Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Exclusive Interview with The Co-Founder of Teen Ethiopia !!!

Hey there, habeshawi family 💛as you all know we started a new interview series on our previous blog and today we came up with another interview with Elshaday Asres a 10th grade student, the co-founder of Teen Ethiopia and creative director of Teen Ethiopia digital magazine.Teen Ethiopia is a platform where Ethiopian teenagers share their ideas empower themselves and help eachother.
Heres how it went…

First of all thankyou very much for your eligibility for this interview.

Thank you for your interest in Teen Ethiopia!

When was teen Ethiopia founded and who is the fou
Teen-Ethiopia was founded in September 2020 by 3 teenagers ArsemaDegu, ElshadayAsres and Bethel Asres. After taking part in an international entrepreneurial competitionas a team, we came up with the idea to create a platform that empowers the Ethiopian Youth. After that other teenagers with different skills and interests have joined the Teen Ethiopia team and took different positions in the team.
What is the aim of Teen Ethiopia what does your company do?
Even though we have huge plans for the future, the heart of teen Ethiopia lies in empowering teens and helping them use their full potential. One of the ways to do this is by reaching out to them through different media platforms. One of our media platforms is the Teen-Ethiopia magazine which is on its second issue now. This magazine focuses on teens and we encourage teen contributors to share their materials through the magazine. We are also working on a project that brings inspiring Ethiopian youngsters into the spotlight. There are many inspiring teenagers in Ethiopia who are involved in numerous activities. Teen Ethiopia plans to encourage and help them inspire others by sharing their experience in different fields. We also plan to collaborate with different organizations and work on projects that will benefit teenagers such as trainings, competitions and other events.
Our main aim is creating a community of active, empowered and high achieving youth. By including as much youngsters as possible in our projects, we help them enhance their skills and share their skills with each other .Furthermore, one of our tasks is connecting teenagers with range of opportunities and creating opportunities for them.As you might have observed we try to share different opportunities for teenagers on our telegram channel. That is because we believe that one way of empowerment is taking part in opportunities and learning from them. As more and more youngsters join the community, we will be able to take on more amazing projects and provide more opportunities.
what has the company been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic?
After we came up with the idea of starting Teen-Ethiopia, we first developed an action plan which outlined everything teen Ethiopia was about.That helped us to know our direction and assign tasks.
We then opened a telegram channel to connect with teenagers and spread the word. The first few weeks after we created the channel were focused on spreading the word and connecting with our fellow youngsters. Since then we have held an art competition between our teen members and we have released Teen-Ethiopia’s first digital magazine after a month of starting teen Ethiopia. We then released the second issue of the magazine in which our fellow members have contributed their amazing materials.
Currently the team is working on different projects regarding teenagers which will be out soon.
I have seen some challenges on your telegram channel and what is the aim of these challenges?
The challenges are our ways of connecting with our members. We have had 2 challenges on our telegram channel. which encourage our fellow members to share their ideas and work. We at Teen-Ethiopia appreciate creativity, and as you could see in the two challenges we hosted we challenged our members to share their creative works and think outside of the box. The other aim of our challenges is to make our members feel at home. When our members participate in the challenges, and connect with us , it means they are part of the Teen-Ethiopia community. We also find teenagers who work with us in our projects through these challenges. For example all four participants in the second challenge, which called for teenagers to share their art, worked with us in the first issue of the Teen-Ethiopia magazine.
5,You have told me that you and your team participated in an international enterprunal competition, what is the name of this competition?
We participated in EMGirls Enterpruerial Competition (EEC). EEC is an entrepreneurial competition for girls and it had about 480 participants from 49 countries. Our team was one of the top 20 teams out of 350+ teams who advanced to the final round of the competition. Apart from being part of the competition we got access to a series of entrepreneurship webinars and mentorship opportunities which helped us in starting up Teen-Ethiopia.
We plan to organize such compititions in the future at our platform as it will have a huge benefit for our teenagers.

