In October 2000, a group of engineering students in Ethiopia who wanted to help the street children around their university—Bahir Dar University — established an organization called ReDefining Life or RDL-Ethiopia. These students provided stationery materials, school uniform and tutoring advice to nine kids once they enrolled them into the local public school. However, it was difficult for the kids to attend school regularly while living on the streets.

The following year RDL-Ethiopia asked and was granted a one-room government house for the kids. They further negotiated with the Bahir Dar University administration to provide those nine children with food three times a day after all the university students have been fed during the fiscal school year.

Furthermore, during the summer break when the nine kids were out of school and weren’t being provided food by the university, RDL-Ethiopia took measures to ensure that the children were kept fed and busy.

Among the original founders who scattered around the world, a few came to the US to establish what is now RDL-USA to collaborate with RDL-Ethiopia in the day to day work towards the realization of the RDL vision.


    Seme is our success story! He graduated form Bahir Dar University with a Degree in Information Technology. He, then joined RDL to become an officer! After working as an IT teacher for some time, now owns his own Internet Cafe! We are very proud of Seme!


    Nebiyu was one of six siblings who used to live in Bahir Dar with with his parents. When his father died in 1999, the children had work (as shoe shine) to help their mother. Just as he started to contemplate quitting his Grade 5 eduaction, he heard of RDL and joined. Nebiyu recently completed his studies in Psychology in 2012! Congratulations!


    Taye's family stuggled without a stable income. When his family was unable to provide for him he was forced to leave and look for shelter. He stumbled onto RDL in 2000 and has remined ever since. He now a student at the Bahir Dar University majoring in fashion design.


    Getaw (nickname), after passing the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Examination , joined the police acadamy, and is now serving his community as a police man.


    Yibeltal (nicknamed Abush), passed the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Examination and got admited to Jijiga University. Abush is currently in Bahir Dar.


    Eshet hoped to become a lawyer one day. But fate took him towards another direction. Eshet recently completed his studies in Natural Resource Management and obtained his degree in 2012! Congratulations!


    Yohannes after completing his secondary school education became a tour guide and receptionist at a local lodge.


    Tariku had to temporarily discontinue his education due to a disease that is slowing drawing him towards blindness. He went to the city of Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia), learned to read and write brail in both Amharic (one of the Ethiopian languages) and English. He recently completed his program and is currently continuing his secondary school education.