||July 2018 Trip Testimonials

July 2018 Trip Testimonials

Throughout the month of July and August, Seeds of Africa Board Members, Board Advisors and staff members flew to Ethiopia and visited our programs. It was the experience of a lifetime for the Seeds family. Here’s what some of them had to say about their trip. If you are interested in visiting our campus next summer, please email Info@SeedsofAfrica.org.

Michael Iovino

During my visit to Seeds of Africa I saw so many changes from the last two times I was there. The students were just as happy as before, but now there were more grades attending. The meal program there was a huge success, it ensured that all of the students get at least one hearty meal a day. I was inspired by the recipients of the business loans. It was encouraging to see people with such an entrepreneurial spirit. I wish more people could see what its like at Seeds to see the genuine impact they have made in the community and the children’s lives.

Colleen Williams (SistaSoccer)

Before coming to Ethiopia to the Seeds of Africa School we were told SistaSoccer would be in charge of the sports program, in addition to sponsoring the gear for the school soccer team; however what we experienced was far beyond our expections.  The students were hands-down life-changing.  Their reactions made the entire trip unforgettable.  It is the reason we do what we do.  A simple pair of cleats, a soccer ball, a jersey, made these children smile from ear to ear.  What we take for granted, they take as treasure.  Every privileged and fortunate child in this world should witness how these beautiful children line their own soccer fields, pick each other up when a teammate falls down, and smile when a soccer ball gets put at their feet.  This school is molding and educating children in magical ways.  I was in awe at the passion and dedication of the entire staff, especially the two soccer coaches that want nothing more than to see their players thrive and succeed.  We cannot wait to continue this partnership for years to come and continue creating raw talent into fascinating athletes.  We simply cannot wait to return.

Stephanie Bond & Devin Benton

In July, my husband, Devin, and I were honored to make our second visit to Adama to witness lives being changed throughout the Seeds of Africa community.  In a year, we were thrilled to see such great progress from the physical grounds and structures, to the children’s English, to an ever-improving staff, and financial stability for those in the micro-loan program.

However, the real joy comes from seeing the excitement in a child’s eye when she solves a math problem, or when he nails his English translation, or when she unveils her science project.  That feeling is further driven home when you talk to a mother who rises daily at 3am to run her Seeds-supported business so she can give her children a better life. In the end, a child’s thirst for knowledge and a family’s hope for a better future are universal and it was so heartening for us to see Seeds’ programs addressing those needs and more. There were countless positives on this trip and no shortage of things to make us truly excited for the future. More than ever, we are convinced that the programs and services offered by Seeds of Africa will continue to transform families and lives for generations to come.

Jolie Peters

I had imagined before my trip to Ethiopia that meeting the Seeds students would invigorate my drive as it pertained to my work with the organization. I could have never imagined that this trip would change every facet of my life.

It’s almost as if I can mark my life in two halves: before I walked through the gates of Seeds of Africa and after. The SOA students are the most intelligent, kind and inspiring people I have ever met. Despite what their lives are like outside of school, they show up every morning with a big smile; eager to learn. The Seeds campus provides a sanctuary for 192 children, a place where they can come everyday and just be a kid. I now know just how much I took the carefree nature of my childhood for granted. Not everyone is expended that luxury, but I am proud to say I work for a place that provides a safe space for kids who really need it most.

Not only did the students blow me away, but I have made lifelong friends in the staff members as well. I left feeling awestruck by the dedication the teachers and administration have for their jobs. I can’t thank them enough for the hard work they do day in and day out.

I wish that everyone could have this experience. This journey has taught me so much about the world, and about myself. But most importantly, it has taught me that when you are given adversity, it’s all about your outlook. When the rest of the world looks at you like you have nothing, you can face them back and show them you actually have it all.

Milton Speid

I always knew Seeds was a special organization from the very first time I was introduced to Atti by Shawna Hamilton. And throughout the years, I began to get a better understanding of its impact through reports on the Seeding Education and Sowing Community programs. Everything became clear during the first day of my trip to visit the School in Ethiopia. It wasn’t the smiles on the kids faces that did it, or how intelligent they were. It was the tears from a mother whose son was not eligible to attend. While most of us only get to see those who are lucky enough to qualify and be accepted to the school, we often don’t get to see the pain and anguish a parent goes through when they realize that their child won’t have an opportunity to gain the tools that will transform their lives. That moment outside the school gates, hearing and seeing a mother weep because her child was over the age limit for entry, will forever last in my memory. It confirmed, without a doubt, how important the work being done at Seeds of Africa Foundation truly is. I’m forever grateful to have had the opportunity to witness first hand how special Atti and the Seeds of Africa family truly is.

Grace Van Voorhan

I cannot begin to describe how incredibly appreciative and humbled I am to be given the opportunity of a lifetime. To say that I was impressed and blown away by our students’ and families’ zeal for life as well as everyone’s work ethic and dedication is an understatement. I am so proud to work with such an amazing team. The New York team put their lives on pause to work on the ground waking up early to assist with the Summer Program and stayed up late to finish work that was due in another continent. Our extraordinary, dedicated staff members in Ethiopia who treat the students as their own children, and who welcomed us as if we were their family. Our loan recipients who showed us gratitude and determination to continue to work towards giving their children an education and better future. And all of our students who came to school with big smiles, excitement in their eyes, and desire to learn despite the hardships they face at home.
Being back stateside I’ve realized how lucky I truly am and that everyone deserves a good, quality education. I cannot thank our team and supporters enough – you’re one of the reasons why I love my job and feel fulfilled everyday at work. Everyone needs to visit.

Jazmil Genao

I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia the very first month of my full-time employment with Seeds of Africa. I started off at Seeds as an intern in the Fall of 2016 and worked my way up to part-time employment as I pursued my Masters degree. Upon completion of my studies, I was offered full-time employment and accepted the offer unhesitantly. I’ve seen tremendous growth in this organization in the two years that I’ve been here which in turn, inspired me to continue working here, as it has always been my goal to work for an organization that focuses its efforts around education and women empowerment.
Working from the headquarters in NY, we frequently talk about how impactful the work being done on the ground is, however, it is one thing to talk about it and another thing to experience it. The moment I set foot on our campus in Adama I was welcomed with hugs and kisses from strangers who at the end of my four-week trip became family. I was blown away at how passionate, driven and determined the staff on the ground is and how much they love the work they do. Our students are happy, healthy, kind, and exceptionally smart. This trip made me feel incredibly fulfilled not only in my professional life but also in my personal life; I came back from Ethiopia loving what I do even more, eager to continue working hard, and keen on witnessing the growth this organization will continue to experience. This was undoubtedly the trip of a lifetime.