely different and profound experience to witness first-hand the young lives that are being changed as a result of these programs. Being physically present in these villages, breathing the uniquely fresh air of rural Ethiopia, meeting the kids and the villagers up close made it clear to me why the mission of EAVO is such a worthy pursuit. 

 When I approached the school in Acheber village, the children came across the field to welcome us. They surrounded us singing and clapping with joyful faces and warm handshakes.  This welcome was repeated in Ginchi, where we witnessed the work that this community has done to improve their church. The schools in both communities are thriving.

The church in Ginchi has made significant progress since we first met them in 2012. EAVO financed repairs of their church and construction of a KG. The community completed the upgrades to the church and now has a preschool serving more than 80 children from the village.

 We saw similar progress in Aderay at the Lana Reese Pre-school, which was completed last year. The classrooms have been built and all are furnished with desks. Truly the work of EAVO in these communities is making a difference. It was encouraging to hear from the teachers and local leaders that the children who attend these KGs are better prepared than most children when transitioning to 1st grade in the government run public schools. Some of the KGs incorporate Bible education and prayer as part of their curriculum while others use the rooms to hold church services for the children on Saturdays. This practice not only nourishes these young souls, it also is having enormous influence on the parents of the children and the community in general. It is leading to a wider acceptance of Christianity in these villages where ancient idol worship practices are still common. 


The future is bright for the children attending these KGs as they get a head start in their education and spiritual life. Continuing EAVO's work in supporting the existing KGs and building new ones in other underserved villages remains a top priority. 

Through our continuing partnership with you, our donors, we continue to make progress in nurturing the next generation of Ethiopians and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. 

Your servant in Christ,  Olana Aberra. 


 Kenya update: 

Our continuing partnership with the Purpose Driven School in Kisimu has resulted in a significant improvement for the students and the community there. The school shares the church building which was in need of significant repairs. EAVO provided financial resources for the church to install flooring and doors for the building. 

Samuel Oukumu, the principal of the school and EAVO’s partner, reports “We are glad the good work of church repair is now complete and the doors are ready waiting to be fixed. It has taken some time due to the school programs and church activities which were quite involving….  We are so glad that the school children for the first time can enjoy washing the floor or dusting it using broom and brush. They have been only seeing the muddy school floor full of dusts and dirt. This week they all want to clean the floor since it is so smooth and slippery and enjoyable for them. The pulpit is raised so that the preacher or the pastor can see all the congregation even the ones seated at the far corners of the church. The teachers too can use the pulpit as part of the class teaching space at the moment for the time being before we built the school .We are impressed children find it easy to do the cleaning together with the teachers.”


More College Graduates:

Five more students from Acheber village who have been supported throughout their high school and college years graduated from 4-year colleges in different fields of studies.  Our Execttive Director, Seifu Ibssa, said “It gives me an enormous pleasure to see these young men from my birth village graduate from college, but we have a lot of work ahead of us to see girls become a part of this joy as well”. 


Some of the graduates.  We want to give a special recognition to Begashaw Tsegaye (bottom right) who received his post-graduate degree in Human Resources paying his own tuition for the two years he was in graduate school.  He was one of our high school students whom we supported throughout his undergraduate college years.  (EAVO supports high school students all the way through their undergraduate degrees).


Here is a list of our graduating students:


1. Begashaw Tsegaye (Addis Ababa University)……. Human Resource Management (Master of Arts)
2. Setegn Berhanu (Wolkite University)………………....Civil Engineering

3. Yosef Melka (Wolkite University)…………………........Civil Engineering

4. Gebissa Gizaw (Dilla University)………………….........Computer & software Engineering

5. Seid Gelan (Ambo University)………………………........Computer Science




Other News:

While we celebrate the wonderful things that we at EAVO have been able to accomplish in Ethiopia and Kenya over the past 12 years, we are reminded that is it YOU, our donors who make all this possible. The work continues to be challenging and our resources are continually being tested because the need is so great. This past year has seen a decline in our financial balances, but we continue to believe God for the resources. We are asking you to continue on this journey with us as we seek to bring God’s love and relief to remote places.


We welcome your questions and comments, and hope that your lives might be abundantly blessed.               

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African Connection Spring 2017

Spring 2017 The African connection A Quarterly Newsletter of East African Village Outreach (EAVO)

This newsletter comes with warmest regards and greetings from us at the East African Village Outreach (EAVO). We are bursting with good news of what God is doing through your generous gifts to further His kingdom among our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia and Kenya. In the first weeks of December, our Executive Director, Seifu Ibssa, embarked on a three-week journey to survey our work and the development of our projects in Ethiopia and Kenya. What follows is one shining example of how your partnership with EAVO is making a difference in the lives of young people there.


One Girl’s Story of Transformation: by Kelsey McFaul

It is cold and crisp on the first morning I go to high school in Acheber, and I poke the purple embers of the fire with a stick to stoke it. I walk to the river for water, roast coffee over the fire, pound it in the trunk of a hollow tree, and heat coffee and pearled barley kernels for the morning meal.

Today, I do all of this at double speed so I am not late to the first day of ninth grade. My sisters before me have attended school through eighth grade in the village but my father would not let them travel the 30 kilometers to Harba Chulule to continue. Now there is a high school in Acheber, its tan buildings tucked under the shadow of a hill, a valley of farmland rolling below.

“God go with you, Bontu!” my mother yells, leaning against the door of our hut. I am already halfway down the dirt road, a pail with injera and wot banging against my legs and clutching an old notebook, my sister’s, to my chest. All summer I have been studying her notes by the light of a solar lamp, preparing.

At the schoolhouse, there are thirty of us in a classroom with walls the color of mustard and paved stone floors. Our teacher, a woman in dark jeans and a white coat, stands in front of the classroom and introduces herself in Oromigna, tells us that because we are in high school now, our classes will always be in English so we can prepare for university or jobs in Tulu Bolo or even Addis Ababa. My English is rusty, I know, and I sneak peeks at my sister’s notes as we review greetings and numbers.

In the afternoon there is math, and that is when I begin to feel the ache deep in my stomach, the feeling before pain which causes me to cross my legs under my skirt and squeeze them together tightly, my hand wedged deep in between. Immediately I imagine what a bloodstain would look like on the back of my flowy white skirt, impossible to hide. I would be the ridicule of the school on my first day. Panic rises inside me. In a rush, I scrape together my things and burst from the table, out the door, and outside. Better to miss the remainder of the lesson than risk embarrassment and the pain I know will come.

I am almost to the edge of the compound, near the eucalyptus tree by the gate, when an older girl comes running after me. “Bontu! Bontu! Where are you going?” she calls to me. “I saw you rush from 2 class.” I am hesitant at first, but she looks like my older sister, with a kind calm face and a wooden cross charm around her neck. I tell her I am scared of starting my menstrual cycle at school.

She smiles at me, a warm older sister smile, and takes me to a small room of corrugated metal beside the principal’s office. Inside are packages of briefs the shape of baby swaddles but my size, soft colors in blue and pink. She shows me how to put them on under my skirt, how to unwrap a pad from its plastic wrapping and place it inside. When I pull the briefs up, I feel comfortable, secure.

She explains how the supplies were brought by a man who helped build the high school, how he asked all the girls to use them to promise not to miss a day of school nor get married before they graduate. She asked if I could promise too. I think about the cold early mornings getting water from the river and grinding coffee, of the hours studying by solar light, of my sister who is married and gave up her college dream, of the soft confidence that rests between my legs, the feeling someone knows me and my challenges and wants me to succeed. I think of my dreams, and I nod my head, yes.


Note: During his visit to Acheber High School, while enjoying the triumph of the building that EAVO accomplished there, Seifu Ibssa noticed the low graduation and success rates of the female students and inquired about their challenges. A female teacher identified three: 1) girls have a number of chores early in the morning and after school to provide meals for their family, leaving them little time to study; 2) girls stay home from school to take care of younger siblings when their mothers go to market or give birth; and 3) girls stay home 3-5 days per month during their menstrual cycles due to lack of underwear and pads.

This lack of sanitary hygiene facilities for young women is epidemic in rural Africa. Mr. Ibssa gathered all the girls together and spoke to them, promising more solar lamps for doing their homework at night and other supplies they needed. He asked that they promise to study hard and not get married until they finish high school. All 48 girls’ hands shot up in promise. Thanks to Judie Smith of the Paraklete Foundation, who had already donated funds for the high school’s library, Mr. Ibssa purchased enough underwear for 48 girls to have 3 pairs each and receive several packs of sanitary pads.

A Note from the Executive Director: Thank you Kelsey McFaul for writing Bontu’s touching story. Friends! EAVO’s next big goal is to improve the ratio of girls that graduate from college from about 15% to 50% in the next 3-5 years. To that end, we plan to hire tutors for the girls, buy solar lights and feminine hygiene products for each girl. Help us achieve this goal. Please send us your tax-deductible gifs today! (Write “Girls” on the memo line). Thank you!


