Webchat with Ethiopian street child aged 10 helps to raise $4m in 48 hours

Child labour, Girls' education

Meseret Tigabie is a 10-year-old Ethiopian girl. In the morning, she goes to school. In the evening, she is a working street child, selling chewing gum and tissue paper to help her family.

And now she is an internet hit. Meseret took part in a live webchat which went viral and ended up helping to raise $4million in 48 hours for Ethiopian children in need like her.

Meseret appeared from her home town of Bahir Dah on a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) – a question and answer session hosted by the social networking site.

As people from around the world sent her questions about her life, it quickly became the number one posting of the day.

Meseret – who has three brothers – told how she loved going to school. In fact, education was a key theme that kept popping up in her answers. She told how she started working at home aged six and began so-called “pity trading” on the streets last year.

The live stream was run by Belgian volunteers Bachir Boumaaza and Dries Leysen (aka Athene and Reese) through their website GamingforGood.net. Meseret’s story inspired more than $200,000 in donations – which meant Save The Children met its matching United States government grant requirement in one weekend and a total of $4million was raised.

All donations benefit Save The Children to support its maternal, newborn and child survival and nutrition programmes in Ethiopia.

Here are just some of the questions and answers from the session:

What has been your biggest challenge in life so far?

Having no pens or books for school.

How many hours a day do you spend at school? Do you have much free time and what do you do with it?

I got to school at 7 and at 12 I come back. From 12 to 5 I rest and help my family. From 5 to 9 I sell things.

What do you learn in school? What subjects do they teach?

Maths, environmental science (e.g. hygiene and sanitation), Amharic (local language), art, English.

What keeps you going? The one thing you look forward to every day?


What is your biggest dream?

To support my family.

What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?

I passed from grade 3 to grade 4.

What is the thing you most need?

Learning and attending class.

Do you have a best friend? What do you like to do together?

I have a best friend who I like and we got to school together.

You can read the full Reddit posting here. And you can learn more about Athene’s projects here

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