Mar 032004
Authors: Amy Tolley

A student group working to raise money to assist members of a

country in a completely different continent, held a jazz and wine

tasting fundraiser at the Avenue last Thursday.

The money was raised by the Ethiopian Student Association to

help Ethiopians combat a current famine and increase the quality of

education in this Third World country.

“What is so inspirational about our group is our passion,” said

Melat Mehwyelet, president of ESA. “Our passion is for helping


One of the fifteen couples that attended the intimate event had

lived in Ethiopia for a number of years. They were excited to see

that someone was doing something with the intent of raising money

for Ethiopians.

The charity event raised about $1,200 between ticket prices and

mail-in donations.

Half of the money will assist with famine relief in Ethiopia as

there is an increasing fear that drought conditions might worsen in

the near future.

The other half of the money will be used for development of the

education program.

Mehwyelet’s family lived in Ethiopia for eight years and she

said she will never forget how difficult it was for many of her

peers to receive an adequate education.

“Students, for example, use one book for three students,”

Mehwyelet said. “School supplies like pens, pencils and paper are a


Yoseph Assefa, public relations chair for ESA said the support

the organization has received from the community has been


“People understand when you are doing something good, and they

go out of their way to help,” he said.

The group also planned a Walk for Famine in Denver last

semester. This event helped to raise $80,000 for the


For member Noma Sabanda the sense of community within the group

is very meaningful.

“It is wonderful to be among so many people that feel as

passionately as you do about something,” she said.

Sabanda performed a song Thursday evening that she wrote

specifically for the event. The song focused on the struggles that

many people face when growing up in Third World countries.

“My favorite part of the song focuses on living your life to the

fullest,” she said. “It was a good closer for the night.”

ESA meets once a week on Monday nights at 8 p.m. The meetings

are usually held in the sunken lounge or in the art lounge of the

Lory Student Center.

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