More Trip Highlights: Lana Reese Preschool—Worknesh, one of our original high school/college graduates continues to work as a teacher at Lana Reese Preschool. She is doing wonderful work using sound teaching methods and creative use of available materials to bring the academic skills to the children. Seyoum, the principal of the neighboring preschool we built at Ajo has been impressed with her work and is now looking for opportunities to further his own education as a teacher and educational leader.

Water Projects: While in Ethiopia, Seifu and Hailu, his brother and EAVO’s Africa volunteer coordinator, met with the leaders from three villages to discuss progress on a project to bring clean water to these villages. The Rotary Club of Sacramento and EAVO have committed to this project which will bring clean water within easy access. This project will also relieve girls from travelling long distance each morning to collect water from rivers, but instead focus on their school.

The community leaders reported that they already have begun clearing roads for the trucks to carry cement, sand and rocks to the construction site. They also formed a committee of 9 people, three from each village, along with an oversight committee to provide accountability for progress or lack thereof. They reported that they have collected most of the funds they agreed to supply.

The community communicated enthusiasm for the project and its benefits to their lives and that of their children. They are ready to begin the project sometime in mid-January when the harvest is collected. The total cost for the project is estimated at $39,000 ($33,000 of which is matched / funded by Rotary Club of Sacramento). We are in the process of securing that fund.


Ginchi Village: Three years ago, the church in Ginchi approached EAVO to ask for help to strengthen the church and build a Worknesh with her students at Lana Reese Preschool 4 preschool for their children. During his visit in December, Seifu observed the three classrooms that EAVO’s investment built. At the school, two teachers currently educate approximately 250 students and there is a need for a third teacher. The students bring their own water to school with them using bottles that EAVO supplied as there is no water on the site. There is also no latrine on the site at this time. 


Roben Jirecha: The church at Roben Jirecha has, for some time, been working with EAVO to build a preschool. After some delays and much conversation and negotiation, the school opened during Seifu’s visit. The local governor and a representative of the Guennet Church (our partner in the building of this school) cut the ribbon to mark the official opening, and Seifu was invited to say a few words. .Currently approximately 70 students are attending regularly and being taught in two classrooms EAVO built. The school is sponsored by the church in Ginchi; in fact, leaders asked that EAVO build a school rather than a church for them. Church members currently crowd into a small room adjacent to the preschool for prayer and study. EAVO has made a contribution to build a church there. 


Kisimu, Kenya: The Purpose-Driven School continues its ministry to orphans in this city on the shores of Lake Victoria. EAVO continues to partner with the school to build classrooms and provide funds for daily meals for the orphaned students. In the past, you may remember, EAVO supplied mosquito netting for all the students and teachers, and we arranged for a malaria vaccination clinic at the school. We will continue to keep you updated on our involvement there. We are reminded of St. Paul’s words to the Phillipian Church: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now….” Truly this has come to pass because of your generous partnership with us. There remains much we can do and much we hope to do with your continued support of this work. Thank you so much and God bless you!



Here are the needs:  

  • Hygiene supplies for Acheber high school girls  
  • A latrine for Lana Reese Preschool
  • 3 classrooms for Kisumu Orphanage.

Please mark your gifts on the memo line of your check from the list above and mail it to: East African Village Outreach 7276 French Road Sacramento, CA 95828

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African Connection Winter 2016


The African Connection                                            

A Quarterly Newsletter of East African Village Outreach (EAVO)


Greetings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We rejoice at this sacred time of year as we celebrate the coming of Emmanuel.

We also rejoice for all the work the Lord Jesus is doing in the lives of our dear brothers and sisters in Africa.


 From Roben Jirecha:

Derje can neither hear nor speak. When East Africa Village Outreach (EAVO) opened a school in Roben Jirecha, Derje would attend, even though he could not understand nor communicate with the teaching. The rural nature of Roben Jirecha has no services for a child with disabilities. Upon learning about his situation, EAVO board made the decision to provide funding (living expenses, transportation, and tuition) for him to attend a school for children with disabilities in Addis Ababa. He is now living with his grandmother in Addis Ababa and learning to communicate. 

Lana Reese Preschool:

For several years, a centerpiece of EAVO’s ministry has been to support students to successfully complete secondary school and college. Worknesh is one such student. With support from EAVO, she was able to attend high school in Acheber and complete a 2 year pre-school teacher training. She has returned to the community to teach in the Lana Reese pre-school in Aderay.                                            Nine new baptized believers in Roben Jirecha this fall.         

