Mama Zenebech is a strong yet gentle woman who is adored by her Selamta kids. She grew up in the countryside of Ethiopia and was married at fourteen-years-old. She has two biological kids, Gezahegn and Selam. Her situation with her husband was not good, so she decided to leave. She says it was a hard life for her and her kids before she came to Selamta. Since she joined Selamta, she says that she and her kids are at peace and do not have to worry about what will happen tomorrow.
Belay is the oldest youth in Haile Selassie family. He and his biological sisters, Meskerem and Mihret came to Selamta in 2006. Belay is is graduating with a degree in Marketing from Hope University in 2016. For the past several years Belay has worked as a summer camp counselor at a local NGO serving vulnerable children. He is a stellar role model and the kids he works with look up to him. His younger siblings in his family also respect and love him. Belay is very industrious, has entrepreneured many jobs, and is now a driver for Selamta.
Ermiyas is a quiet, kind boy who likes vegetable gardening and reading. He is conscientious and respectful. Ermiyas is proud of his summer and after-school job working at a local shop. Ermiyas is attending University, where he is studying Engineering. He hopes to incorporate his love of Architect and drawing into his future education.
Meskerem is a spirited, fun-loving, and kind young woman. She loves Ethiopian dance and performing in dramas. Meskerem enjoys volunteering with her friends and siblings at an orphanage for children with various disabilities. She is a compassionate, caring individual who is a gifted communicator. This skill came in handy when she worked in quality control at a garment factory. Meskerem means, “September,” which is also when the Ethiopian New Year occurs.
Mulu was the first child through the doors of Selamta in 2006. She is an empathetic young woman who finds joy in helping others. She volunteers with other Selamta youth at a home for children with disabilities, feeding the children, helping them walk around, and offering them compassionate human contact. Mulu enjoys fashion design and is interested in becoming a nurse. She is a proud member of Selamta's Hygiene and Sanitation Committee.
Gezagehn is Zenebech’s biological son. He is an energetic, playful young man, full of good humor and a zest for life. He is outgoing and loves making new friends. He is always finding ways to have fun, and the whole family will get involved because his antics are so humorous. Gezahegn likes practicing his English and enjoys school.
Aschalew is a quiet guy with a big smile. He has a joyful, lighthearted attitude. He enjoys vegetable gardening and he even dug a garden for his family right outside their house. He was very clever and used thorny bushes up against the fence to keep the roaming donkeys and goats away from the produce. He also has helped his brother raise chickens, worked in the family shop and held other summer jobs.
Bilal is an intelligent young man who is studious and eager to learn. He is funny and enjoys joking around with friends and siblings. He likes playing soccer with his siblings. When Bilal was young he lost the mobility in the right side of his body, but he doesn’t let it stop him from doing what he enjoys. Bilal wants to go to university and is working hard to get there. In 2016, Bilal will be one of Selamta's first two students to take the SAT test.
Mihret is a generous girl, who got the nickname “little mama” when she came to Selamta in 2006 because she was always looking out for people. When she first arrived at Selamta, as was the case for many kids who came from difficult circumstances, she needed her head shaved due to fungus. Many of the girls hated this and would get upset, but Meheret bravely said, “It’s okay, it will grow back nicer.” She has the best laugh and is a joyful, friendly girl. She loves school, church, and taking part in the Girls' Selamta Soccer team. Her name means “mercy” in Amharic.
Selam is Zenebech’s biological daughter. She loves dancing, gymnastics, and crocheting. Her athleticism is evident, and her energy works in her favor on the soccer field, when she competes on the Girls' Selamta team. She’s affectionate, energetic and fun-loving. Selam is sociable and likes practicing her English. Selam means “peace” in Amharic.
Bethlehem, called Betti by her friends and family, is the youngest in Haile Selassie house. She loves school and often asks to be quizzed in math and English. She is a loving girl, who adores siblings and loves tending to animals. She is often seen giggling with her sisters, Selam and Meheret. Selam is also a member of the Girls' Selamta Soccer team, alongside her sisters.
Selamta Family Project PO Box 1857 Lake Placid, FL 33862