Wegene Ethiopian Foundation(WEF) is a philanthropic organization engaged in helping disadvantages in Ethiopia.
WEF operates as an independent non-profit and non-governmental organization. There are no ties to any political, religious, or secular non-profit or for-profit organizations. WEF is not financially accountable to any other organization.
At the present time, member donations and innovative fundraising efforts raise money to fund all of the efforts of WEF.
Donated money from the United States is sent to volunteer caretakers in Ethiopia. WEF does not utilize any part of the donated money for overhead. The volunteer caretakers supply monthly food, cooking supplies, clothing, shelter, rent, school supplies, and medical care for selected families.
Tadais Magazine features interview with Nini Legesse
Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview with Nini Legesse
By Tseday Alehegn
Published: Monday, March 26, 2012
New York (TADIAS)- Nini Legesse was one of the fourteen community leaders from the East African Diaspora that were honored at the White House as “Champions of Change” last month. Her organization Wegene Ethiopian Foundation provided, among other services, financial support to build an elementary school in Abelti-Jimma, Ethiopia. The White House said: “These leaders are helping to build stronger neighborhoods in communities across the country, and are working to mobilize networks across borders to address global challenges.”
Below is our Q & A with Nini Legesse.
TADIAS: Please tell us about Wegene Ethiopian Foundation. What inspired it?
Nini Legesse: I founded Wegene in 2000 with similarly inspired friends who like me had left their home country in their teenage years. We felt morally obligated to give back. Even though my friends and I feel grateful for the security, opportunity, education and better life that we enjoy in our adoptive country, the United States, we wanted to assist those who have less opportunities in Ethiopia. The goal of Wegene is to enable hardworking, poor families to meet their daily needs and send their children to school in a sustainable way.
We also have Wegene Kids Club. The club raises funds through bake sales, movie nights, crafting, and other various activities in order to create awareness and reach out to Ethiopian American youth. In addition to our projects in Ethiopia, the Wogene Kids Club also volunteers by feeding and distributing clothing to the homeless in the Washington, D.C. area. One of Wegene’s unique features is that it is 100% volunteer based. As a result, our overhead cost is near to nothing, because everyone involved is donating their time, money, and other in-kind donations.
I am honored and humbled to be a White House Champion of Change. I arrived in the United States as an Ethiopian immigrant at the age of 17 and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Now I work as a patent examiner for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Still, one of my most important accomplishments is serving as the president of a dynamic non-profit organization called Wegene Ethiopian Foundation (WEF), which I founded with the help of my friends and family members in the year 2000.
I am extremely grateful for the security, opportunity for education, and better life my adoptive country, the United States, has provided me and my family. I believe it is my privilege and duty to give back to both my birth country and the U.S. in any way I can. As a result, it is especially rewarding to be part of a foundation that provides fundamental change to less fortunate families sustaining themselves at the price of one cup of coffee per day and to make a difference for these families and their communities. This is really the finest sort of empowerment, where we all can be partners and the ownership belongs to our partners who benefit from the program. As a partner of Wegene, I have the opportunity to make a difference at a personal level. This offers me fulfillment and civic satisfaction beyond imagination. Wegene’s vision and strategy is simple because the resources are deliverable and the overhead cost is near to nothing. Additionally, almost everyone involved is donating their time, money, and contacts in kind to this noble work.
Through a sustainable manner, Wegene’s mission is to improve the everyday lives of less fortunate and disadvantaged children and their families in Ethiopia. This mission is based on the philosophy that if hardworking, destitute families are given the opportunity, tools, and resources to improve their lives, they will have a stepping stone to emerge from the poverty cycle and give their children better educational opportunities in order to lead happier, healthier lives. Wegene creates opportunities for families to become self-sufficient through vocational training and small start-up grants.
Full Video: Champions of Change: Trailblazers in American Diaspora Communities
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Communications Press Release - January 27, 2012
White House Highlights Nini Legesse as a “Champion of Change” and Trailblazer in American Diaspora Communities
WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, January 30th, the White House will honor Nini Legesse as one of fourteen Champions of Change who are leaders in American Diaspora communities with roots in the Horn of Africa. These leaders are helping to build stronger neighborhoods in communities across the country, and are working to mobilize networks across borders to address global challenges.
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
“These men and women are American leaders we want to celebrate,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough. “We commend the innovative practices, achievements and leadership these change makers bring not only to their communities around this country—but also to the development of and diplomacy with their countries of origin.”
WEF's mission is to improve the everyday lives of less fortunate and disadvantaged children and their families in Ethiopia in a sustainable manner. WEF also aims to foster goodwill and hope in these families, and create and strengthen their ties with the donors that reside outside of Ethiopia.
Goals and Objectives
The overall goal of WEF is to enable hardworking destitute families meet their daily needs and send their children to school; and to create opportunities for them to become self-sufficient. WEF plans to achieve these goals through objectives, including
Matching up families with caretakers
Preparing a home setting for those without homes
Enrolling their children in public or private schools
Engaging family heads in vocational or skill training activities
Providing selected families with grants to start-up small businesses or helping them secure fulltime jobs
WEF was invited to participate in the Education Panel at the Secretary’s Global Diaspora Forum. Wegene's president, Nini Legesse, will be in the panel discussion that will take place from 11:00 am-12:30 pm on Wednesday, May 18 read and watch the opening video here.
You can join the discussion via internet. For further information, please check the link to join the forum.
Please Click Here.
Binyam, one of the students put through teachers' school, now teaching at a pre-school earns recognition as 'Best Teacher' by both his school and the administration of the sub-city.
Wegene distributes shoes for septembers school opening to children in sponsored families