Selamta Family News - May 2017

International Day of the Family 

Our new favorite holiday is Monday, May 15th. We're celebrating International Day of the Family by inviting our community of supporters to bring a meal to the table. A small gift of $25 will provide two meals for a family of 10. 

Give a gift that honors someone you love for Mother's Day or International Day of the Family. As you make a donation, simply click "Dedicate my donation in honor or in memory of someone" to select one of these ecards and write a personalized message to your honoree. 

Beautiful Transitions

Change is never easy but it can be beautiful. Last month, we welcomed Tamrat Kebede to lead Selamta Family Project in Ethiopia as our Ethiopian Country Director. He's been amazing! 


But in order to welcome Tamrat, we had to wish Abel Solomon well as he moved into a new career. The beauty of Selamta is that family is more than a job title. Abel may not work at Selamta anymore but he will always be family. 

The crazy thing about family is that it can grow exponentially and that only makes it better. This spring, our family blossomed when a media missions team from The Archibald Project joined us to learn more about Selamta and document, in photos, written words, podcasts and videos, what Selamta is all about. 

We believe Selamta has the potential to serve many more children and families in the years to come. The team from TAP is using their gifts to share our story with the world. 

"Mariamawit is bright, talented, valuable and is irreplaceable in her family."

 Allie Chandler

"During the first weeks of becoming their mom, every night Wude would lay in a twin bed with the 4 and 8 year old sisters, hold them close as they fell asleep and helped heal their mourning hearts."

The Archibald Project

"Nati and Surafel are such typical brothers. They argued about who would be on which teams, and cheered for the other when they scored. They even invited one of their neighborhood friends to join in as well."

Allie Chandler

"In Ethiopia a seat doesn’t mean room for one more, it often means room for two or three more. This is similar to what I see in Selamta… always a way to bring more to the table. To feed more, to educate more, to care for the health needs of more, to serve more, to LOVE more."

Shannon Kirk

Trip .jpg


Who wouldn't want to meet these kids and families in person, right? Well, you're in luck! If you're up for a little adventure, a whole lotta love and the best coffee on the planet, check out our Take a Trip options and see what could best fit your schedule. 

English Summer Camp

This is the 3rd summer our kids will have the chance to sharpen their conversational English skills with native English speakers. One of the most challenging things for our youth entering college is having the ability to communicate effectively in English. Their natural language, Amharic, is beautiful and complex. But to compete for the best jobs in Addis and the global marketplace, excellent English skills open many doors. 

If you're looking for something to do in August, JOIN US! 

Showing Up - Family Sponsors, Aidan and Midori


Aidan and Midori, from New Hampshire, have been Heart & Home Family Sponsors of Hosanna House since 2009. They are also parents to several grown biological children and their adopted son from Ethiopia, Behaylu. Every time they visit Ethiopia they spend time with Hosanna House and continue to build relationships. They stay connected through emails, photos and social media when they're back in the US. Because they consider Hosanna House a part of their family, they are eager to share Selamta with the people around them. We are thankful for our many sponsors who are a part of the larger Selamta Family.


It's with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Biruk Alemu Nedi. Biruk is a beloved son and brother of Axum House. His passing leaves us with so many emotions.  We ask for your thoughts and prayers as our Selamta families remember Biruk and the privilege of knowing and loving him.


Love and loss

It's with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Biruk Alemu Nedi.

Biruk is a beloved son and brother of Axum House. His passing leaves us with so many emotions.

In Biruk's short 17 years, he faced many challenges including the loss of his parents and shining shoes on the streets of Addis to get by. But in Spring of 2014, Biruk joined our Selamta family and was given the chance to be a kid again. He was an amazing soccer player and brought joy to those around him. 

The community of Selamta and the surrounding neighborhood has gathered to remember Biruk and support his family. We ask for your thoughts and prayers as our Selamta families remember Biruk and the privilege of knowing and loving him. 

Loss and grief are complicated, but most importantly, we remember that Biruk lived and is loved. He will always be an important member of our family. 