As students you must have lots of school work to do so how do you manage your time to prepare the magazine and other things that you do?
I would say we are able to work effectively because of team work. Every member of the teen Ethiopia team is assigned their own task which fits with their skills and interest. This makes it easier to manage our activity and it prevents work load on one person. Personally, since I started working in Teen-Ethiopia, I have learned to manage my time effectively more than ever.
Where do you see teen Ethiopia in 5years?
In the next five years we expect Teen-Ethiopia to be the leading platform for teenagers. We will include Ethiopian youngsters with different skills and interests in our team. Teen-Ethiopian will be home to a huge community of teenagers and youth who will do good for their community in various fields. We will take part in different projects that will benefit the Ethiopian youth. In 5 years, Teen-Ethiopia will have impacted a huge number of teenagers through its various projects.
Any last thing you want to say to our readers?
The Teen-Ethiopia team would like to thank everyone who is supporting us. We would like to thank our followers in social media and the teenagers who are part of our projects. We encourage anyone who is interested in working with us to contact the team via Teen-Ethiopia’s social media plat forms and be part of the community.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about teen ethiopia and many more!

It was my pleasure!!!

Follow Teen Ethiopia on instagram;💛

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Exclusive interview with the president of Interact Club of School of Tomorrow

  Hello Habeshawi family! This is the first in our new interview series. This week I sat down with high school senior Blen Aynekulu Desta, president of the interact club of School of Tomorrow, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

  Interact club is a community service club that aims to take action, build international understanding, and make new friends around the world. It’s Rotary International’s service club for young people aged 12 to 18.

Blen and I had a chat about what interact club has been doing during the pandemic, Blen’s interests, and how we can contribute to our community during these hard times. Keep reading to see how our conversation went!

  First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Let’s start with when and why you joined Interact club of School of Tomorrow, and what your responsibilities as president are.

  Thank you for having me! When I was in 9th grade the club invited former Interactors, Rotractors, and Rotarians to speak to motivate us to join the club. It worked because I joined in September 2017, my freshman year.  
  As president my responsibilities include identifying member’s interests and skills, assigning them to projects accordingly, maintaining club operations, overseeing projects, delegating responsibilities, and so on.

  We all know that Covid-19 has impacted the world greatly, especially people with low income. What has the club been doing during these hard times?

  Our signature project is supporting Nehemiah Autism Center, but when schools got closed so did Nehemiah. This forced the parents of the Nehemiah kids to quit their jobs and look after their children. This brought about financial hardships to the families, so with the help of our members and mother club, Rotary Club of Addis Ababa, we supported them by donating food and sanitary supplies.
  We then went on to make Covid-19 awareness videos; we made 3 in total. We also made a video called Zim alilim(I won’t stay quiet) aimed at raising awareness about the increase in rates of domestic violence and sexual assault during the pandemic. In addition, we made a video to inspire our members and other students stuck at home to use their time to develop new skills.
  After that, we took part in the green Interact challenge. This was a challenge started by two other interact clubs. The task was, according to our prime minister, Dr.Abiy Ahmed, to plant a seedling, nurture it and make a creative video and picture of it.

The Green Interact Challenge by members of the club

  Following that, we came across Yengat Brihan Charity Association, an organization that supports single mothers and families led by children, orphans. They aid about 104 households, and before Covid-19 they gave different trainings, provided tutoring for children, and many more. However, when the pandemic hit they had to go on full support mode by providing food, sanitary materials, masks, and clothes. We helped out by collecting these materials and volunteering when needed.

Interact Club donating food and sanitary materials to Yengat Birhan Charity Association

  As of right now, we are collecting clothes and shoes for Nehemiah Autism center; we are collecting masks and looking for volunteers for Yengat Brihan charity Association.

  That’s amazing, so you didn’t let the pandemic and school closure stop you from engaging in your community. How did you manage to keep in touch with your members after school closed?

  After school closed it was tough to keep in touch with every member, but through posting events on social media and sometimes calling our members directly we have managed to keep up.

  Doing all of the things you mentioned takes a lot of time and energy. What motivates you to keep going when the going gets tough?

I’ve always wanted to do something like this even in my future career, so I’ve had, to some extent, self-motivation. However, when it gets particularly challenging or frustrating, I have an amazing team of board of directors and active members that give me drive.

Is there any last thing you want to tell our readers?

  I would love to encourage people to help out in their community. Helping others is like food for the soul! A time like this, with Covid-19 and other challenges, can put a strain on our mental and physical wellbeing, and helping one another can give us hope that goes a long way.

“The whole Interact, Rotract, and Rotary community is a collection of people who want to see you flourish ,and have a genuine interest in making the world a better place!”
-Blen Aynekulu Desta

Follow Interact Club of School of Tomorrow on Twitter . Follow us on Instagram to see more of what we do ,and become a part of our family.💛🖤

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Unity Park

A beautiful representative drawing about unity park by Arsema M.Yimer

Growing up I’ve always asked why we couldn’t visit our national palace and when i passed the wall i wondered what it looks like and how big it was. Now let us talk about the unity park.

The idea of the Unity park was first introduced by Prime Minister Dr.Abiy Ahmed Ali in 2010E.C. The construction was finalized and it was opened on Meskerem29 2012E.C.

The unity park is located in the grand palace which was first built in 1878E.C and has served as a National Palace for 8leaders scince then. The construction of the park is said to have consumed 4billion Ethiopian Birr.

Now when we get back to our conversation me and my friends got a chance to visit the park through a school trip. It is literally the most amazing place i have ever been to it’s a place filled with surprises.

Unity Park drawing by Arsema M.Yimer

The park displays the 132 year history of Ethiopia.

It consists of a Banquet hall built during the reign of Emperor MenelikII. Aside from the many banquets held during the reign of Emperor Menelik P.M. DR.Abiy Ahmed also held a dinner worth of 5million Ethiopian birr in this hall. This hall is also the place where you can find the wax figure of Emperor MenelikII.

The wax figure of Emperor MenelikII

The Throne House this throne hall has an age of around 100years. The top floor was the place where the thrones were located and where Emperor Hailesilassie would welcome his guests even have a feast in the hall behind. The underground was used to store drinks but after 1967E.C. The top floor was used as the meeting hall of the DERG officials and the underground was used to imprision and kill prisoners. Now both are used as museums. The wax figure of Emperor Hailesilassie is also found on the top floor.

Emperor Hailesilassie welcoming Queen ElizabethII in the Throne hall

Emperor Menelik’s palace complex: the construction of the complex begun in 1880E.C. Aside from the many rooms Emperor Menelik’s, Empress Taitu’s and the bedrooms of other royalties are found there

The Ethiopian reigonal states pavillion built in 2011E.C it clearly shows the culture and history of the reigonal states of Ethiopia.

Traditional Garden: this garden has countless numbers of indeginious plant species and hand carved tiles.

The Black Lion reservoir where the black lion which is a genetically distinct lion Ethiopian is located. It also has an artifical cave which is 175 meters long and a cafeteria.

The Black Lion

The Animal Reserviour which has many endemic and imported wild animals and birds like zebras,giraffes,peacocks and an aquarium.

This in short is my view of the Unity park.

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Come drink coffee(Bunna)

On Sunday mornings I wake up to the feel of the sun on my face, the sound of coffee beans being roasted, and the aroma of roasted coffee and incense. Why Sunday can’t you have coffee every day? Well, Sundays are special because there is no school and most of the time no work, meaning everyone is home. We’re allowed to stay in our PJs with a blanket on( even when it’s not cold out) to feel cozy and enjoy our Ethiopian coffee whether we drink it or not.

With the busy lives, we lead it’s hard to find time to socialize with our neighbors, but our coffee ceremony makes socializing as easy as texting someone to come have coffee. It’s easy because you’re not pressured into preparing a 3-course meal or a buffet, just the coffee set up and bread, popcorn, or Kolo(seasoned roasted barley) as a snack.