It has always been EAVO’s objective to help educate the young so that they can return to their communities as productive adults who can apply their newly acquired skills to perpetuate the cycle of growth.  We celebrate this step toward self-sufficiency for the community.

The preschool itself has opened with 30 students. They are served with two teachers and rudimentary supplies (2 blackboards, a few cupboards, small desks for the children.)







Kenya update:

In Kenya we have reconnected with the “Purpose Driven School.” You may remember that last spring, EAVO helped a child, Treci, from this school who had misshapen legs as a result of severe malnutrition. Treci is now recovered and can walk unaided.

The school itself began as a grass roots community effort to provide care and pre-schooling for the disadvantaged and orphaned children in the community.  Susan, her husband Samuel, and another young mother began a day-care center in an old grist mill, with about 20 children.  Today, the school runs as a non-profit organization recognized by the Kenyan government. It serves over 140 children through secondary grade levels from its site in a church compound.

At this time, EAVO helps with supplies, clothing, mosquito nets, health clinics and a bit of organizational advice. In our last letter we shared photos of an EAVO-sponsored field trip that students took to Lake Victoria. This month we received this photo showing desks that EAVO funded. Samuel was excited to tell us that they were able to purchase different size desks for children from kindergarten up to 4th grade.


In addition, the school provides a “feeding program” as funds are available to provide a bean/rice meal.  For many, it is their main meal. This program often comes up short.  Even at .25 cents per child/day it adds up to over $7000/year including firewood.  At this time EAVO is not able to sustain this level of assistance. It is our hope that we will be able to substantially subsidize this program in the future.


 Celebrating a Partnership:

On a recent visit to California, Hailu Ibsa (Seifu’s brother and our main collaborator in Ethiopia) was welcomed by his fellow Rotarians in Sacramento as their special guest.  Hailu’s excellent motto: “Don’t wait so long to get involved in service above self” encapsulates his dedication and selfless commitments over the years in helping EAVO accomplish many of its objectives in the rural villages of Ethiopia. Coincident with Hailu’s visit, Past President Peter Dannenfelser (Architectural Arts) presented a third anniversary update on the joint water project between EAVO and The Rotary Club of Sacramento. A team from Sacramento Rotary club was sent in 2013 and worked with Hailu and others to build a gravity feed cistern and provide a clean water supply to villages in the Acheber area. Peter summarized his experience in Ethiopia with two words: beauty and hospitality.

Hailu is pictured below with President Dan McVeigh exchanging club banners. 

An Updated Website:

EAVO recently updated its website. You can see the changes and the new features at Along with increased mobility, the site now has the capacity to bring you electronic updates of our newsletters, and you can communicate directly with EAVO’s staff. We are especially encouraged by the added feature for online giving. It is now possible for you, our friends and faithful supporters, to make donations directly to EAVO through PayPal.



We are grateful to Simon Ibssa who redesigned our website.  Check it out!











2016 Year-end Donations:

At this special time of year, we wish to give thanks and praise for your support of the work of EAVO. If you are considering making a special gift or donation to charity before 2016 ends, please consider giving to our work in Ethiopia. The situation there is tenuous, and many of our churches and communities are facing uncertainty and danger due to current political unrest. Your gift would be especially appreciated at this time as we continue to offer aid and spiritual comfort to our villages there.

We welcome your questions and comments, and hope that your lives might be abundantly blessed.               


Mail your tax deductible gifts to:

East African Village Outreach

7276 French Road

Sacramento, CA  95828


Thank you!


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African Connection (Spring, 2016)


In this edition, we want to bring you up-to -date on our associations in Kenya. We begin with an update on Tresi’s story. If you remember, last October, we re-connected with Samuel and Susan Okumu near Kisumu, Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria. Samuel and Susan run a school in a village that began with 35 students and has grown to nearly 200. East African Village Outreach (EAVO) began working with Samuel and Susan a decade ago, but had not had much contact in recent years.

When we visited in October, Susan introduced us to Tresi, a young student whose leg bones, because of severe malnutrition, had developed abnormally. She was unable to walk due to the distortion of the bones--a form of rickets called “wind-blown knees.” Susan asked EAVO for help. Tresi could have surgery to correct the condition, but the surgery was costly; she needed some pre-op care to ensure her body was sound (requiring some nutritional supplements over time) and post-op care. Samuel and Susan cared for her until she was strong enough for the surgery at which time Susan, Tresi, and Tresi’s grandmother, Penina, traveled 600 miles to a Samaritan’s Purse hospital near Nairobi.

