Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia that is famous for its 11 medieval monolithic rock-hewn churches. King Lalibela carved the churches in the 13th century. Thousands visit these sacred churches each year.
Mama Birke was born in the eastern city of Harar, Ethiopia. At fourteen-years-old, she moved to Addis Ababa with her grandmother. Years later, Birke got pregnant and her family kicked her out of the house. She found herself living on the streets with her newborn daughter, Tsion, and begging to survive. She now enjoys being a Selamta mom and appreciates that Tsion has siblings, a safe home, and loving community to grow up within. She says she is raising her Selamta kids as her own and is trying to prepare them for a good future.
Getu and Wondemagegn were among the first kids to come to Selamta. The twin brothers are very close, and both avid soccer players. Getu is very outgoing and sociable, and likes to get up and dance. Getu is currently studying Engineering at University.
Wondemagegn and his twin brother Getu are very close. They both love playing soccer and socializing with friends. Wondemagegn is a talented artist and loves to paint. In the past he worked as a camp counselor with orphaned youth at World Wide Orphans summer camp. The young kids looked up to and admired him. He is attending University and is studying Engineering.
Tesfanesh is a kind a generous young woman. Although she can be reserved and quiet, once she opens up, she loves to laugh and have fun with her family and friends. She came to Selamta in 2006, and had no prior education. Her life has changed completely, and she is now a dedicated high school student.
Maregnesh is a sweet young lady who is always willing to lend a hand and help her mother. She came to Selamta in 2006 with her brother Samuel. A few years ago she was diagnosed with epilepsy and is being treated by a neurologist. Her family watches out for her and is very supportive. Maregnesh likes spending time with her family and friends. She especially likes taking care of her younger Selamta sister, Tsion.
Nardos loves the performing arts, specifically dancing and acting. She also loves reading, and has started writing her very own short stories. She entrepreneured a hair-braiding shop with her Selamta friend, Betti, in past summers and had a great experience. The two of them applied for and received a small loan from Selamta that they paid off over the course of the summer.
Walelegn is an inquisitive boy who loves learning. He enjoys learning about astronomy and science. Wally works hard in school and his English is quite good. He likes watching and playing soccer. At several Selamta events he has performed a comedic bit as a sports announcer where he speaks a mile a minute.
Samuel is a bright young man who enjoys theater and music. He often acts in and writes plays performed at Selamta events. He is interested in Hospitality and Hotel Management in the future, which would be a great fit for his motivated and outgoing personality.
Tsion is Birke’s biological daughter. She was an infant when she came to Selamta and has enjoyed growing up with many older brothers and sisters. She is an active little girl who likes gymnastics and school. Tsion loves arts and crafts, and has a blast a English Summer Camp with her friends.