Lily Yoseph founded Tangible Hope Foundation in 2011 after considering her life’s purpose three years earlier, which led her to return to the town where she was born.

By David Karas (CS Monitor) |

“You took me out of the darkness and brought the light into my life. You washed my clothes and clothed me…. I will never forget what you have done for me. Today, because of you, I can read and write.”

Those words were part of a letter penned by Bontu, a young girl living in Ethiopia, who is now literate and able to pursue her education in a country where the opportunity to attend classes is often available only to boys. (Last names have been withheld to protect the girls’ privacy.)

Bontu is one of some 70 girls who are supported by Tangible Hope Foundation, founded by Lily Yoseph, herself a native of Kofele, Ethiopia. The nonprofit organization, headquartered in San Francisco, is dedicated to rescuing Ethiopian girls from poverty, gender inequality, and violence.

Lily Yoseph founded Tangible Hope in 2011 after considering her life’s purpose three years earlier, which led her to return to the town where she was born. What she discovered stuck with her.

“I was very overwhelmed, because the poverty was heart-wrenching,” she says in a recent phone interview. “The girls cannot go to school because of poverty. Even if [the families] have the money … they send the boys to school, not the girls. The girls are doing chores, working every single day.”

Lily also vividly recalls meeting Ubo, who was 7 years old and had never seen her own image before viewing it on Lily’s digital camera. That moment, she says, helped her shift her focus to helping girls like Ubo.

“It is [Tangible Hope’s] goal to make this the last generation of girls worldwide to endure atrocities and hardships and to help those girls become the inspirational leaders who change those around them,” Lily says.

Continue reading this story at CS Monitor
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