Tsehai Loves Learning Libraries

Advancing education equality for all Ethiopian children

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Education & Training

  • Campaign Goal $0
  • Total Amount Raised $3,802
  • Monthly Repayment:
  • Total Interest Earned:

Project Return N/A

Payment Terms N/A

Company: Tsehai Loves Learning/Whiz Kids Workshop

Country: Ethiopia

Year Founded: 2005

Number of Employees: 10

Mission: Children’s education media company dedicated to improving the lives of Ethiopian children by addressing their developmental needs through television and radio literacy programs, and by publishing high quality, culturally relevant children’s books.

Campaign Goal: $10,000 in contributions

Campaign Dates: February 18 – May 2, 2014


Our Higher Circle Project

What good is a classroom without books?

Tsehai’s Amharic Classroom Library Project aims to create a new culture of reading for Ethiopian children and we hope you will join the effort! Our initial goal is to raise $10,000 to establish at least 23 classroom libraries at public elementary schools in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia). Our hope is to surpass this goal and eventually be able to provide classroom libraries for children throughout the country.


Who We Are

Tsehai’s Amharic Classroom Library Project is a Whiz Kids Workshop initiative. Whiz Kids Workshop is an internationally acclaimed children’s education media company. Often referred to as “the Sesame Street of Ethiopia,” our enterprise is best known for its hit series Tsehai Loves Learning (Tsehai Memare Twedaletch), which reaches an estimated five million children each week through television broadcasts and video screenings in schools, health clinics and refugee camps, along with 25 million listeners through radio broadcasts. We’ve won many awards for our work. Most recently, Fast Company magazine named Whiz Kids Workshop Co-founder and CEO Bruktawit Tigabu one of the "Most Creative People in Business 1,000" (alongside Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, Larry Page and Jay Z). 

Tsehai (pronounced “SUH-hi,” which means “sunshine” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language) is a lovable, curious six-year-old girl giraffe puppet who, along with her family and friends, learns important life lessons about literacy, truthfulness and patience, as well as issues such as the dangers of drinking unclean water, littering, and deforestation. Ethiopian children have embraced Tsehai as a beloved symbol of learning and exploration.

Although we have made a significant impact through our show, in order to fulfill our mission to meet the developmental needs of all Ethiopian children, we need to go beyond TV and radio. Now is the time for Tsehai to enter the actual physical classrooms of public schools across the nation. Ethiopian children need access to fun libraries!


The Problem

In some regions of Ethiopia, only 45% of students complete grade one. Among the students who do continue, research shows that more than 50% have zero reading comprehension, even at the end of grade two. To make matters worse, Amharic (Ethiopia’s official language) is difficult to learn, with over 230 characters, mostly taught through rote learning -- kids copy, memorize and repeat. Supplementary books in Amharic are limited; most are poor quality and unappealing to kids.


Why This is So Important

First language literacy is critical in the development of a young person. When you grow up speaking a language, you think in that language. Words influence thoughts. When you can’t read and write effectively in your own language, you are limited in your thoughts as well. Mastery of your own language has also shown to be a huge advantage for when someone goes on to learn a second language like English.

Despite how important this is, students and teachers across Ethiopia dread Amharic class as the most boring and frustrating period in their regular schedule.

It doesn’t have to be this way.



The Solution

Over the past year, the Whiz Kid Workshop team of literacy experts, writers and artists, along with a content advisory group created the best Amharic teaching materials Ethiopian teachers and kids have ever seen. The response to our literacy curriculum has been joyous and heartening. The challenge now is to reach ALL Ethiopian children with this great material -- not just the schools and families who can afford it. That’s why we are turning to the global community to help make this ambitious project happen.




Tsehai’s Amharic Classroom Library

Each classroom library includes:

• 32 original storybooks illustrated in full color. Each book focuses on one Amharic letter in the alphabet and includes a teachers’ guide for activities and exercises. Note: these books have been translated into English and are available as ebooks. 

• 32 original storybooks illustrated in full color. Each book focuses on one Amharic letter in the alphabet and includes a teachers’ guide for activities and exercises. Note: these books have been translated into English and are available as ebooks. 

• 32 animated episodes of our hit television show Tsehai Loves Learning that build on the lessons of the books

• 32 full-color classroom posters featuring each of the letters

• 297 illustrated flash cards featuring words and letters

• Custom-made bookshelves and flashcard sleeve

• A mural featuring our character Tsehai, whom Ethiopian children embrace as a symbol for exploration and learning.

• A training video to help teachers get the most out of the materials in their classroom.

• A training video to help teachers get the most out of the materials in their classroom.

With these literacy materials, children will have fun interacting with video, music, books, posters and flashcards to learn every main letter family in the alphabet. We have the tools now to empower a generation of readers!


Here's Where You Come In

With your help, we will put these materials into the hands of students and teachers who need them the most.

In gratitude for your generosity, we will send you materials from Tsehai’s Amharic Classroom Library to share with your family and community. As you'll see in the thank-you gift section, some of the items are available in English as well as Amharic.  

Not interested in receiving materials for yourself? If you would like to contribute to our campaign without receiving the thank-you merchandize, that 's great, too -- we'll give the additional library materials to a schools on your behalf.

Thank you so much for joining us in this project to transform first language learning in Ethiopia.

Please contribute, share and spread the word in your various circles—Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn and so on. Together we can and will create a new culture of reading for Ethiopian children!

