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Dream BIG Dreams

Our mission is to inspire and enable youth in Ethiopia to reimagine their future through increasing Literacy (READY SET GO books), Innovation (STEAM), Leadership, and Inclusion.

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The Ready Set Go Books Adventure and OHBD Model Projects

The #ReadySetGo books project, by far our biggest and most ambitious undertaking, has indeed been on some adventures. It really is amazing where reading can take you!  And reading opens up a world of possibilities including leadership, inclusion and innovation.

Our main project is Ready Set Go Books, an innovative effort to increase literacy in Ethiopia. We serve as the publisher of these attractive bilingual books and look for ways to get them into the hands of Ethiopian families.

First, we needed to create and publish books. In 2018, we developed the capabilities of a publisher with creative, translation and production teams. By the end of 2020, we created 105 unique titles in print-on-demand and Kindle formats, and almost all are in Tigrinya and Afaan Oromo. We are planning Somali next. Hundreds of people have given their time and talents. All proceeds go back into the project.

Second, we needed to get the books printed and distributed locally as well as train teachers to use these books in Ethiopia. Ethiopia Reads has been our main collaborating partner here. We provided substantial funding and created the book files needed for the printing in 2018 and 2019. Together, we printed over 106K books in five Ethiopian languages; distributed to more than 150 schools and trained 300 educators.  We are now working on creating OHBD complementary printing capacity for smaller printings and printings of a single title.

All of which is great, but there are 3 MM first graders in Ethiopia, so we still have ALOT of work yet to do. With your help, our goal is to create a total of 200 unique titles and distribute them to kids all over Ethiopia. No kid should go through their childhood without colorful, fun books to practice their reading skills and discover more about their world.

We also work on what we call Model Projects. We look for gaps or innovative programs to which we can receive grant funding or provide OHBD Model Program funding and expertise to scale for bigger impact. A requirement for an organization receiving funds from OHBD is that they document their efforts, collaborate with other organizations, and provide matching funding/support.

Current efforts include:

  • Grant received for designing and delivering innovative Computer Science, Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Communication training for high school/early college young people a the official collaborating organization of  the US Embassy American Corners in Jimma, Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Addis Ababa, and Mekelle. (2020 - present
  • OHBD Model Program grant for documenting and building out a new approach to STEM teaching aids with award winning teacher in Dangla. (2020 - present)
  • Grant received for building local printing capacity for single books and smaller order with Partners with Ethiopia (2020 - present)
  • Grant received for creating a disability lens as part of the Mike Carr Legacy Project to increase inclusion of kids with disabilities through new ReadySetGoBooks, a research project and new collaborations
  • OHBD Model Program grant for developing a new Read to Mom literacy program with MDC (2019 -present)
  • OHBD Model Program grant for piloting and expanding a new Artist in Residence Program where local artist teach art to kids; some of which becomes part of our ReadySetGo books

Historical projects included (all funded by OHBD Model Program grants):

  • Funded the building of a science class room for an innovative teachers with Project Ethiopia (2020)
  • Built an elementary school library in Gonder as the first phase of a new innovation center (2018-2020)
  • Provided STEM training for high schoolers with QMe, US Embassy American Corners, and local Ethiopia universities (2018-early 2020)
  • Piloted the first girls 6-week coding school in Addis with Lebawi Academy (2018)
  • Tested in-country printing and distribution of over 100,000 ReadySetGo Books with Ethiopia Reads (2017-2018)
  • Expanded and improved a transition scholarship program to help deserving high school seniors get over the last hurdle to attend a university with Project Ethiopia (2018)

We have BOLD goals!  They include to improve the literacy rate of a country that means so much to us after adopting our daughter from Ethiopia in 2008, and to create more impactful innovation, inclusion, and leadership opportunities youth there so they can reimagine their future. We need your help to do it.

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How to Get Involved

Some of Our Early Model Projects

OHBD is focused on increasing game-changing efforts. We believe in the power of collaboration across organizations and the power of storytelling to share innovative approaches. 

We are also honored to collaborate with organizations who grant funds and to whom we can provide a grant to elevate and amplify the most effective efforts. OHBD funded Model Program grant recipients are required to document the program we fund and agree to share with other organizations or help them implement a similar program in the future. We work with each grant participant to try to improve their program in some way, making it more innovative or increasing its impact.   

We also solicit and receive grant funding for larger efforts like ReadySetGo Books expansion, The Mike Carr Legacy Project for Inclusion, and ongoing Innovation Projects.  We welcome sponsors for our events, books and Model Projects.  Learn more on our Sponsor page.

Local Printing and Distribution: Ethiopia Reads

The largest grant we have awarded to date went to Ethiopia Reads which has a 17-year history of successfully planting and maintaining libraries as well as educator training. This award supports our #RSG books and literacy focus.

Technology Focused Learning for Girls: Lebawi

The second grant we awarded funded the first Summer Girls Programming Class through Lebawi and aligns with our technology focus. Lebawi, also known as the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia has graduated award-winning technologists that are now studying in the best universities around the globe so they were a natural choice for us.

Leadership for the Future: Project Ethiopia

Our third grant was awarded to Project Ethiopia for a Model Program related to leadership support designed to expand and grow its innovative transition scholarship program. This program ensures talented high schoolers make it to the local universities that have accepted them by providing transition scholarships to cover the costs of travel and necessities to get from their rural homes to the university, at a cost of $200 USD per student.