Drawing by Arsema Mengistu Yimer, age 17

You might be saying “how do you expect me to invite someone over for a coffee when I don’t drink it in the first place?”. Well my friends it’s not about the coffee. Coffee is just the excuse, it’s truly about sitting together and talking about your week, politics, work, or school.

Why is coffee a big deal in Ethiopia? Coffee was found in Kaffa, southwestern Ethiopia. Hence the name Coffee. (More on future blogs)

How to make Ethiopian coffee and the details on our special coffee ceremony

Next time you feel like socializing all you have to say is “come have coffee”.

Enjoy your Bunna!! Follow us on Instagram at and subscribe to our telegram channel at Stay safe everyone. 🖤💛

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Welcome To Gurage

Beautiful Meskel pencil drawings by our peers Salem Serwana and Mahlet Bizuneh

Meskel in the Gurage reigon:

Hello guys we’ve talked about Meskel on our previous Ethiopian Holiday post ( today we are gonna go deep into the holiday and travel to the Southern Nation Nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia specifically the Gurage reigon.

Meskel in Gurage is not only limited within the reigon but also the whole of Ethiopia. As we all know the people of Gurage are widely known for their hardworking habits. And for this many people leave theirhomeland and migrate to the cities for a better life. Aside from the people in the reigon the people who go backto their homelands also have duties to fulfill. To fulfill these duties and expectations they save money all year long specifically for Meskel. One of the duties are buying clothes for their parents,sibblings and the needy in the area. Aside from that they are expected to gift a ox or a goat to their parents for Meskel.

As for the parents or families waiting in Gurage to welcome them the women stock butter and enset (false banana) throughout the year for meskel.

The meskel celebration in Gurage may have a span of 14days depending on the area. Through these days there are days on which only a certain type of food is eaten for example there’s a day on which only Gomen is eaten.

Now of these days let us talk about 3 of them:

Day1(Meskel eve): The day of slaughter which is one day before the main holiday. Early in the morning on this day people gather around to make the demera which is a giant bonfire made by Ethiopian Christians to celebrate Meskel. They then go to the slaughter ceremony. During the slaughter ceremony the ox should fall on the right side or is flipped the other way around. At night the bonfire is lighted and people dance around the bonfire. Finally the ceremony will be finalized by the blessings of their elders.

A gurage man and woman dancing around the demera.

Day2(Meskel day): This is the day that the whole of Ethiopia celebrates meskel. On this day you might see people with crosses made of ashes on their foreheads the ashes are from last nights demera. Afterwards the people gather around and sit on a handmade traditional mat that is made and used for meskel only and enjoy their kitfo, ayib, gomen, drink tej which is like a traditional honey wine and other alcoholic beverages. The foods are not sereved on plates as we assume but is eaten on a leaf cut into shapes and is eaten with a spoon made of an ox’s horn.


Day3:this is the day in which the whole family including their in-laws. Absence on this day is not permitted and the person absent will be punished according to the indeginious law. As the main part of the day two selected representatives or respected people will pave the way for two people to forgive eachother. Here’s how it goes before the program begins wether guilty or not the younger one will go down to the other’s knees and asks for forgiveness the older one will forgive since it’s a must to forgive on Meskel. Meskel is such a big deal in Gurage that even if a husband and wife want to divorce in less than two months from meskel it has to wait untill the holiday has ended. This inshort is what Meskel looks like in the part of Gurage we did our research on.

If you wanna know about the celebration of any other holiday in a specific reigon let us know in the comments.

Have a nice meskel everyone!!!

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Its 2013🎆🎆🎆

Melkam Enkutatash (!! We wish you a successful and bright new year filled with hope and happiness!! Enjoy your Doro wot😉 ( )!!

Dear 2013,

First of welcome! You have no idea how happy we are that you are finally here and don’t worry we Ethiopians don’t believe in the whole “13 is an unlucky number” thing. We will welcome and accept you with open arms.

