Ellenore’s Note!

     A key goal of Open Hearts Big Dreams Literacy efforts is to get our Ready Set Go books into the hands of all of the 4MM first graders in Ethiopia to practice their reading as well as any other individuals just learning to read.  We believe having these books to practice and develop an early love of reading can help boost the literacy rates in Ethiopia. 

We know literacy is an early gate to further education and opportunities.  So far, we have distributed over 100K books in country in four different Ethiopian language.  We know we need lots of support to make our goal to reach all Ethiopia first graders a reality. We know there are many, many public and private organizations working in Ethiopia with similar or complementary goals.

     I was excited to be contacted recently by supporters of two such organizations in Ethiopia.  Each was interested in sharing #ReadySetGo books with kids benefiting from their work.  The first is Uryadi's Village whose efforts are directed toward clean water and sanitation, sustainable agriculture, affordable healthcare, education opportunities, and practical livelihood training to support orphans, vulnerable women and children in southern Ethiopia. Seattle based supporters are bringing our books with them to Ethiopia and will get them in the hands of children in these communities.

     The second was Ambo Lazarist Catholic Deaf School  serving kids in central Ethiopia. Ireland based supporters are taking #ReadySetGo books printed in the UK with them to provide the kids attending this school, all of whom have impaired hearing. This organization has a special concern for deaf children living in rural communities who are often marginalized and have limited access to school.  

     Learning about the work of these organizations is inspiring as is the opportunity to increase the number of organizations we collaborate with through our books and other projects.  We look forward to continuing to connect with many more such organizations and together achieve our bold goals for literacy.
                                                                                                            ~ Ellenore      

A Teacher, Artist, Innovator and OHBD Board Member!

     Sultan Mohamed has been a long-time supporter as well as talented artist and Seattle public school art teacher.  He is one of our original OHBD Board members. He has been anxious to give the opportunity to learn about art to kids in his home country.  He started a community art studio in Ethiopia which is a model OHBD is looking to help him expand. 
He has also collaborated with other organizations like Seeds of Africa led by Advisory Board member Atti Worku.  Sultan shared the impact of that work with us recently as we plan for our next trip and collaboration.  Sultan’s efforts are key to achieve our goals for Ready Set Go Books, the community art studio element of the innovation centers, artist in residence in local schools to teach kids art, and increasing collaboration among organizations.

    “Last summer, I traveled to Ethiopia. During this visit, I had the privilege to work on a project with OHBD. This project included a visit to the school started by one of OHBD collaborating organizations, Seeds of Africa, where I taught drawing and storytelling to the children. The artwork that was produced will be used in a book that I am writing and will be published by OHBD.
    During this visit, I coordinated introductions between the Directors of "Seeds of Africa and "Senor Video and Photo Editing". In the future, these two schools will now collaborate together. At upcoming " Seeds of Africa" projects, the students from "Senor" school will attend and document the events with recording, photography, and editing for the digital archival library.
Participating in these activities this summer in Adama have inspired me to work with OHBD to create a place where creative young minds could come and learn how to draw, paint, write, story tell and attend cultural lectures from visiting Artists in Residents.”
Sultan is spear-heading an art creation day during our up-coming trip where a number of artists, including some current illustrators of #ReadySetGo Books, will donate their talents for new ReadySetGo books and tell their stories for an upcoming book which will also feature their art.  We can’t wait to share the results with all of you.

Ready Set Go Books
Team has The Leopard by The Tail!  -
By Jane Kurtz    
     Ready Set Go (RSG) Books had several volunteers working on books that I thought might be ready in 2018 but who didn’t quite hit the end-of-year deadline. Luckily, that means we have several new books to start 2019. These books represent some interesting new paths.
     The True Story of Teff is the first book written by Amlaku, our main Amharic translator. He has now written two more that we are seeking illustrators for now.
     Alex Regasa, an Ethiopian Artist illustrated a simple version of the Bible story of the good shepherd that will be one of the RSG February books. April Phillips, a Seattle graphic arts professional who discovered RSG books at one of OHBD events, finished her second book, now in translation stage. While, Katie Bradley surprised us with art and story of a book inspired by two girls she saw when visiting Harar where her daughter was born. This book (Yellow) is our first book to feature Harar with its mix of Islam and Christian.
     We have two books (One Big Job and What Is A Friend) we couldn’t have pulled off without Jordy Farrell ( He also contributed to the design work of a new RSG read, Colors going into production.
       As you may be able to tell, RSG Books these days is more than ever like having a leopard by the tail. With all the people involved in this project and all the hunger for reading material in Ethiopia and here in the U.S., this OHBD Project can sometimes seem on the verge of becoming overwhelming. But mostly it is wonderful to see the response grow.
Buy Our "Ready Set Go" Books Here!

Every Bite Counts! -By Ellenore Angelidis


     One benefit of this work has been the wonderful people I have met, come to know and many I can am privileged to now call friends.  We started this work with the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.  We get almost all of our funding through donations from individuals whether by themselves or through engaging their networks.

    The power of connection and the individual story drives these efforts. Our up-coming trip to Ethiopia is a wonderful opportunity to check on projects as well as gain new collaborators in country.  But it also requires funds as does all of our work. 

    Metti is a dear friend as well as an Advisory Board member.  She is constantly looking for ways to assist.  She offered an impromptu fundraiser where she would cook a traditional Ethiopian Feast ending with a traditional coffee ceremony to raise funds to cover some of those costs as well as celebrate Ethiopian culture, current connections made, and hopefully make some new ones. 

    Thank you Metti!  Your heart for kids, friends and Ethiopia is HUGE!

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