2014, the year Biruk arrived at Selamta

2014, the year Biruk arrived at Selamta

2016 soccer champions

2016 soccer champions

August, 2016

August, 2016

2017 soccer game

2017 soccer game

January 2017, Biruk hiking the Selamta mountain alongside friends and brothers

January 2017, Biruk hiking the Selamta mountain alongside friends and brothers

Biruk's Axum family: Amanuel, Selam, Tefared, Auntie Genet, Biruk, Mahlet, Mama Bichawork, Tigist  Not pictured: Fetlework, Yoseph

Biruk's Axum family: Amanuel, Selam, Tefared, Auntie Genet, Biruk, Mahlet, Mama Bichawork, Tigist

Not pictured: Fetlework, Yoseph

BIG News at Selamta!

It is with a full heart and extraordinary gratitude that we thank Abel Solomon for 9 years of executive leadership as our Ethiopian Director at Selamta. Abel has decided to move on from his role at Selamta but he and his family will always be an important part of our Selamta Family! 

Pictured above, Abel and his family are surrounded by our Selamta Families. Our kids planned and organized a surprise party for Abel complete with skits, songs, dancing and delicious food. It was a beautiful tribute and we will always be grateful to Abel for his dedication to Selamta!

It's our honor to introduce you to Tamrat Kebede!

Tamrat has joined Selamta Family Project to lead our team as our Ethiopian Director. Tamrat brings tremendous experience to this position and has a heart for, and personal understanding of, what it's like to be considered an orphaned child. 

Tamrat is a family man, married with 3 sons and a baby girl on the way. When asked why he wanted to do this job he said,

"It's a calling. It demands your heart. When I asked why the previous country director left I was surprised he had been there for 10 years. This passion drives me to want to be a part of Selamta. God is giving me this opportunity."

My Selamta Story

by Melissa Joy Bush

"Whew! God gave me Africa at just the right time in my life!  I was headed down a one-way me street and God turned me around (or East) and sent me to Africa!

I had an opportunity to travel to the home of Selamta in Ethiopia.  From the moment we walked onto the property, the families opened their hearts, homes and hands.  I was there to teach English summer camp to several students who were eager to speak conversational English.  These students were on summer break, but chose to be a part of something special.  They came to camp each day to learn skills/strategies that would propel them towards their goals in life.  They were eager learners!  I was the most eager of all of them.  I realized quickly that I was the student - not the teacher.  These children taught me more about the love of Christ by how they welcome others despite social, physical and economic backgrounds.  They love unconditionally and refer to each and everyone as their brothers and sisters.  Isn't that what we are?  Brothers and sisters in Christ.  They're living this message out in Africa.

Joy and Surafel

Joy and Surafel

If given the chance, I would have loaded each one of those sweet babies up and brought them back on a plane with me to the US.  Is that God's best though?  Why would I want to take these treasures away from such loving mama's who care, love and nurture them everyday?  I couldn't do that to them.  So... I did the next best thing.  I chose to sponsor one.  I did.  One very cute boy named Surafel.  I always wanted a boy. God answers prayers in the neatest ways!  

We decided to do what the mama's of Selamta do everyday.  We opened our heart, home and hands to Surafel.  We accept him as one of ours and display pictures of him in our home.  We opened our hands financially to help supply food, shelter and education for him.  God took me to Africa, but Africa came home to us.  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  God's love stretches across mountains, oceans and valleys.

Join with me in an effort to create a lending library and provide funds for English language & literacy resources for these emerging English readers and speakers of Selamta.  Please open your heart, home and hands today!"



Together we can fund Selamta's Community Center and make sure our Selamta families have ALL the enrichment they need for Bright Futures.  

Selamta Family News - February 2017

2017 is already an exciting year for our Selamta Families!