Tresi’s surgery was successful, though she is in pain. Surgeons repaired her right knee; the left knee will be corrected at a later date. Her grandmother, Penina, who is her guardian, is overjoyed and has been giving testimony in her own church as well as other churches in the region to the goodness of God.  


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African Connection (Fall, 2015)

Trip Report – Ethiopia and Kenya

Jim Reese, co-founder and board member and Seifu Ibssa, also co-founder and Executive Director travelled to Ethiopia and Kenya to make site visits, open two new preschools and reestablish our partnership with two nonprofits with whom we worked together a few years ago. The following is their trip report supported with pictures. We hope you will enjoy reading. EAVO Board Members

Lana Reese Preschool Dedicated!

Jim Reese dedicating Lana Reese Preschool in Adere

Adere, Ethiopia: Jim cut the ribbon opening the Lana Reese Preschool, a school named after one of the co-founders of EAVO. After various speeches by government dignitaries, Jim spoke passionately about investing heavily in the education of their children. Citing Ethiopia as "the emerging hub of Africa", he said that it is vital for the "next generation" to make Ethiopia even stronger. This includes educating the girls much more than has been done in the traditional past. He challenged the community to consider this seriously.

He then asked Worknesh (far right - in picture) to join him as he told "her story". Briefly, she was in our first class of students when we began our education program in 2006. At the end of our first meeting with invited prospective students, uninvited Worknesh with tears in her eyes asked Hailu if she could get educated. She only wanted to be able to support herself. Basically an orphan, she had returned to Acheber relying on others for support. Having a physical disability, she had little hope for the support that marriage might provide. She is now our head teacher. The school has four large classrooms an office and a pre-enrollment of 120 children. Walls need to be plastered and a quality latrine constructed. Water is on site thanks to Rotary Club of Sacramento.Although totally unplanned, the dedication came exactly two years since Lana's passing.

“One life really CAN impact so many others for good. Lana was tireless in sharing her heart for Ethiopia and Kenya with her friends here in the U. S. To God be the Glory!”
- Mary Staples, co-founder and Board Member in her recent email message to EAVO Board members.

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African Connection (Summer 2016)

An achievement worth celebrating!

A message from the Executive Director

The new preschool with latrine for boys and girls - in the backyard 

Seven Schools in Eleven Years! Thank you, our loyal partners. With your help, we have assisted forgotten village communities in Ethiopia and Kenya to build a high school, to upgrade a 4th grade level school to an 8th grade level, to upgrade a 1st grade school to a 4th grade, and to build 4 preschools in different parts of Ethiopia, making the total seven schools in eleven years. It is an achievement worth celebrating.

“In Africa, preschools provide an entry way for the Church to gain favor with the community”.

Jim Reese

East African Village Outreach (EAVO) will open the 4th Preschool in Ethiopia in September. It has been more than seven years since the village of Roben Jirecha and EAVO petitioned the government for land to build a preschool for early childhood education. Guennet Church, our Ethiopian partners in this endeavor, finally received title to 5,600 square meters of land in 2015 for a preschool and a church. After negotiations and careful study, EAVO board members voted to send funds to build the preschool.

The school is complete and the church will be built by the village at a later date. We praise God for your gifts over the years helping us bring education, clean water and other support to these forgotten areas of the world. Thank you for your continued contributions. Without them, we could not continue.

Thank you and may God bless you and yours.
Seifu Ibssa


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African Connection (Summer 2015)

A Joyful Celebration

By Adele Ohs


Hailu Ibssa (Right) sharing his 3 miracles in building his dream high school. "I want to see a high school built in Acheber before I die"

On May 16, 2015, East African Village Outreach celebrated its tenth anniversary with a banquet and program at Bethel Evangelical Church at 7276 French Road in Sacramento.

The party was well attended by many EAVO friends and donors—some folks we have known for many years and some new to our community. Many dear friends traveled a great distance to be with us for this event. We were especially honored to have Hailu Ibssa join us from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Mary Staples from Tucson, AZ.  And there were surprises, too. Hailu’s daughter, Tsehai, came from Southern California as did longtime supporter, Mrs. Pat Fay. 

