• BirtukanSinshaw
    Birtukan and Nesibu
    Visionary and Director of Yezelalem Minch
  • The vision for Yezelalem Minch began with a young woman named Birtukan Sinshaw. Birtukan was once a child from poor family, raised by her dedicated and disciplined single mother. She became a sponsored child in World Vision Ethiopia’s local support program.

    As a child, Birtukan always assumed that all child sponsors were wealthy. After completing school, Birtukan got a job in the local World Vision office under the custody of her local church. One day, she read a letter from an American sponsor to a little boy, which changed her perspective completely. This sponsor was an elderly man, in a wheelchair, and was poor himself. The man wrote, “I am a crippled man and I do not have much money. However, I have a strong love for you and that is why I wish to help you.”

    In Ethiopia, a disabled person is considered one of the poorest of the poor – someone who cannot be expected to help anyone else. Birtukan was amazed at the man, and prayed, “Here I am, Lord! I have hands, I have feet, and a full body. What can I do to help these children in need?”

    Years later, Birtukan took notice of many street children near her home. She started by helping two orphans, taking them into her home as a single woman. Fortunately when she was married, her husband, Nesibu, was in agreement with her vision, and as a family they continued to care for children orphaned by AIDS and other tragedies. Before long, they began hiring staff and assisting a growing number of children – now more than 1,500 in multiple communities.

    Yezelalem Minch was founded as a legal entity in 2001. Nesibu serves as the managing director of Yezelalem Minch, and Birtukan serves extensively as a volunteer and local donor for the program.

    Video: Birtukan’s Story: