September 25, 2014
On Saturday, September 20, 2014, the Fregenet Foundation celebrated its Tenth Anniversary in an evening of delicious Ethiopian food, jazz music, and tributes to the accomplishments of the Foundation and School over the past decade. The festivities took place at St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Los Angeles.
The founder and President of the Foundation, Tafesse Woubshet, kicked off the ceremonies with opening remarks welcoming the guests. He then passed the microphone to the master of ceremonies, stand-up comedian Ron Yavnielli, who deftly guided the audience through an evening filled with entertainment, education, and community feeling.
Following the opening remarks, guests enjoyed a traditional Ethiopian dinner prepared by the South Bay Neighborhood Association, while on stage the Los Angeles-based Ethio-Jazz ensemble, led by trumpeter, arranger, and composer Todd Simon, provided an incredible performance. St. Mary’s church event hall was temporarily transformed into an outstanding Ethiopian jazz club!
Foundation board member and educator, Hirout Dagnew, then gave moving slide-show presentation in which she highlighted the importance of the education the Fregenet School provides, with an overview of the Fregenet School’s achievements over the past decade. Chief among its accomplishments has been instilling a sense of hope for a brighter future in the children and the communities in which they live.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Hawani Negussie, who has immense knowledge in various educational settings and longtime supporter of the Fregenet Foundation. Her speech emphasized the importance of early childhood education, the dire need for early childhood education in Ethiopia and beyond, and the crucial role the Fregenet Foundation plays in the future of children in the region.
After a video presentation, produced by Roman Debotch and Jarett Horton, depicting the 10 years journey of the organization, Tafesse Woubshet gave closing remarks in which he expressed deep gratitude to all the supporters who together have made his daughter’s dreams of education for the poorest of children a reality. With much work remaining to be done, he emphasized the Fregenet Foundation’s resolve to replicate its school model across Ethiopia and beyond.
In sum, it was quite a memorable and successful evening!
The Fregenet Foundation