All photos ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas

Team: Tsehai Loves Learning Libraries

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    Bruktawit Tigabu CO-FOUNDER
    Brukty began her professional career as a primary school teacher in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. Determined to close the early education gap in her country, she looked for ways to prepare children to learn before they entered the school system. In 2005, with her husband, Brukty set up Whiz Kids Workshop. Working from their living room, using sock puppets, computer graphics and their own voices, they began producing Tsehai Loves Learning, a television program about a young, female giraffe named Tsehai. Bruky and her work with Whiz Kids Workshop have earned much recognition for making a major contribution to first language learning in Ethiopia, including Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2014, Microsoft Education Award 2011, The Tech Awards 2011, Rolex Young Laureate 2010, UNESCO Japan Prize 2009, Pre-School Category of Japan Prize 2008, Next Generation Prix Jeunesse International 2008 and Educating Africa Prize 2008.

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    Amina is the petite, soft spoken production management powerhouse behind the Tsehia's Classroom Library materials. She started out at Whiz Kids as a student in an animation training the company gave in 2008. From there she was recruited to serve as an Editor for the company full time. Her talent for Production Management shone brightly and she soon began to serve as a Production Manager and now her role as Managing Director for Whiz Kids Workshop. She helped bring the material into being though her skilled management and accompaniment of the many artists, animators, actors, writers, designers and advisors who contributed to the production.

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    Marcos is the multitasking production machine behind every video production that has come out of Whiz Kids Workshop for the past seven years. He has variously done scriptwriting, editing, sound production, animation and video production for Tsehai Loves Learning and our other television projects Involve Me and Little Investigators. He served as Assistant Director for the latest season of Tsehai Loves Learning at the center of this classroom library project. He is currently studying information Technology Support at ADMAS University College.

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    Samuel is a social business specialist who has been working with Whiz Kids for several months to help the company grow as it expands its impact. He has a background in environment and has worked in education, human rights, research, social enterprise and community development in India, China, Thailand, Ghana, the United States and Canada. Samuel has recently earned a Master of Social Entrepreneurship from Hult International Business School.

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    Since 2003, Shane has contributed significantly to all aspects of production and development of Whiz Kids Workshop. He is currently the Director of Site Operations at, one of the world's largest websites in the food sector with more than 12 million visitors monthly. His previous experience includes co-founding Townshend International School in the Czech Republic in 1992, a residential high school serving students from around the world for more than 20 years. Shane also created a Character Building pilot program in 3 public schools in Guyana, South America in 1990.

Use of Funds

Our initial goal is to raise $10,000 to establish classroom libraries in 10 different public elementary schools in Addis Ababa -- at no charge to these schools!  Each school will receive six classroom libraries installed in Grades 1 - 4.  With this initial step, we will build a total of 60 classroom libraries that reach 3,600 students and distribute 1920 books, 480 lesson DVDs, 960 reading posters, 17,820 flashcards and 60 teacher training DVDs.

Contributors: Tsehai Loves Learning Libraries

  • Hly1yo0wmfxckuplsne5
    Bruktawit Tigabu

  • 7104384
    Billy Silva
    San Francisco , CA
    Backed 9 other projects.

  • Missing
    Bedria Hassen

  • 515014854
    Asheber Atnafu
    Brampton , ONTARIO

  • Missing
    Haddis Tafari
    Burke, VA

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    Michael Gena
    Chatillon, FRANCE

  • 726144056
    Diana L. Daniels

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    Salman Khan
    Oakland, CA
    Backed 6 other projects.

  • Missing
    Hiwot Amare Le Roy
    Villeurbanne, FRANCE

  • Missing
    Scott Broccoli

  • 100004424130852
    Judy Ho

  • 100006975121416
    Samri Tessema

  • 1173163972
    Brukty Tigabu

  • 1235135
    Nasim Mullen
    Backed 5 other projects.

  • 521138070
    Bonnie Kwong
    El Cerrito, CA
    Backed 3 other projects.

  • 569254127
    Suzy Gurton
    Backed 1 other project.

  • Missing
    Tamearra Dyson
    Housatonic, MA
    Backed 1 other project.

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    Annie Gherini
    San Francisco, CALIFORNIA

  • Missing
    Eleni Tekleyesus
    Alexandria, VA

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    Richard Chris Becker
    Houston, TX

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    frehiwot shiferaw
    New York, NEW YORK

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    Marin Casassa

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    Spencer Lanoue
    San Jose, CA

  • Missing
    Shane Etzenhouser

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    John Barnett
    Somerville, MA

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    Pieter Zeegers

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    Valancy Stricklin

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    Erika Mailman

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    sheref zurga
    Silver Spring, MD

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    Simin Hailu
    San Mateo, CA

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    Victor Ali
    San Francisco, CA

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    David G Barnes
    Colorado Springs, COLORADO

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    Katy Anis
    Bethesda, MD

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    Mulugeta Tarekegne

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    Gail Amare
    Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA

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    Michelle Thompson

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    Titi Eshete

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    Bre Vader

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    Spencer Lanoue
    San Jose, CA

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    Freya Prowe

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    Spencer Lanoue
    San Jsoe, CA

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    annette phillips

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    Desta Aemro

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    Chris Ellis

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    Laura Whitten

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    Joseph Linksman
    North Salem, NEW YORK

  • M97ldfimqu7ogo7gnege
    Paul Voigt

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