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From Duluth to Oromia: Helping Those in Need
Aspiring to Assist: Amane Wako
Lessons in Duluth
Amane Wako, a UMD junior double majoring in accounting and international studies, is one of those students who has the desire to help others.
Amane has volunteered at the Damiano Center, a social services organization in Duluth, for years. She tutors children in math and reading at their Kid’s Café and she helps out homeless and low income people by serving meals in their kitchen.
She was impressed by the organization’s philosophy, and she wants to start her own non-profit organization, so she can help those in need someday.
That day came sooner than she ever imagined. This past winter, Amane helped 47 households in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
Amane is originally from Oromia. She moved to United States with her mother and attended Cooper High School in Minneapolis. However, most of her relatives are still in Oromia, and she visits them regularly.
In December 2015, Amane watched television news and saw a protest by Oromo farmers and residents who wanted the government to stop taking their land. Security forces killed at least 40 people, hundreds were wounded, and thousands were detained during the three weeks of uprisings in Oromia.
Amane was upset and worried about the Oromo people. “I wanted to do something to help families back in my home region.”
Immediately she looked for ways to help get food and water to the people in Oromia. Amane talked with her professors and asked for a few minutes of class time to give presentations. UMD students donated hundreds of dollars to the cause.
When Amane went back to Minneapolis on weekends, she gave a presentation at a church and talked to friends to raise even more money.
By the time she went back to Oromia during the winter break, she had gathered over $1000. Amane was joined by her friends in Oromia to make deliveries. In spite of the dangers, she and her friends bought food and water to those most in need. They listened to the stories of the families affected by the violence.
“People in my home region suffered. Many were hungry, thirsty and homeless,” she said. “I want to do more to help them, but as a student, the only thing I can do now is to study harder."
Amane has a plan though. “In the future, I want to build a place to serve free food, just like the Damiano Center does in Duluth,” she says.