Project Ethiopia

...a brighter future for rural villagers
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Who We Are:

When spiders unite they can tie up a lion

- Ethiopian proverb

How Project Ethiopia Works:
  • We raise funds in USA and Canada to send to Ethiopia.  All Ethiopian expenditures are accounted for with receipts.  We visit the projects each year.
  • We work very rurally where other aid money does not reach.
  • 100% of your donation goes to the projects.  Judy, Dennis and Paul pay all administration and travel costs.
  • Workineh and Awoke provide leadership and organize all of the work.  There are 5 salaried workers hired at Ethiopian wages and all villagers volunteer labor for work on homes and schools. 
  • Villagers have been trained as cement masons, concrete block makers, metal workers, well diggers, toilet floor makers: an infrastructure that makes these improvements possible using skilled workers in the rural villages.
  • Project Ethiopia gives money to NO ONE.  For example, we give wood, nails, paint to build blackboards instead of giving money to a school director to buy blackboards.
  • We buy materials locally helping the economy.  The only materials we buy elsewhere are things we cannot buy locally - such as solar lanterns, urine-diverting toilets.
All projects originate with and are 'owned' by the villagers.  Our greatest resource is village support.

For as little as 7 pennies, you can help!
  • $4.70 for a school uniform
  • $1.63 for school supplies for a year
  • $0.07 for a bar of soap
  • $1 for a reading book
  • $35 for a triple desk
  • $10 for a bench
  • $2,300 for school well
  • $365 for piped water for a school well
  • $0.40 for drinking bottle
  • $12,000 for school latrine
  • $15 for soccer ball
  • $1 for jump rope
  • $17.50 for a white cane
  • $4.50 for a ream of Braille paper
  • $35 for a beehive
  • $2 for a sickle for the women or child to weed and harvest
  • $78 for a family latrine
  • $400 for a concrete floor
  • $2,100 for a village well

It all started with $300...

After retirement, Judy and Dennis reluctantly fulfilled a promise to visit a friend in Ethiopia.  The poverty seen on this trip inspired them to entrust $300 to their guide, Awoke Genetu, in 2003.  He accounted for every penny spent, including receipts and photos, for 25 student uniforms, 86 books, and teacher supplies.  Judy and Dennis were “hooked” and have eagerly made annual trips to Ethiopia to oversee their project.


Together, they have ownership of the projects

Project Ethiopia is a group of five individuals who have a vision of how to give Ethiopian children the same opportunities as North American children.  Project Ethiopia has joined forces with Interfaith Community Church  in Seattle and offer tax receipts for US donations.



     Judy Sandermana retired mathematics professor from Seattle.  An avid and intrepid low-budget traveler,  Judy has always enjoyed connecting with people of other cultures.


     Dennis Wilkinsa retired manager from a telecommunications company in Vancouver.  Since his marriage to Judy, Dennis has become an avid and interpid traveller who frequently prevents possible disasters brought on by Judy's sense of low-budget travel. His research on the web has resulted in the design of the urine-diverting school latrines and the use of diluted urine as fertilizer.

    Awoke Genetua historian and tour operator in Addis Ababa.  Awoke provides the Project with a vision of how to help the villagers  while preserving their culture.  He ensures that our activities are culturally appropriate.  With great skill, understanding and compassion Awoke directs the Project's work of meeting the villages' most needed requirements.

   Workineh Genetu: Awoke's brother, Workineh is a progressive, organic farmer and beekeeper in Dangla,  who has preserved an indigenous forest, composts, and harvests rain water.  He was Ethiopia's Farmer of the Year for 5 consecutive years.  He seeks to encourage other farmers in his area to adopt new and innovative ideas through the Farmers' Associations he's formed.  Workineh oversees the workforce for the Project and believes poverty will be eradicated by work and that Project Ethiopia is the role model for all rural Ethiopia.

   Paul Henderson: Healthcare administrator and musician.  Paul became interested in Project Ethiopia after hearing a brief update given for Project Ethiopia in 2007 and joined Judy and Dennis in their work with the project in 2011.

Project Ethiopia Board

Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas
Judy Sanderman
Mary Ann Hagen
Carol Watson
David Heitmiller
Dennis Wilkins

Workers in Ethiopia:

Esubalew        Asikere           Dagne

Salaried Workers


Addis                 Yetsidaw               Gebayanesh






Project Ethiopia c/o Interfaith Community Church 1763 NW 62nd Street, Seattle, WA 98107
Project Ethiopia has 501(c)3 status so US donations are tax deductible.