Our Story

The Shining Light of Ethiopia is a 501(c)(3) charity which brings educational opportunities to the children of Dongora Morocho, Ethiopia.  The inspiration for The Shining Light is Mabret Levant who was born in Dongoro Morocho and lived in Ethiopia until his adoption by Shining Light co-founders, Bob Levant and Kathy Martin, in 2008 at the age of four.  Mabret and his family returned to Ethiopia in late 2013 and spent a month in Dongora Morocho learning about the culture and reconnecting with Mabret’s birth family.

In the small Village of Dongora Morocho, the people speak a local dialect known as Sidamo.  There is no electricity and the closest water supply is approximately 2 miles.  The national language of Ethiopia is Ahmaric.  Moreover, much of the educational system in Ethiopia uses materials written in English.  In the village, there is no government-funded school so the local people are left to fend for themselves.  These circumstances leave the children of Dongora Morocho with little chance of growing into adults who might be able to leave the area and seek employment in the larger and more developed areas of Ethiopia.  The language barrier alone is nearly insurmountable.  In essence, the people of this area are locked-out of their own country’s economy.       

During their 2013 trip, Shining Light Co-Founders Bob Levant and Kathy Martin investigated the viability of relocating Mabret’s siblings, Endris, Shemelese and Yenu, to the City of Awassa with the vision of them becoming fluent in Ahmaric and learning some English which is valued in many industries within Ethiopia.  With the blessing of the family, the children were enrolled in the BNB Academy, a private K to 12 school in Awassa.  

Six years later, Endris, Yenu and Shemelese are now fluent in Ahmaric and continue to work on their English language skills.  Endris recently obtained his driver’s license and works in the City of Awassa.  The children return to their village frequently and are a beacon for all local kids.  The Shining Light of Ethiopia was founded to provide the same opportunities to other children of Dongora Morocho.   

For information on contributing to the education of these deserving children please visit our fundraising page or click donate.

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