Maheder Yohannes (Appalachian State University ’18) plans to return home in December, along with uniforms and school supplies for the children in her community.

By Jackie Park (The Appalachian) |

Boone, NC― Maheder Yohannes, a senior accounting major at Appalachian State University (Boone, NC), and her family are from Ethiopia, and came to the United States when she was 10 years old due to political unrest in her home country.

“At this point, the current government back home in Ethiopia is borderline a dictatorship because they have been in power for about 26 years now, which is way too long for any government that I know,” Maheder said.

Maheder Yohannes said that her dad was in the military and that after he got out, he started organizing groups and leading movements against the current government.

“There have been a lot of human rights violations under the current government’s watch.They have silenced a lot of journalists that tried to uncover what the government was doing,” Maheder said. “If a protest arises, they send military power to shut it down. You don’t hear about a lot of these things here, which is crazy, but many people have lost their lives under the current regime.”

The United States’ government additionally does not allow those here under a refugee visa, like Maheder Yohannes and her family, to return to their home country until they have their U.S. citizenship.

Maheder and her family finally got their citizenship in February, and she plans to return home in December, along with uniforms and school supplies for the children in her community.

“It seems wrong to go back empty-handed, considering that for the last 11 years I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a higher education here,” Maheder said, “and I just was thinking of something I could do to give back to the community that pretty much raised me and made me who I am today. I knew I wanted to do something but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I thought about how big education was, how big it is in my family and how big it is across the globe.”

Continue reading this story at The Appalachian
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