Thanks to Edossa Geleta and his dedicated crew, the church grounds were set up for the comfort of all attendees. Tables under shaded awnings and inside the fellowship hall provided pleasant seating in the warm afternoon. Colorful tablecloths and hand-woven baskets from Ethiopia adorned each table.  Haimanot served a lavish Ethiopian buffet and an amazing baklava for dessert.

The program opened with a blessing from Pastor Tamirat of the Bethel Evangelical Fellowship and a welcome from EAVO’s Board Chairman, Dr. Olanna Aberra. Following a time of spirited worship singing led by Johanna Band, Mr. Frew Tibebu gave a keynote address in which he shared his journey from Ethiopia to discovering his passion—to spread universal literacy to Ethiopia through involvement in Ethiopia Reads—and his conversion experience of meeting Christ and walking with Him. 

Then followed brief updates on the progress of EAVO’s projects, including school construction, medical clinics, water projects, high school and college education, benevolence, and financial health. The program highlights included a moving memorial tribute to Lana Reese, who played a major role as a co-founder of EAVO and funded some of its most significant projects. Her friend, Marcia Brim, shared excerpts of letters in which Lana shared her heart for Africa and for Ethiopia. Hailu Ibssa, who gave a loving testimony of the progress that EAVO’s involvement in Acheber village has made possible, was warmly received and honored by the attendees and was lauded by his brother and EAVO Executive Director, Seifu Ibssa. Then followed brief updates by the Board Members on the progress of EAVO’s projects including school constructions, medical clinics, water projects, high school and college education, benevolence and financial health.

The program concluded with Seifu Ibssa sharing future plans and expressing gratitude for the support of family and friends in helping EAVO make a difference in Ethiopia. Adele Ohs offered a closing prayer. 

Afterwards many stayed to chat and continue to visit in the church yard—to enjoy the sweet fellowship of being part of this work that God has blessed for the past ten years and to anticipate the wonders He will enable in the future.

College Graduations

Tsehai Melka, Biology

Olana Megerssa, Cotton Eng’g

Geremew Melisse, Marketing

Thanks to your continued support, we just celebrated the graduation of 17 of many college students we have supported throughout their high school and college years.  These graduates worked very hard in high school and in college under difficult circumstances away from family.  We are all proud of them and their achievements!  See sample pictures (above). While this is great news, the number of female graduates is only one. EAVO plans to change this trend by hiring a full-time tutor for girls in Acheber 

Village, Ethiopia.  Pray for resources.

  1. Belayneh Adane – Civil Engineering
  2. Melesse Rga – Biology
  3. Worku Haile – Accounting and Finance
  4. Talegne Negesse – Mechanical Engineering
  5. Shemelis Geremu – Mechanical Engineering
  6. Geremew Melisse – Marketing Management
  7. Abinet Tadesse – Dry Land Crop Science & Horticulture
  8. Olana Megerssa – Cotton Engineering
  9. Temesgen Gemechu – Lab Science & Pathology
  10. Alemayehu Milkessa – Mechanical Engineering
  11. Tsehai Melka – Biology (the only female graduate)
  12. Tamirat Bedada – Construction Management
  13. Sewdegu Debushe – Banking and Finance
  14. Dejene Tekka – School & Counseling Technology
  15. Michael Ayele – Economics
  16. Alemayehu Kassahun – Psychology
  17. Sissay Mengistu - Chemistry

Delivering Good News on Bicycle


EAVO donated ten bicycles to a partner organization who is engaged in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to Muslim communities in Ethiopia.  Our partner reported that 96 Muslims came to Christ through this program and were baptized a few weeks ago.  Praise God for His Salvation work.


A Gift of Desks

Some of the desks donated by Paraklete Foundation – Thank you!

We are blessed with a gift of 80 desks and office furniture donated by Paraklete Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in Sunol, California. These desks have been delivered to Lana Reese Preschool and Ginchi Church Preschool both of which we are about to open in Fall 2015.

We are grateful to Denny and Judie Smith, and to the Board of Directors at Paraklete Foundation! 


Heading to Africa

From left to right: Seifu, Pastor Hiruy Tsige (our partner) and Jim

Jim Reese and Seifu Ibssa will be travelling to Africa on October 1, 2015 to visit our project sites, to open Lana Reese and Ginchi preschools and to reevaluate our partnership in Kisumu, Kenya.  They also hope to be present at the opening ceremony of Acheber high school, which was partially funded by EAVO.  Please pray good health, wisdom and a safe return. Thank you!


Send your tax-deductible gifts to:
East African Village Outreach 
7276 French Road, Sacramento, CA 95828.

Thank you!


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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!




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