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Nini Legesse

Executive Director & Co-Founder

I think the day to day life of most of my parent’s generation is what inspired me to be involved in a humanitarian work. I have witnessed most of them live selfless lives and their way of living has been engraved in my memory. From opening their homes for many people in need, sharing everything they have with their relatives, friends and neighbors and taking care of those who may never be able to repay them. At a very young age, I have also witnessed rampant poverty and starvation in my home country and that has been something I could never ignore nor forget.
As a child, I said if one day I can support and help my community, I will do it. It was a personal call. After coming to the United States, finishing school, and starting my career, I remember hoping again to one day be wealthy so that I could give back to my community. Fortunately, rather than waiting for that “someday” to come, I started discussing with my close friends how we can start donating our resources, time, and energy to a good cause to help people in need. Making a difference in the world may seem like an enormous task, but, in fact, a collective effort of everyone to make small contributions with a lot of heart is what it takes and is all that is needed. I continue to be inspired to do Wegene’s work because of the overwhelming joy and satisfaction that I feel in my soul and in my heart to seeing people we help being happy and to seeing their eyes fill with hope. What is your true calling? What is you purpose? For me that discovery came through my work for Wegene —- extending yourself in kindness to other human
beings whenever you can.

My vision for Wegene is to be the best transparent organization that strives to alleviate poverty, inspires hope, and enhances the quality of life and dignity of children, families and communities through eradicating barriers to opportunity.

Kelemework Yimam

Director of Operations & Co-Founder

The assistance that I was given by others to remove obstacles and barriers in my life inspired me to develop the desire and passion to help others. Wegene gave me an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and create a positive change.

The saying that comes to mind is Barack Obama’s “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope”. My vision for Wegene is to keep providing hope in the impoverished communities we serve. I want us to be able create a safe and peaceful environment where each child can achieve his or her fullest potential. The Wegene family here in the U.S. and in Ethiopia are an important part of my life and hold a very special place in my heart.

Elizabeth Afessa

Director of Development & Co-Founder

At a very tender age, I had witnessed the many struggles and hardships most citizens were experiencing in Ethiopia. After I came to America, I was always thinking back and wondering what to do for the unfortunate people I left behind. Thanks to a few close friends, I was able to become one of the founding members of Wegene and was finally able to make my dream a reality.

The saying that comes to mind is Robert Ingersoll’s “We rise by lifting others”. I want Wegene to expand and reach as many families as we can in Ethiopia. I want us to keep strengthening the love and trust we have started building in our community, outside of Ethiopia. I want Wegene to keep on helping the young generation (our children) believe in the work we do and be able to follow in our footsteps. I have a vision that Wegene will be a role model to other nonprofits in Ethiopia.

Hiwot Alemayehu

Director of Public Relations

When I first attended a Wegene event over 17 years ago, I knew right away that I wanted to support the mission by becoming an active member. A few years later, I was asked to join the Board, which was both humbling and exciting. I have never regretted the decision I made. It requires a lot of time and dedication every day to make sure the families we have promised to take care, are taken care and the provided for.

The saying that comes to mind is, “If it’s meant to be, it will be”. The joy I see in the sponsored children and families’ eyes is a reminder that I have to do what it takes to make sure what it has been started will continue. My hope is to have a consistent base of dedicated financial supporters to help grow Wegene from year to year.

Sara Addisu

Director of Fundraising

My initial interest with Wegene started after hearing the passion of those involved with the organization. Shortly after, I connected with the foundation and through them I was able to realize that a little bit of caring goes a long way in spreading hope and encouragement in order to make positive changes in another individual’s life. Wegene has given me the ultimate privilege to be part of something bigger than myself.

The quote that comes to mind is Nelson Mandela’s, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. My vision for the future Wegene is to continue impacting lives in a manner where we create a generation that does not have to worry about the basic needs of life. I envision many people’s quality of life improved, their human dignity preserved and most importantly hearts so touched that they want to give back willingly and with great enthusiasm.

Hirut Gorems

Director of Finance & Co-Founder

In the beginning of our foundation, all I wanted to do was to be able to reach out and help. I wanted the organization to stay small and effective. As the years go by, I realized that Wegene is more than just helping the needy. It was also helping a community to get together for a common cause. To do something that it is forever going to be proud of. Something that will continue into the next generation. Through my position, I am able to bring my analytical talents
in managing our funds, balancing our budgets, and ensuring ways we can make the biggest monetary impact on those we work with.

The saying that comes to mind is “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” My vision for Wegene is to see it continue to strengthen the community and do more than just feed the needy. Thank you to those who helped us and continue helping us to achieve this common goal we all share. We can all be proud and hold our heads up high as we make dreams come true for our destitute people, one child at a time.

Amarech Worku

Director of Fundraising and Crafts

I have been a member of Wegene from the very beginning in 2000. After starting out as a regular member, I worked my way up to take a leadership position on the Board. I was able to contribute my talents in art & other crafts to help fundraise for our organization. I think that innovation and creativity are an important part of our success. I am so excited to be a part of that innovation here. It is not only the innovativeness of our foundation that initially attracted me, but also the way we’ve ran successfully for the past 17 years.

President Barack Obama said it best, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something”. My vision for Wegene is to sponsor as many families in Ethiopia as possible, through supporting in-need children to get a great education in order to become successful citizens.