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Ellenore's Note: Women Making History – Past, Present and Future!
Ellenore Angelidis, Executive Director

OHBD celebrated Women’s History Month for the first time this year. Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. We wanted to acknowledge the huge and varied contributions women have made to our success. I've mentioned just a few below and will share more next month as we recognize our volunteers.

We reflect them in our books. Mothers in Ethiopia work for a better future for their children in Mamas. Inspiring girls grow into impactful women in Girls Grow Up. A mom and cousin demonstrate the power of inclusion in Sign to Me. A woman whose back story and heritage is often rewritten reclaims it in Andromeda.

Our diverse leadership team is well represented with great women (many of whom are also mothers and some grandmothers) making history. Jane and Caroline Kurtz, both award-winning authors and philanthropists, lead the Creative Team. Kate Bare, our multi-talented Production Lead, keeps us on track with our new endeavors as well as challenging us to try new things. Steff Stevens, our connection engineer and language expert, leads our Translation team in helping us bring on more languages. Anna Graham, our creative chemist, leads our social media and communication team with heart and beautiful words. Shannon Britton Jones, one of our first team members, leads our admin and ops team with invaluable support and guidance.  

Other leaders like Dr. Worku Mulat, Innovation Lead and Mekonnen Kassa, Advisory Board member, credit their mothers with inspiring them to give back to their countries, and communities, and their wives for partnering with them to make it a reality.

Our board members include amazing, history-making women including Tizita Assefa who has been fighting for equity her whole career; Bethelehem Tsegaye, who is showing the next generations how to preserve language and culture; Jennifer Mazukelli, whose love of math inspired her (and her daughters) to create I Can Count, a math-based RSG early reader.

Many of our volunteers are also women making history. To name just a few, Bezawork Tilahun is running the American Corners in Bahir Dar, Netsanet Kassahun works for the Ministry of Education, her sister Meseret Tekle is one of our authors, our DC lead and a data scientist, Tigist Geberehiwot is a connector, chemist, amplifier and one of our amazing translators; Theo Tefera is leading our inaugural boot camp curriculum development efforts, and the list goes on. We are grateful for each and every one of them.

And we're grateful for the incredible women who lead organizations that uplift and empower girls and women around the world, like Ingrid Olson of Partners With Ethiopia, one of our collaborating organizations and OHBD board member Kara Valentine of Threads International.

We are standing on the shoulders of the giants among women around the globe who came before us and toiled, often silently, invisibly, to make these achievements possible. We are their voice, their legacy and their hope. The opportunities they opened up are our responsibility and a sacred trust. I see my daughter Leyla as she grows into a young woman with a huge voice and an even bigger heart as the representation of what providing opportunity and inspiration can allow us to achieve.  

I challenge all to:

-Salute the women who came before us and made our path possible

-Support the women who are next to us struggling to open the doors wider and smash the glass ceilings

-Encourage the women who are coming up behind us to aim higher and do better than we did

That is how real progress happens. That is how we achieve true equity.

Thank you to the women who have taught, inspired, and showed me what is possible. This month, and my eternal gratitude, are for you.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Beth Bacon, Connecting Words With Actions

Beth Bacon was already a successful children's book author when she was introduced to OHBD's literacy projects by fellow author Jane Kurtz. She was inspired to share her writing and design expertise with others to help turn their visions and ideas into beautiful, readable published books. As a volunteer coach and mentor, she helps aspiring authors to shape their rough ideas into polished stories through patient guidance and deep knowledge of the craft.

After Beth wrote an award-winning book to help children understand the global COVID-19 pandemic and how to stay safe, nurse Hanna Demeke, one of OHBD's volunteer authors and one of Beth's students, was inspired to translate it into Amharic and offer the Amharic version free of charge to all readers (find a link to the free Amharic version and read more on the blog).

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight with us, and for helping us craft better books!
Readers Reflect: Phoben Talks About Lessons From The Lost Son

In this new blog series, we share thoughts about Ready, Set, Go books from readers like Phoben Alemayehu, whose father, 
Alemayehu "Alex" Regassa, illustrated The Lost Son, a tale of mistakes and forgiveness. Phoben reminds us that the love and loyalty of a family are more valuable than any treasure. Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom with us, Phoben.

Read more on the blog.


Have thoughts or impressions about a Ready, Set, Go book? You could be featured in our next Readers Reflect! Share your thoughts here.
New Titles Celebrating Famous Ethiopian Women

From ancient times to modern, Ethiopia has produced some legendary women. Two recent releases celebrate some of these incredible women, whose feats of courage and endurance have become famous around the world.

In Andromeda, Princess of Ethiopia we follow the harrowing tale of the Ethiopian Princess Andromeda, whose beauty inspired the hero Perseus to rescue her, and whose brave legacy is written in the stars that shine above us today.

The Cheetahs Of Long-Distance Running in Ethiopia features some of the record-breaking female athletes who helped establish Ethiopia as a world-leader in long-distance running. These incredible women are recognized around the world for their endurance and athletic skill, and inspire girls in Africa and around the world to achieve increasingly impressive athletic feats.

Both titles are illustrated by brilliant Ethiopian artist Daniel Getahun and are available in English and Amharic. Tigrinya and Afaan Oromo versions coming soon.
Read Along To Your Favorite RSG Books On OHBD YouTube Channel

Looking for something enriching and entertaining to watch on YouTube? Subscribe to the OHBD Channel to catch gems like Leah Bekele reading Letter From A Plow Nation, with more gorgeous illustrations by artist Daniel Getahun. Thanks to our brilliant and talented volunteers, you can hear stories read in English, Amharic, and Tigrinya on subjects including Ethiopian history, African animals, legendary historical places like Lalibela, and so much more.

Interested in reading for our channel? Send us a message, we'll send you a book!
More Locally Printed Bilingual Early Readers Available In Ethiopia

We're excited to announce the addition of 7 more titles printed locally in Ethiopia! Right now you can get the Runaway Injera, Only In Ethiopia and 13 Months of Sunshine for only $2 a book (with a 50 book minimum), pick up in Addis Ababa. In coming weeks, the following titles will also be available:
 

You Can Support Literacy!

  1. Ask your school or library to carry our books! We offer a 30% discount for bulk purchases. Browse our catalog (updated monthly).
  2. Enter our art contest and see your artwork in a future RSG book!
  3. Run a Facebook birthday or goal-oriented fundraiser! Facebook covers the fees so more of your donation goes toward our literacy projects. You can also ask your employer if they match donations!
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Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund · Editor - Anna Graham · 3518 241st Ave SE · Issaquah, WA 98029 · USA

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