Friday, February 26, 2016

Rosie's very own Personal Teenage Superhero... Hemen Aklilu!

Rosie has a new personal hero and her name is Hemen.
Hemen is 17 and moved to the United Sates from Ethiopia when she was eight. She is brilliant and gorgeous and has big plans that include college next year and medical school after that.
She enjoys working with children and sees her future self as a pediatrician....and even after speaking to her for just a short time, I can definitely see her future doctor self. 
Hemen is a senior at Mother of Mercy High School right here in Cincinnati with a heart of gold. As a young child she remembers asking her grandmother about the impoverished children and the orphans who were in so much need...she worried about them and wanted to help. This need to give back to Ethiopia stayed with Hemen, even after she moved to the U.S. and eventually led her to Emmebeth Micshel. Emma now lives in New Jersey, but grew up in the Abune Andreas Orphanage in Ethiopia and founded an organization called Ethiopia's Tomorrow to help support the very same orphanage where she lived as a child.
When Rosie saw the article about Hemen in the paper, she looked at the photo of the four girls and immediately knew they were in Ethiopia. She read the article and wanted to help... but she had big strong feelings about how she was going to do this- she very much wanted to ownership of this connection...she reminded me that it was a "personal Ethiopian thing mom... you wouldn't really understand."
She had two ideas about how she wanted to help.
She wanted to give her own money from her own savings and she wanted to meet Hemen in person to give her the donation.
Meeting Hemen was her idea and her plan, but even the most independent 7 year olds need help in handling the details of such a great idea/plan, so I became the meeting arranger/driver. 
Rosie was very excited about the meeting her own personal superhero in person. but while we waited in the hall of her school, she became very serious and quiet.

Rosie was still pensive when Hemen arrived on the scene but was immediately put to ease by her warmth, kindess great big bear hug. Hemen shared a little bit of what her life was like in Ethiopia and her hopes and dreams for the future. She was charming and gracious and extremely appreciative to Rosie for helping her with her project... and I was more than grateful for Hemen for being such a lovely connection to her homeland.
For more information about Ethiopia's Tomorrow...
For the entire incredible story about Emmebeth Mischel the founder and director of Ethiopia's Tomorrow...


  1. I wanted to let you and Rosie know, We had a fundraising event yesterday in New Jersey.
    It went great and Emmebeth and I made sure Rosie was mentioned to as many people as possible! Many people were flabbergasted by Rosie's ability to be so selfless at such a young age!

    Stay tuned to the website and facebook for more information regarding yesterday's event!