Yohannes Gebregeorgis is a CNN Hero

Ethiopia Reads’ Yohannes Gebregeorgis is a CNN Hero

Thursday, May 1, 2008

New York (Tadias) – Ethiopia Reads, a non-profit organization led by the celebrated children’s author Jane Kurtz, has announced that its co-founder and director Yohannes Gebregeorgis has been named a CNN Hero and will be featured by the network during the week of Thursday, May 1-Thusday, May 8. The feature story, as well as additional material and footage, will be available on CNN’s web site.

In early April, a CNN crew visited Shola Children’s Library, the first free public library for children in Ethiopia, which opened in 2003. Today Shola is one of several programs operated by Ethiopia Reads: Under Yohannes’ direction, the organization plants libraries for children, publishes high-quality multi-lingual books and even operates a Donkey Mobile Library, which serves rural children who don’t otherwise have access to books.

A one-time political refugee, Yohannes spent nearly two decades in the US, where he worked as a children’s librarian in San Francisco. In 2003, Yohannes returned to Ethiopia to persue his dream of building a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books. A librarian, writer, reader and lover of books, Yohannes has introduced books to tens of thousands of children in Ethiopia, a country where libraries and books for children are uncommon.


A “global search for everyday people changing the world,” the CNN Heroes series profiles a different changemaker every week, in an effort to raise awareness about innovative ideas at work in our world. Previous heroes include educators, doctors, businesspeople and environmentalists creating positive change in their communities and countries. Each Hero’s story remains on the website until the end of the year.

Click here to watch the video – CNN Heroes: Yohannes Gebregeorgis
Ethiopia native brings free public libraries and literacy programs to thousands of children in his homeland.

6 Responses to “Yohannes Gebregeorgis is a CNN Hero”

  1. 1 Michele Biasucci May 1st, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Yeah, Yohannes!!!!!

    Good job!!!!! The world needs more people like you!!! :)

    Michele (New Jersey, USA)

  2. 2 Michele Biasucci and Mark Hyman May 2nd, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Thank goodness for people like you in the world!!! You inspire “the better angels of our nature”!!! Keep up the great work!!! Michele & Mark (New Jersey)

  3. 3 Yohan May 5th, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Good job big-brother… you are my hero!
    John (Sydney via Addis-aba)

  4. 4 Jeanne L. Smith Sep 16th, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    What Yohannes is doing is a marvel indeed. My husband and I visited him in Addis Ababa in 2005 when the donkey mobile library was just underway. We took a tour of his first children’s library (Shola) and found every chair in the 126-seat facility filled with children on a Saturday afternoon. They were doing homework, reading on their own, helping each other through texts, and there was even a hygiene program for the poorest children to take baths and get their hair cut.

    The most amazing thing happened when Yohannes tapped a number of children on their shoulders to ask their ages and what grades they were in. There was no coorelation between the two. A child could be 11 and in the first grade or 14 and in the 3rd grade. Children begin school when they move close enough to one to attend. They all considered it a privilege to be in school and were working very hard to build their skills.

    Yohannes is, indeed, a CNN hero! He’s a great role model and a hero for Ethiopian children, to be sure!

    Dr. Jeanne Smith
    McPherson, KS USA

  5. 5 hiyoni Oct 14th, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Good job !!!

    We need more such type of people as Ethiopians and as well as Africans.

    keep it up and God bless you.
    Thank you.

  1. 1 The Mobile Donkey Librarian in Ethiopia (Video) at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Aug 5th, 2008 at 6:21 pm
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