Mekonnen is Making the Grade's Featured Graduate. Here is his story in his own words.
I contracted polio when I was a very young kid. Due to my sickness, I was not able to go to regular school like the rest of my peers until I had three surgeries to correct my deformity. My deformity wasn’t corrected until I was much older and that permanently affected me. Although I had three surgeries to correct the deformity, I’m still physically challenged. I suffer with pain, fatigue and an uneven gait.
Tell us about your family.
My father was recruited into the Ethiopian National military to serve in the long civil war during the Derg regime and he never returned. My mother died during childbirth with my young sister. My grandmother raised my sister and me.
What do you do for a living?
I work as a guidance counselor at Bole preparatory school, a government school in Addis Ababa.
How did Making the Grade (MTG) help you achieve your goals?
Through financial means, MTG also supplied housing and food during my Master’s program. Making the Grade helped me become independent. It’s through MTG that I graduated from high school, college and Master’s programs. I am now living independently thanks to MTG.
I have a Bachelor of Science (BSC) in Biology from Hawassa University (2013) and Master (MA) in special needs education from Addis Ababa University (2016).
What is your dream for the future?
My long-term career goal is to help students with disability and young isolated children more than what I am doing now. I would like to help those that have nobody to help them.