Before a sponsor starting supporting her, Mekdes wasn’t sure if she could even stay in school in her rural community of Ethiopia — much less follow her dream of becoming a doctor.
Eighteen-year-old Mekdes dreams of becoming a doctor one day. Today, she is close to realizing her dream. Ten years ago, however, Mekdes’ future seemed uncertain.
Though bright and driven, Mekdes faced overwhelming challenges, and her family’s economic status seemed to dictate another path entirely — a path not nearly as bright, and certainty not one that would lead to a medical profession, or even an education.
In Ethiopia, students head to school this month with support from their Holt sponsors and donors — some for the first time.
In the first week of September, the dark mass of stormy skies over Shinshicho finally breaks apart, however briefly.
There is still a 90 percent chance of rain again today, the first day of school, as there has been for nearly three months. Between the thunderstorms, wind and seemingly endless rain, the dirt roads are washed out and muddy, with deep puddles blocking even the most major roadways.
Soon, though, the rainy season will change — returning to a hot and dry dust storm and droughts that make farmers curse their land.
Born sixth in a family with seven children, 9-year-old Tigabu has more than once wondered if, indeed, his family is cursed. His parents are subsistence farmers who struggle to afford even basic necessities, like food or clothing. His four sisters and two brothers help where they can to earn extra income for the family, but that often means skipping class to help their parents harvest or carry crops to market.