The Foundation

A child with special needs will inspire you to be a special person.​

Established in 2019, the Deborah Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Ethiopian youth with mental disabilities through support in the areas of education, health, and policy advocacy.

When the fourth daughter of his Excellency Abadulla Gemeda and W/ro Rahel Welde Deborah was born with Down syndrome in 2008, the family experienced many unforeseen challenges following the diagnosis.

Comprehensive care and education for disabled children was rare to find in Ethiopia. The lack of local expertise for treating and caring for children with Down syndrome was a major obstacle in the first years of Deborah’s life and continues to be so.

Today, Deborah enjoys a healthy life alongside her siblings – thanks to well-mobilized support and the faith and love of family and friends. However, many families in Ethiopia are less fortunate and struggle to provide their children diagnosed with physical and mental disabilities with the best care possible.

The foundation was created with a vision for Ethiopia by Deborah’s family: Deborah Foundation strives to make the Ethiopian health, education, and policy infrastructure more inclusive for Ethiopian youth with mental disabilities.
We are grateful for your time and support to Deborah foundation!

Our Mission

Deborah Foundation (DF) is committed in finding ways to improve the quality of life for individuals with Down Syndrome by promoting the right to live with health and dignity as valued and full citizens with in the society.

It actions to empower families through dissemination of information in the fields of early intervention, education, medicine and equal opportunity employment.

Our Vision

Educate society, government organizations, and change the system so that every person with Down Syndrome in Ethiopia:

• is protected against discrimination

• has access to medical care

• has access to educational programs

• is a valued member of society

• has the opportunity to have a job and live independently

• is able to reach their full potential and contribute within the society.


Our values express what we stand for and guide the way we engage with individuals with Down Syndrome and their families.

DIGNITY: Remain true to our mission and be honest, open, ethical, and fair.

EMPATHY: Compassion, patience and kindness in our interactions.

BOLD: Courageous in advocating for Down Syndrome rights.

OPPORTUNITY: Committed in creating opportunity.

RESOURCE: Resource for better health and education systems.

ACTION: Action to empower families and individuals with Down Syndrome.

HANDS-ON: Focusing on the community to bring about hands-on change for individuals with Down Syndrome.

Board Members

Hon. Ato Abadulla Gemeda

Founder and board chairperson

Experience: Military General, Minister of Defense, president of regional state of Oromia, speaker of Ethiopian parliament.

Responsibility: fund raising, policy initiation, providing general direction on major issues and strategical leader.

Ato Abebe Girmay

Vice Chairman

Experience: Abebe Girmay is Country Director –Visa CEMEA Holdings is responsible for country management, business development and expansion as well as relationships to support business strategy by identifying and introducing innovative payment solutions in Ethiopia.

He holds Master of Science Degree in Software Engineering from HiLCoE School of Computer Science and Technology, and an MBA Business Administration from Jimma University, Ethiopia. He graduated with Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Certified International Project Manager from American Academy of Project Management (AAPM®) as well as Certified Bankcard Manager from London Business School in United Kingdom.

Responsibility: Vice Chairman-Board of Directors

Ato Tedros Kifle

Experience: Has spent majority of his 15 year career in the business development and project management sector in UK, worked at Compass group and JP Morgan/ARAMA RK. Currently Managing Director at Tedros Kiflie Company and Board Member of TEAM WALL SHARING COMPANY.

Responsibility: Construction Project Manager (Volunteer)

Ato Elias Wasihun Getahun

Experience: Has over 25 years of experience in the construction sector working in Ethiopia, specializing in interior design and finishing, he has delivered unique and quality work. He and his Italian partner and group of entrepreneurs from East Africa set up a project to connect European small and medium enterprise machinery manufacturers with East African Companies leading the project operations. 

Responsibility: Construction and facilitating technology committee

Dr. Seifu Getahun

Experience: Medical Doctor and lecturer at Black Lion hospital and visiting doctor at various private hospitals and clinics

Responsibility: Awareness creation committee

W/ro Zadigwa Tsehay

Experience: Having B.Sc degree in political science and International relations, Currently Deputy General Manager in SETS General Trading Plc

Responsibility: Fund Raising committee

W/ro Kidist G/selasie

Experience: Managing director at STEAM power, which engages in supporting science innovation and technology with particular emphasis to young people and schools

Responsibility: Fund raising committee

Menna Tafesse Garedew (MPA)

Experience: An educational background in Master of Public Administration and B.Sc. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Developmental Disabilities. Over 9 years of experience working in the international context at the Higher Education level and in the field of Child Development. Expertise includes grant writing, working as a Registered Behavior Technician for children born with Autism and Down Syndrome, and as a Special Needs Facilitator for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children with Disabilities at a Head Start Program.

Responsibility: Deborah Foundations CEO/Managing Director Board Secretary (Non-Voting Member) Fundraising Sub -Committee


Menna Tafesse Garedew, MPA CEO
Beki Abadulla COO
Lensa Moges Director of Human Capital and Learning
Feven Abebaw Director of Finance
Fenet Alemu Secretary & Receptionist
Abenet Ashagre Technology Assistant
Nibret Bizuayehu Chef and Cafeteria Manager
Genet Chernet Janitorial Service
Hirut Janitorial Service


Governmental and non-governmental organizations that work closely with us.