In December Yezena, age 15, was brought to the US by our partner, She's the First, to take part in Glamour's Women of the Year Awards. Yezena shared her hopes for the future while representing girls around the world who now have access to education and bright futures. She was also able to tour US high schools and universities on the east coast while visiting many friends and Selamta supporters.  


Selamta Ambassadors - Emily and Lily served our families and staff in December and January by helping with college applications and written English language skills. Both made a lasting impact on our kids and staff and their projects live on as we wait for the first acceptance letter from US universities. Bilal, Haile Selassie House, is our first Selamta youth to apply to study abroad. Bilal took the SAT in the spring and has always been a strong student. He hopes to study world economics.  


Let Your Light Shine Bags - This Christmas, celebrated on January 7th in Ethiopia, all of our Selamta youth in Forever Families and our Outreach Program, received gift bags from our extended family at First Baptist Church in Lake Placid, FL. Each bag was stuffed with something special for that child along with notes of encouragement and prayer to remind them that friends halfway around the world are thinking of them and praying for them everyday.


Computer Lab - Through the extraordinary generosity of Steve and Claudia Franklin and Red Cross Ethiopia, our Selamta Community Center is now equipped with a fully-functioning computer lab including 9 work stations and internet access. This computer lab is a gateway to bright futures focusing on English language development, keyboarding, Critical Thinking online courses through Mawi Learning and expanded educational opportunities with our partner, She's the First.

Sami and Meski, 1st year university students

University Student Laptops - We are thankful to our incredible supporters who made it possible for our university students to have laptops. To the Barry Family who put the challenge on the table, for each person that sponsored a laptop at the Donovan's dinner party, and the volunteers it took to purchase, prepare and hand carry them to Ethiopia, we want to say a massive thank you! Twelve students now have academic resources at their fingertips to help them reach success. 


 "This laptop will be of great importance for me. I will be able to copy and read materials from other sources. Also, instead of printing materials, I will be able read using this laptop. That will save money and time. It will be easier for me to take notes. With this laptop I will improve my results. Thank you so much!" - Sami


Honor and Celebrate

Selamta has always been blessed with the most extraordinary people to serve our families. Even when a team member moves on, they stay connected to our families because the relationships they build are real and lasting. We want to honor the contributions of former team members, Dureti  and Yonas. They are treasured family members and all of us at Selamta would not be where are without their leadership and expertise.

We are thrilled to welcome our newest team members to the Selamta Family:

       Habtie  Muluye - Ethiopia Assistant Director

       Habtie  Muluye - Ethiopia Assistant Director

Please join us in congratulating Habtie Muluye, promoted to Assistant Director. Habtie has been an incredible part of our team as Outreach Social Worker. Habtie's dedication to our families, leadership among his peers and strong communication skills are the perfect combination for success in this position. 



What's Next? 

The Archibald Project - Their media team is taking a trip to Selamta. Look for great stories, images and videos coming out in March - follow Selamta and TAP on Instagram

English Summer Camp - Don't miss this opportunity to serve in Ethiopia! Not only will you get to hang out with the coolest kids on the planet and eat all the amazing food, your gift to our families is your language. Conversational English skills are the secret sauce to bright futures for our youth. Join us for 2, 4 or 6 weeks to be a small group counselor for English Summer Camp. Space is limited and we're accepting applications through May.

Semester Break Shenanigans - Our Forever Families showcased their smarts at our Question & Answer Competition during semester break in February. Each house nominated 2 youth to compete.  Surafel, of Tewodros House, took home the honors! 

Amazon Smile - Did you know that you can support Selamta while you shop on Amazon? Log into Amazon Smile, select Selamta Family Project and start shopping! Amazon will donate a portion of your shopping cart to Selamta. Doing good has never been so easy. 

2016 Volunteer Recognition

2016 has been a tremendous year of growth and development for Selamta Family Project - which we celebrated in our 2016 Annual Report. Let us be clear though: none of our success would have been possible without our extraordinary team of volunteers.

