2018 was a big year for Seeds of Africa. We raised more money than ever before at our annual benefit in New York City, launched a dynamic new summer program to further benefit the young students on our campuses in Ethiopia, and finalized plans for our upcoming campus expansion project. Our Founder and CEO Atti Worku has kept busy in her personal capacity too, focused on using her platform to advocate for early childhood education, women and girls empowerment, environmental sustainability, and African development. As the year comes to a roaring close, we reflect on Atti’s actions and accomplishments in 2018:
Why Women Will Save The Planet
In her first ever published work, Atti contributed to the collection of essays Why Women Will Save the Planet, a C40 Cities and Friends of the Earth International collaboration published by Zed Books. A rallying call for women’s empowerment for environmental sustainability, the book showcases key voices in government, academia and the environmental and feminist movements. Atti’s chapter, titled “Why Educating Girls is Essential for a Sustainable Future”, makes a case for investing in girls’ education and gender equality towards an environmentally sustainable future. You can purchase the book here.
The Wing Scholarship
This year, Atti was announced as one of the 100 inaugural recipients of WeWork’s The Wing Scholarship. The new scholarship program is for women whose work supports the advancement of marginalized women and girls involved in fields of teaching, non-profit, social services and advocacy. Chosen from a pool of thousands, Atti’s scholarship affords her full access to The Wing’s membership community, programming, and external opportunities, empowering her to connect and grow her network of women social entrepreneurs to better amplify her work with Seeds of Africa and impact the women and girls we serve.
Ten Thousand Africans
On the Ten Thousand Africans podcast, host Jaydee Tarpeh interviews African entrepreneurs, leaders, and changemakers who are making a difference in Africa and the diaspora. Atti was interviewed in the podcast’s 40th episode, where she offered anecdotes about her childhood in Adama, Ethiopia, her motivations for founding Seeds of Africa, the inspiring families that Seeds serves, and what she hopes to accomplish personally and professionally in the future. You can listen to the episode on iTunes and Spotify.
Social Justice at Work at Columbia University
Columbia University’s Social Justice at Work speaker series hosted by the School of General Studies aims to connect students to working professionals who create positive change through their careers. On the 8th of November, Atti returned to her alma mater for an intimate discussion with a diverse group of students. In a presentation titled “Poverty Is Not One-dimensional, and Neither are the Poor”, she shared Seeds of Africa’s three-pronged approach to poverty alleviation, one that focuses on social services provision, personal development through education, and challenging stereotypes about poverty in the continent of Africa. Conversation in the room was stimulating, with students keenly interested in the trials and triumphs of Atti’s journey as a social entrepreneur.
Bard MBA Disrupt to Sustain Pitch Competition
Atti ended an eventful and exciting year by sitting on the judges panel of the third annual Bard College Disrupt to Sustain pitch competition on December 17th. Dubbed a “Shark Tank for social entrepreneurship”, Disrupt to Sustain challenges students of the MBA in Sustainability program to launch disruptive models for achieving sustainability. Contestants built a case for their solutions and showcased their models and proofs of concept. Alongside a panel of distinguished co-judges, Atti used her own experience in launching a social venture and her interest in environmental sustainability to help pick a winning concept: recycling children’s clothing.
With exciting announcements to be made at the onset of the new year, we are excited to see what other moves Atti will make as she continues her efforts of advocating for educational equality and women’s empowerment in 2019!
Happy New Year!