Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tadias Magazine Interviews EGI founder Samuel Gebru

Above: Samuel Gebru, a student at Concordia College,
heads the Ethiopian Global Initiative – EGI.
New York (Tadias) – 19-year-old Samuel Gebru has ambitious plans. The Founder of the Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI), formerly the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative (EAYI), wants to transform Ethiopia one project at a time, using strategies and programs to reverse the brain drain or retain skilled professionals at home. The undergraduate student at Concordia College, a private liberal arts school in Moorhead, Minnesota, says he was drawn to action by two events that deeply affected him when he was just 13-years old. He tells us that in 2004, he traveled to Ethiopia and was exposed to the odd juxtaposition of poverty and wealth. But the real catalyst for his organization did not come until later that year when he watched Oprah Winfrey’s highlight of the problems associated with obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. Oprah’s guest was Dr. Catherine Hamlin, the Australian gynecologist who in 1959 moved to Ethiopia and eventually founded the Addis Ababa Fitsula Hospital. “As a young 13-year-old, I was shocked to hear about obstetric fistula’s existence and I was further embarrassed that an Australian, and not an Ethiopian, committed over 50 years of her life to help the women of Ethiopia,” says Samuel. “It was shocking obviously because the last fistula case in the United States, for instance, was in the 1800s with the closing of the New York City Fistula Hospital…It was also embarrassing because when most Ethiopian professionals left Ethiopia, she stayed and did our job. Regardless, I was inspired and decided it would be best to organize an effort in the Boston area to raise funds for their work. We called ourselves the Ethiopian Team (E Team).”

Read the full article on Tadias here.

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