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Scholarship Student Nears Graduation from Post-Secondary Studies

Updated: Apr 26

Tadelech Tadesse was born in the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2002. She was the second child of three, growing up in a one-room home with her parents and siblings. Their family was poor, but the kids had a rich and happy childhood, playing Hide & Seek and soccer with each other and neighborhood children.

Tadelech at home with her younger sister and father

Tadelech and another Lelt scholar receiving school supplies in 2018

As the years passed, Tadelech and her family continued to face multiple hardships. Her father suffered from chronic epilepsy and couldn’t work due to his illness, so Tadalech and her older brother accompanied their mother to construction sites, working in manual labor. Her family joined Lelt's programs 12 years ago, and the assistance quickly became a lifeline for them – providing food rations, covering educational expenses, providing school uniforms and shoes, ensuring access to healthcare, and providing essential household necessities. This support helped Tadelech focus on her school studies, and she became an active volunteer tutoring younger children at Lelt’s community center. She also became a role model for her younger sister, helping her with her studies and taking care of her after school.

Tadelech, far left, with school friends in 2019

As Tadelech taught Lelt’s young students at the community center, she recognized her love of working with colorful textiles in an art class. She developed a passion for clothing design and tailoring, and began experimenting with creating clothing patterns and tailoring dresses and blouses. Lelt enrolled her in a local fashion institute where she embarked on a journey of self- discovery, balancing her tailoring studies with the demands of her other responsibilities. It was a challenging time for her, as she worked long hours to continue to help her family and community while pursuing this new passion. Her dedication was rewarded as her teachers praised her natural talent and her ability to grasp complex design concepts and improve them.

Tadelech creating a pattern for a new dress

Tadelech said, “For years, I had very few things to wear. My family always struggled to make ends meet so my parents had to put everything we earned towards food and rent. When I started working in tailoring, it was the first time I felt I could use my own hands to make something beautiful and valuable that I can wear and keep for myself. I have dreams of making beautiful clothing for others, and starting a career my parents will be proud of.” She graduates from the fashion institute with a certificate at the end of this semester with strong recommendations from her mentors and instructors. Happy Graduation, Tadelech!

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