We are convinced daily that we have the very best supporters imaginable. They share their time and talents to support us into success. While it takes many hands, this year we would like to establish our Annual Volunteer of the Year Recognition, and highlight two individuals who have served in extraordinary ways. They make Selamta better today than it was yesterday, and ensure Bright Futures for tomorrow.

We are thrilled to introduce our 2016 Volunteers of the Year! 

Maya Cameron Gilsey - US Volunteer, social media coordinator

Maya traveled to Selamta in 2014 on a two week service trip with her boyfriend Sam, and they have been sold-out for Selamta ever since. For 3 years running, she and Sam have fundraised for sponsorship, to invest in the lives of our youth.

18 months ago, Maya took the initiative to develop our Instagram account, and has built it from the ground up. We have grown to more than 3,700 followers, and it is a space where the heart of Selamta is evident and celebrated. 

If you haven’t yet, check out her work on Instagram @selamtaproject. You'll find a personal and inspiring reflection of Selamta, and Maya pours out love and care in her work, just as our families do so well.

Through Instagram, we’ve been able to effectively: 

  • Keep our current supporters involved
  • Spread awareness and meet new people
  • Begin new Heart & Home Sponsorships
  • Develop new organizational partnerships
  • Engage in the social media community

Trish Perkins - on-site Volunteer, Salesforce Expert

Trish came to Selamta through the Girlforce Project, a collaborative of women with IT experience who are trained Salesforce professionals. She first traveled to Selamta in February of 2016, where she got right to work developing streamlined systems and integrations for Selamta to use within our own Salesforce database. 

She returned to Ethiopia for four weeks in October and November, working alongside and training our Ethiopian staff. The internet connection in Ethiopia is inconsistent at best, oftentimes leaving websites like inaccessible. Trish utilized innovative solutions and equipped our local staff with work-arounds, so that our conditions do not determine our progress and we can continue to move forward as an organization with clear communication and data integrity.  

Maya and Trish, THANK YOU for the heart that you have poured out into Selamta this year.

If their stories of impact have inspired you to Take a Trip or Volunteer, contact us through the footer below. 

What's up at Selamta? - September Newsletter

English Summer Camp

This summer, our youth enjoyed 5 weeks of immersion in English through our English Summer Camp. Andrea Barahona, grad student at the University of Florida and She's the First campus chapter president, served as our Summer Camp Director developing curriculum and overseeing the fun. 

This year's theme was The Arts. Through active learning, our youth developed new vocabulary and performed three plays during the final week of camp. Our volunteers had the chance to share their skills and build relationships with our families. Consider joining us in 2017!

First University Graduates!

Please join us in congratulating Belay and Mekides on their tremendous accomplishments! Belay earned his degree in Business Marketing. Mekides earned her degree in Psychology.

The Future is so Bright.

It's been amazing to celebrate the success of Belay and Mekides but that's only the beginning. We have 5 Selamta Forever Family Youth and 3 Outreach Youth who will continue their university education this fall. We are thrilled to announce that 7 Selamta youth will join their brothers and sisters in higher education in October. What was a dream when Selamta was born is becoming a reality, changing futures and effecting generations to come.

Epic Road Trip - Selamta Summer Tour

We logged over 7000 miles across the US this summer to meet with donors, introduce Selamta to new communities and make connections on college campuses. It was wonderful to see the outpouring of love for our families! The energy and enthusiasm from the Ethiopian/American community and young people fueled every mile of the 6 week journey!

New Additions in Outreach

This year, Selamta is growing through our Outreach Program. We know that supporting and empowering at-risk families prevents more children from becoming orphaned and abandoned. Through education and employment opportunities families can move from crisis to self-sufficiency. Please welcome Iman, age 8, Imran, age 3, and their parents Sadia and Abdureuf to our Selamta Family!

Launch to Independence

Abel has been a part of Selamta Family Project since 2008 and launched into financial independence this year. When Abel was young, he transitioned from our Children's Center back to his biological family through the reunification of our Outreach Program. With the generous support of Heart & Home sponsorship, Abel received a quality education and was encouraged to become a thriving young adult. Today, Abel works for Ethiopian Airlines and looks forward to a Bright Future with his mother and grandmother before starting a family of his own. 

