Mama Bichawork grew up in the countryside of Ethiopia within a family of farmers. Her beautiful face tattoos indicate that she grew up in rural Ethiopia. She got married when she was seven years old, but unlike many young brides, she was able to continue school and she finished 11th grade. It was difficult for her to stay with her husband, so she traveled to Addis Ababa looking for work. A church friend connected her to Selamta’s Director, Abel. Bichawork likes to talk to her kids about what they are learning in school and help them with their studies.
Selam is the oldest youth at Axum House. She is excited to be attending University, a goal she has aspired towards for many years. She is one of the first Selamta students to take the SAT test. Since Selam came to Selamta in 2007, we have seen her transform into an outgoing and confident woman. She is a talented actress and also often writes and directs plays with other Selamta youth. Selam is energetic, sociable, and driven to succeed.
Fetlework is a sweet young woman, who enjoys spending time with friends and family. She has completed culinary school and works in a restaurant. After securing gainful employment, Fetlework launched into independence in early 2016. While she no longer lives with at Axum House, they truly are her Forever Family, and will always be by her side.
Mahlet is Selam’s biological younger sister. The two of them were separated in 2005 after their mother's death. After Selam joined the Selamta in family in 2007, she was persistent about finding her younger sister. In 2012, a connection was made, and Mahlet was found and brought to Selamta to live with her sister. She is a cheerful young lady, who is thrilled to be surrounded by a loving and stable family. She has made lots of friends at Selamta because of her kind, sweet nature.
Amanuel was brought to Selamta in 2014, after living at an orphanage for most of his childhood. His mother passed when he was born, and his aunt was unable to provide adequate care for him. Amanuel is brilliantly kind and generous. Although sometimes quiet, he loves to dance and play soccer with his friends. He melded into his Selamta family quickly, and can make fast friends with anyone.
Tefared is a respectful, funny, studious young man who is always willing to lend a hand. Also in his Axum family are his biological sisters, Fetlework and Tigist. He has a strong work ethic and is an exceptionally dedicated student. He has attended SAT prep classes in preparation for next year. He is on the Selamta Soccer Team, and a member of the Selamta Reading and Library Committee. He has a warm laugh and a good sense of humor.
Biruk's childhood was taken from him at too young an age. After the death of his parents, he dropped out of school and began shoe shining to provide for himself. He lived with a friend, but had to earn enough to support himself. One day, a person came to Biruk to have their shoes shined. That person worked in an organization that serves vulnerable children. They helped pay Biruk's rent and got him back in school, until they succeeded in working with the government and arranging his arrival to Selamta in February, 2014. Biruk’s health is stable and he enjoys spending time with his Selamta brothers and sisters.
Yoseph is an energetic boy who likes being active. He loves playing soccer on the Selamta team and he is always up for hiking the nearby mountain with volunteers and other Selamta youth. As he graduated from high school in 2016, he is now attending University. He hopes that one day he will be able to give back to Selamta, and support other children who need the love and support of family.
Tigist has been at the top of her class at Alpha School since she came to Selamta with her biological siblings, Tefared and Fetlework in 2006. Tigist enjoys getting to know volunteers that visit Selamta, and participating in group projects. She is energetic and always willing to jump right into any activity or debate.
Selamta Family Project PO Box 1857 Lake Placid, FL 33862