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I came to America from my native Ethiopia only last year, February 20012, as a result of my marriage to a wonderful, supportive woman who agrees that I should further my education in my new home so as to be able to excel professionally. The fact that I will be a father by the end of this coming June, 2013, also reinforces my determination to make my mark in life professionally as a social worker who gives his all to protect children and to help them to prosper in life in every way, especially on an emotional level. My special concerns and professional interests are a direct bi-product of the challenges that I have faced in life, often early on, as is my case as the child of a single mother in Ethiopia.
A fatherless boy growing up in the slums of Addis Ababa, I know well the struggle to survive and the value of an education. Most unfortunately, as the son of a single mother with no father around at all, I was part of a class of children singled out for often brutal and most public ridicule, something which made a profound impression on me, helping to inspire me to struggle against the suffering of children from all forms of sexual violence and discrimination, both directly and indirectly.
I completed my undergraduate education in Ethiopia in 2001 in the area of Political Science and International Relations. Nearly 12 years later, by the time that I immigrated to America, I had worked my way up to the position of Training Officer with 10+ years experience working in both the public sector and with non-profit organizations using my skills to the fullest extent possible in the service of my community, especially in the area of public education. I worked very hard to become highly skilled in organizing, leading, and training large communities and multiple stakeholders on issues of gender equality, gender based violence, and HIV/AIDS Prevention. Heavily experienced in grassroots training and mobilization methods, I have helped to organize and participated in numerous including workshops, plays, peer education initiatives, and community discussions.
One of the most salient highlights so far in my career was my service from September of 2005 through October of 2008 as a Training Officer with the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) in Addis Ababa. I organized and managed 2-day, weekly, awareness workshops for 60 participants from community organizations, schools, and government offices, incorporating training manuals on gender, domestic violence, sexual harassment and harmful traditional practices. I also led 3 programs to better mobilize community resources and promote special awareness actions in districts with high levels of gender-based violence. I took special delight in coordinating a total of 8 plays with no less than 4 different schools, resulting in a subsequent reduction of 60-70% in violence against female students in those institutions over the course of the following 3 years.
My next position as a Training Coordinator from November of 2008 through March of 2010 was with a non-profit global health organization with its headquarters in Washington, DC that has programs in 60 countries employs 8400+ staff. Most of my duties were centered on the implementation of 5 day peer education training for factory workers to increase consciousness of the various critical issues involved in the discussion of HIV/AIDS. Over the course of these 18 months, I was able to feel like I had gotten our message across to an audience of at least 15,000 people.
Since shortly after my arrival in America, October of 2013, I have been working with a Professional Charity Fundraiser, the XXXX Team in Berkeley, CA, a non-profit organization with programs with more than 80 community centers in 11 countries. I labor to promote our charity partners by engaging members of the public in a one-on-one conversation through face-to-face fundraising, inspiring new donors to join XXXX’s mission and work to break the vicious cycles of child poverty.
I hope to build a research focus for the purposes of your program and beyond in the area of single-parent families, especially in minority communities--the special social, economic, psychological, and emotional challenges faced by children in these families. This interest is especially dear to my heart not only because of my personal experience but also the professional experiences and challenges that have shaped my adulthood.
Since I feel very strongly that I would be able to make my greatest contribution to society in my new home, America in the areas of family mediation and arbitration, I ask for admission to your distinguished program at XXXX University in particular because of your strength in the area of family.
I thank you for considering my application to your program.