Ted Alemayhu - Founder of U.S. Doctors for Africa
Ted was born in Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia.
parents had 13 children and Ted
was right in the middle.
was growing up, there was famine, starvation, disease, war, and devastation all around him.
In Ethiopia as in many regions of Africa, there is no middle class.
Few are very rich, most are deathly poor, and there is little or no communication between classes.
As a 13 year old, Ted
was walking down the street one day and he
took a good look at his
friends and family were dying, and he
thought to himself, "People shouldn't have to live like this".
This 13 year old boy thought to himself, "Well, what AM, I going to do?".
decided take a risk.
knew that the wealthy kids in town do not get educated in the poor schools of Ethiopia, they get sent to America and "become smart" through US schooling.
walked right up to a rich kid and asked him if he
could see his
book of American schools.
Without delay the boy handed him the book.
quickly opened it and traced an address of a school that stood out to him in this weird looking foreign language.
thanked the boy, "Amaseganalo", and headed home.
knew that his
oldest brother's best friend spoke English, so he
pleaded with him to translate his
dictation in the form of a letter.
spoke about the horrifying state of Ethiopia and pleaded the reader to help him help his
knew that he
could become very smart with the right education, smart enough to figure out how to help everyone around him.
When the letter was complete, he
went on a mission to find money to send it.
found out that it would cost 42 cents.
first went to his
father and was told that there was no way that the family could come up with that, as food was so scarce.
They did not know when the family would eat their next meal.
finally found an uncle who did not have children, and decided to sponsor him with the money after witnessing Ted's conviction.
sent the letter at the post office, he
realized that it was like putting a rescue note in a bottle and tossing it into the ocean, but the young visionary completed the task.
Cut to: Two weeks later, in sunny Santa Barbara, California, a letter was placed on the desk of the Headmaster of a prestigious boarding school.
opened the letter, and was moved by the story, but "Well, whatta ya gonna do!?!", he
thought twice..."What am I going to do?", so he
hung the letter up to show the boys at the school how good they have it.
One day, Kuon Hunt, a consultant at the school noticed the letter and stopped to read it.
thought, "What am I going to do?
assured them that this was his
destiny and they needed to believe in him in order for things to change.
The Hunt's negotiated full tuition for Ted
at a well known boarding school, and he
quickly learned English.
worked very hard in school and unbeknownst to anyone, would send home four of his
five dollar allowance to his
family every week.
graduated second in his
class after four years.
has spent his
entire life since he
was 13 researching needs, recruiting medical staff, and building the strategy for US Doctors
founded the organization in 1999, and has been inspiring people to become aware of what is happening, and to collaborate efforts to not only help his
community, but the entire continent of Africa. www.usdfa.org