We’ve all had a though year( your younger sibling 2012) one way or another. First let’s address the elephant in the room, COVID 19. For those of us who haven’t witnessed world wars, The Great Depression, civil wars, The ’77 drought, or any other catastrophe this is the biggest crisis we’ve seen in the world. We’ve lost more than 900,000 people, our economy has plummeted and employment is at an all-time low. In addition to this wildfires, desert locusts swarming, racial injustices, xenophobia, riots, and many more have made 2012 harsh for many. You 2013 is when we hope things to do a full 180 and change for the better. Every obstacle is followed by a lesson and the pandemic has taught us a crucial one. We’ve learned that our gender, race, nationality, political standing, and all things that make us different come second to us being human. As people, we should all love and care for one another regardless of our differences. With all the lessons we’ve learned we promise to be thankful for what we have, help those in need, live with a positive outlook, and generally be good citizens of the world. We’re truly hoping you turn out great for us!

Yours truly,

The Habeshawi family💛🖤

Happy new year to all our readers and followers. Thank you for supporting us for the past few months . We are working harder to come with better content for the new year. Stay safe everyone. We 💛🖤 you all!

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

“Thirteen Months of Sunshine”

“Thirteen Months of Sunshine”a famous term coined by Mr.Habtesilassie Tafesse who is also known as Ethiopia’s “Father of Tourism”.

Mr.Habtesilassie Tafesse

From this term we may have many questions like Why is Ethiopia called 13 months of Sunshine? Or what is the thirteenth month called in Ethiopia? And what is the special thing about this Month?

Well the answer is that one Ethiopian year is composed of 365 days 6hours two minutes and 24 seconds. And is 7 years behind the Gregorian calender this is because the Ethiopian calender continued with the same calender that the roman church amended in 525AD. Each of the 12 months have 30 days and for the remaining five days there is a month called puagme this month only has 5 days but once in 4 years this puagme consists of 6 days. The word puagme comes from the greek word “epagomene” which means days forgotten.

After all things that make puagme special for us Ethiopians is that scince puagme is the last month of the year it is the month in which the adey abeba which is a flower also used to indicate the upcoming new year starts to blossom.

A blossoming Adey Abeba

During puagme followers of The Ethiopian Orthodox Church fast throughout the whole month.

Another fun thing about puagme is that on puagme3 kids gather around and play in the rain in puagme scince its a rainy month and it is also assumed that it is st.rafael’s holy water.

Kids running in the rain during puagme
Kids laying down on the ground forming a cross in puagme

In 2020 puagme starts on sunday september 6 2020.

Have a nice puagme everyone !!!

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Its Buhe time!

Every year on Nahase 13/August 19 we Ethiopians celebrate Buhe. Buhe is a holiday on which the Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor. It also marks the end of the rainy season and beginning of the sunny season. On this holiday boys and young men go around their neighborhood singing hoya hoye- a traditional song. This song contains specialized poems used go praise elders and express good wishes for the upcoming Ethiopian new year. The boys go around holding a stick and making a sound by hitting the ground with it. They sing the song in harmony with the banging of the stick with one person leading. After they finish singing to the household members they are gifted with Mulmul- a homemade traditional bread- and, sometimes in urban areas, money.


Buhe has plenty of traditional practices which represent biblical events. Accordingly, the wip being cracked by the boys is to imitate the sound of tunder on the day of the transfiguration of jesus. In the evening we light chibo( a bundle of twigs), this is to represent the light that was illuminating when christ appeared. The bread,mulmul, signifies the fact that mothers took bread to their shepherd boys who stayed out late because they thought it was still daylight, but it was Christ’s supernatural appearance.

Chibo lighting

Melkam/Happy buhe everyone! Comment on your favorite part of buhe.

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

Ethiopian Traditional Clothing

On Today’s blog we will be talikng about the traditional clothing of the different parts of Ethiopia.

Oromo : Oromiya is one of the reigonal states of Ethiopia with a unique way of dressing. Traditional oromo clothes usually consists of a usually white toga-like robes called woya for men and a skirt called wandabo for women.women may also hold an object called a sinqee and be dressed in qollo and sedeta which are traditional spun or woven cotton and leather.