Before I joined Selamta, I had been living in a very dangerous village. It was not safe at all. Many children would not have access to education. But, as soon as I joined Selamta, my life began to take a different turn; I got access to everything a child needs to develop. It made me a better person.
Before I joined Selamta, I had been living in a very dangerous village. It was not safe at all. Many children would not have access to education. But, as soon as I joined Selamt  a, my life began to take a different turn; I got access to everything a child needs to develop. It made me a better person.


Selamta Family 5K

Registration is open for our Selamta Family 5K the first weekend of October. You can participate at one of local events or wherever you are. This year we're in over 5 physical locations:

Equipping and Empowering

We have an incredible team of women from Quilts Beyond Borders in Ethiopia teaching our moms how to sew on our Selamta US machines for two weeks. Our Moms are naturals and taking to the projects very quickly. Six of our ladies are going through a train-the-trainer session so they can pass on their new skills to other Moms, Aunties, kids and Outreach Families who might be interested to learn. Sewing, combined with our soap making skills training that will continue next month, could  become income generating activities in the future. In November, a team from Links International will work with our families and staff to teach finance and small business planning. 

Get to Know our Kids and Families!

Become a Heart & Home Sponsor to build relationships, encourage our youth and support the transformational work of Selamta Family Project. 

Photo by Kate Lord Photography.

Photo by Kate Lord Photography.

When We #Realize5, We Know Hope is Alive

Join us for Selamta's Family 5K | October 8-9, 2016

This year, Selamta Family 5K's theme is #Realize5 

It's about both awareness and action

With 5 million orphans in Ethiopia—or 13% of the child population—we have to acknowledge the enormity of this Ethiopian orphan crisis (awareness) and make Selamta's Model the compassionate solution (action). 

Together, we realize that if we come together for 5Ks in 5 cities, we can make an enormous impact in the lives of Ethiopian orphaned children. 

In the spirit of 5s, here's how Selamta is making a huge difference in the lives of its children and families.

5 Contributing Factors to Ethiopia's Orphan Crisis

  1. Extreme poverty
  3. Other poverty-related diseases like tuberculosis
  4. Lack of education
  5. Insufficient or unstable income

5 Ways Selamta Realizes the Dreams of Ethiopian Orphan Children

  1. We give orphans a new, loving Forever Family.
  2. We keep biological siblings together.
  3. We ensure children are embraced by their community.
  4. We provide a quality education and support youth through high school and university graduation.
  5. We launch healthy young adults into independence.

5 Testimonials That Show Selamta Love is Real

I was leading a bad and unsafe life before I joined Selamta. After I became part of the family, I got access to quality education, medical services and psychosocial support. In short, I wouldn’t be the same without Selamta. It made me a better person.
— Selam Ashenafi, High School Graduate 
It is a loving family. I can’t even express it
— Getu Tadesse, University Student
Selamta is unique, where you do not need a biological mother, auntie, sister and brother; We are all part of a loving family. Every child grows with a strong sense of belonging and togetherness.
— Belay Asfaw, College Graduate
It is my home on which my base is built. It changed me.
— Abel Mesfin, Launched Youth
Selamta is important in that it takes kids from the streets and changes their lives. It provides them with holistic support and love so that they fully integrate with the community in which they are living.
— Mekdes Chernet, College Graduate

5 Amazing Selamta Achievements In 2016

  1. We're adding a new family to our Outreach Program every month.
  2. 11 students have graduated from high school.
  3. 5 students will continue their university education this fall.
  4. 2 Selamta youth graduated from college in July.
  5. 4 Selamta youth launched from our financial support into independence.  

There are so many kids in need of a loving, stable family right now.

YOU can be the difference! Join us October 8-9, 2016 for Selamta's Family 5K in city near you—or anywhere you bring people together.

Register Today!