It is with great sadness that we say good-bye to Birhan's beloved, Atsede. May her memory be for a blessing to all that knew and loved her.
Enjoy your visit to our site. Take your time to learn about our incredible students and our many projects- from educational funding, girls' empowerment and autonomy, hygiene and fresh water and many more.
Perhaps you see yourself partnering with us. We are always looking for volunteers, connections and donations so we can help our students, help themselves.
Making the Grade is proud to welcome Chosen Generation as a partner to our efforts in Ethiopia. Since 2013, Making the Grade has provided services to over 100 students in Ethiopia and other African countries. We have grown in our size and scope and now have an Ethiopian-based ally to assist with grassroots, "boots-on-the-ground" project implementation. To meet this growing need, we have assisted in creating a new nonprofit, Chosen Generation – a partner organization located in Addis Ababa. They will help us realize our goals by providing culturally-appropriate leadership and a highly professional staff to implement our projects with excellence. With this new alliance, we will better serve our students and help them achieve their dreams!
Providing Education, Housing & Medical Services to allow for students' personal autonomy
Continuously working on projects to serve the underserved children in Africa
We are a 501c3 Nonprofit Organization of dedicated volunteers that believe education is key to independence
We are 501(c)3 charitable non-profit helping African students receive funding and accessibility to education, healthcare, housing and nutrition as a means to create personal autonomy.
Azmera was born in a small village near Gondar and comes from a family of five. Her parents made their daily living by farming. When Asmera was young, she started having pain in her back- she was not able to play and enjoy her childhood like her friends. Azmera’s father took her to different doctors and hospitals, but no one could figure out what was wrong with her. With each visit, they were told there was nothing that could be done.
Azmera’s pain and weakness increased, and reached a point where she was unable to walk, instead she crawled on her arms and knees. Her father lost all hope. Neighbors advised her dad to bring her to the teaching hospital in Gondar. The doctors there started her on TB medication. Her strength improved, and she regained the ability to walk upright. However, the doctors were not able to do anything about the huge V-shaped deformity in her back.
We recently interviewed Azmera. Let me allow Azmera to take over, in her own words:
My father decided to abandon me in the hospital. Being related to me stigmatized him – my case was rare and very uncommon. I lived in the hospital for three years. All the doctors and nurses were so friendly and loving. We all waited for my father to come and take me home, but he never showed up. In the hospital, I assisted the nurses and carefully watched them work. I pushed their tray containing bandages, cotton balls and alcohol when they did rounds.
Someone came up to me one day and said, “I know someone who can help you with your back.” He took my address. To be honest, being able to walk upright now was the greatest gift. I never even considered I had an option of having my back operated on. The guy that I met told me that he would introduce me to Dr. Rick, and that he would help me.
After some weeks, Dr. Rick came to the hospital and visited me. He spoke with the head of the hospital and told him that he wanted to cover all my medical costs and get me treated. However, they rejected his request, because they didn’t want to take the risk if my father was to come back and ask for me. After many tries, they allowed him to get me treated. Dr. Rick flew me to Addis Ababa and I stayed at Mother Teresa’s Home for Sick and Dying Destitutes for a year while processing my travel to get my surgery.
I flew to Ghana with 5 other patients in November, 2006 through the JDC Spine Program. Dr. Boachie and his team at FOCOS did an all-day operation at Korle-Bu HospitalAfter I got back from Ghana, Dr. Rick introduced me to Shelly Dollar who runs Making the Grade. I call her “mom” because she is like a mother to me. I moved to her house in Addis Ababa 8 years ago, and I am still living there. She has played a great role forming the person I am today. She took me in, fed me and helped me a lot with my education. She got me to private school and after I was done with high school, she counseled and guided me through college and helped me into pursuing my dreams of becoming a nurse. I call myself lucky to have her in my life. I truly consider Dr. Rick as an angel sent from heaven for me. I thought life would be just existing in the hospital, until I could maybe become a housemaid. After years of hard work and effort, I have my life back. I have made my true dream- to become a health practitioner, come true. I am now a nurse in one of the biggest, most respected hospitals in Addis, Ababa. If anyone told me 11 years ago that I would be here today, I wouldn’t have believed it. My life is so much better, I can never forget all the people who helped me get here.
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