Oromo man taking gifts to the Gedaa ceremony which is an indeginious democratic system used by the oromo people.

Afar: Afar people also have a very unique way of dressing. In Afar both men and women wear the same article of clothing called a Sana-Fil which is a length of fabric wrapped around and tied at the waist. A woman’s Sana-Fil is traditionally dyed brown but modern Afar women have adopted multicolored one’s. Married women wear a black headscarf called a Shash. On The other hand the man’s Sana-Fil remains undyed till this day. Afar men are also known for wearing a double edged curved dagger called a Jile at their waists and their unique hairstyles.

A marriedAfar woman
An Afar warrior holding his Jile
Afar men’s hairstyle

Mursi: The Mursi people of Ethiopia found between the rivers of Omo and Mago are widely known for their very rare and very unique way of dressing which mainly includes lip plates. According to the Mursi people the woman with the biggest Lip Plate is said the most beautiful woman of the Clan.

A mursi woman

Hamer: The hamer people of Ethiopia are Omotic people found in the Southwestern part of Ethiopia in the fertile part of the Omo River Valley. Their way of dressing includes unique hairstyles,covering their hairs with butter and dressing in traditional skirts.

Teenage Hamer girls

To be continued…

Ethiopia. youth. Culture.

The dam is ours!

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD) also known as the Hidase dam, was started in April 2011 and is located on the Abay(Blue Nile) river in the Benishangul Gumuz region in Ethiopia. This nearly 5 billion USD dam is not just another gravity dam on the Abay River- the longest river in the world whose origin is in Lake Tana in Ethiopia- its something we Ethiopians have put our prayers, salaries, savings, piggy banks and most importantly our hope for the future of our country Ethiopia.

Abay River

After years of hard work and sacrifice from everyone including engineers, labor workers, contractors, country leaders, and security workers, our dam was ready to get up and running. However, earlier this year there was a disagreement among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt regarding the filling of the dam GERD. For obvious reasons, this infuriated us Ethiopians. Anyone who knows Ethiopian history would agree that this was the first time since the victory of Adwa- Battle between Ethiopia and Italy on March 1, 1896, which ended the next day with the victory of Ethiopia- that Ethiopians came together for a common cause and were willing to do whatever it takes to get the dam up and running.

After months of diplomacy, our dam was announced to be filled on July 22, 2020; this year’s extremely cold and rainy winter is a nuisance for ” sun lovers”, like myself, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the heavy rain facilitated for the quick filling of the dam.

Currently, the first filling of the GERD has been completed. This first filling provides enough water for Ethiopia to test the first 2 turbines. When completely filled it will be the largest dam in Africa and is expected to generate 6.5 gigawatts of electricity.

The filling of the GERD has raised concerns among our fellow Egyptian and Sudanese brothers and sisters. I don’t know about the political aspect of the issue but I know what it means to be Ethiopian. We care and love one another; we don’t sleep with full bellies when our neighbors haven’t had dinner, we share our dinner. Accordingly, they should not be concerned about our dam putting their countries’ well being on the line because our caring and loving identity go beyond our borders.

  We at Habeshawi would love to thank the following for their respective contribution to the GERD:

  • First and foremost, we thank God for helping our country get through our ups and downs and complete what we started.
  • This dam has seen 3 prime ministers, and we acknowledge each one of them. We thank: the late PM Meles Zenawi, may he rest in peace, for getting the dam started and keeping it going strong, the former PM Hailemariam Desalegn for keeping the construction going forward, the current PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed for reaching the beginning of the end.
  • We thank the late project manager of the GERD engineer Semegnew Bekele, may be rest in peace, for his undying dedication on the dam.
  • We thank all the contractors, engineers, and labor workers for working day and night in the harsh benishangul-gumuz weather.
  • We thank all the security personal for keeping our dam and everyone within it safe and sound.
  • We thank all officials and everyone who contributed to the dam one way or another.
  • Last but not least, we thank the families of the people mentioned above, for sharing their loved one’s time and energy and supporting them to do their work for the better future of our beautiful country Ethiopia.