Enjoy your visit to our site. Take your time to learn about our incredible students and our many projects- educational funding (Yanetta), girls' empowerment and autonomy (Esther), hygiene and fresh water (Nitsu), housing (Gojjo)., and medical intervention.
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!
The Baby and the Heart
Chrstuyan (Christian) was a 7 month old baby girl in Ethiopia with Down syndrome and a hole in her heart. She needed heart surgery immediately and her family needed help to save her life.
Helen Wolday was a 37-year old pharmacist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Originally from Ethiopia, she had lived in America for many years.
Several weeks ago, Helen had a dream. It was highly vivid, “There was no need to connect the dots,” she said, “Really,” she explained, “it was more than a dream - it was a vision.”
“Here is my story” she told Dr. Rick Hodes., a US trained doctor living and helping medical patients in Ethiopia. “There is a well-known actress in Ethiopia named Meseret. In my dream, Meseret came to me. She said ‘there is a baby with a heart problem. And YOU can save her.’
I replied: “I’m a pharmacist, not a heart surgeon. There is nothing I can do.”
Meseret answered: “No, YOU can save her.”
“In my dream, she brought me the baby. I took her to a doctor. Standing up, just in front of me, the doctor was operating on the baby. Then the baby got up and sat down on the bed. And Meseret said to me ‘Oh my God, you saved this baby.’
“I replied: ‘It wasn’t me, the surgeon saved the baby.’”
“Meseret replied ‘But if you were not there, the baby would not be alive.’”
“I picked up the baby with great love. And then I woke up.”
Helen says, “I knew one thing –I needed to find Meseret in Ethiopia. This had never happened to me before. I know a person who knows her; she works with my brother. I contacted my brother and got her phone number. I phoned Meseret from America. I said, 'I don’t know why, but I need to phone and tell you this.’ I told her the whole story. “
Meseret was astounded.
Meseret had her own story: A few days before, she was leaving an event. A mother showed up and was crying. She asked me to sit with her. We sat, the mom was crying, and her baby was crying. The mother said, ‘My child has a serious heart problem. It cannot be helped in Ethiopia. She needs to go abroad. There is nobody to help.’”
Meseret explained: “The mom could not give me specific information. She only knew the child was sick. She did not mention that the baby had Down syndrome.”
Meseret gave Helen the phone number of the mom, and sent a photo of the baby..
“I phoned and told them all: ‘Clearly, God wants me to do something, so let me know what I can do.’ I felt like I got an order from God. I don’t have a lot of money. I had never had a vivid dream,
I am a spiritual person and knew this was a real message from above. They did not know what to think.”
Helen promised, “I will get the surgery done."
Helen spoke with the mom of the baby. The next day she got a call from Atlanta, from Dr. Merid, a friend of her cousin. Dr. Merid is one of the presidents of Making the Grade: Hope for African Youth and she and her co-president, Shelly, planned to sponsor this life saving surgery through their non profit.
After consulting with Dr. Rick Hodes, Making the Grade chose AIMS Amrita Hospital in Cochin, southwest India- a hospital we used before for a similar patient.
Dr. Rick related, “there is something very unique about Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome might be thought of as angels in disguise. A great rabbi, the Chazon Ish, would stand in respect when he saw a person with Down syndrome. He believed that people with Down syndrome had souls of holy people. They came to earth in this form so their soul could have a minor correction, and they would not sin.
Making the Grade had started social media fundraising and raised $3500,. They needed $6500 more and Helen said “You have it, from me.”
Shelly’s team communicated with AIMS Amrita Hospital. Two days later, they went to the Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa and got their visa. A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of the Indian COVID pandemic, they flew off to India.
The baby had successful surgery.
Helen concluded: “I am beyond blessed that God chose me to be part of her journey.”
All of us who were part of this are amazed and humbled.
Our thanks to the Almighty, the ultimate orchestra conductor, and to numerous important players, including Shelly Dollar, Dr. Obsinet Merid, Kaleab Tadesse - Rick’s assistant, Alemayew Meskele - the baby’s cousin, Making The Grade-Hope for African Youth in Atlanta, Chosen Generation in Ethiopia, Dr Krishna Kumar and his fine team at Amrita Institute of Medical Science in Cochin. A great nursing student named Rabbi took leave from nursing school to travel to India and translate. Helen is now on the advisory board of Making the Grade!
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.
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