| United States Team
Born and raised in Rome, Italy, Marco Guzzardo came to the United States at the age of 18 to continue his education.
University at Old Dominion University was completed with a Business Degree in Marketing along with a Fashion education at Instituto di Moda a Roma.
Marco began his humanitarian work 14 years ago when he supported 4 children in different countries through the Children International Foundation.
6 years ago, Marco formed a 501C called Help a Life Foundation whose purpose is to house and educate adolescent orphan girls in Ethiopia. He has chosen to dedicate his time, talent, and resources to Help a Life Foundation, an endeavor envisioned after his first trip to Ethiopia in 2007. Traveling the country for eight days - going from village to village - Marco witnessed first hand the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS and malaria on the country leaving it with over 4.5 million orphans.
While in Ethiopia, Marco developed plans to initiate his own non-profit and partnered with the Anti-Malaria Association (AMA), an Ethiopian NGO. The team hired a local architect and engineer to draw up blueprints and a budget for the agreed upon endeavor named "Project Blue".
The plans were submitted to officials in Debre Markos (a semi-rural town in east-central Ethiopia) where the project was granted 25 acres of land to build schools and dormitories for girls orphaned mostly by HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The first Learning Center was completed in 2010. The first group of15 orphan girls were selected and began the 4 years of High school/4 years of University program. In 2011, Help a Life became an Ethiopian NGO which allowed Help a Life to fully operate their project independently in Ethiopia. A large building compound was leased and renovated in 2012. We have 16 bedrooms/6 bathrooms and are able to house 65 girls comfortably.
Self sustaining projects have been Marcoo?=o?=s dream for many years. He believes in teaching people how to run their own lives through education. A 1000 Poultry Project is operating and generating a profit that goes directly towards the operating expenses of the group home. Another operational project is a Hammer Grain Mill. The grain is purchased from the local farmers and grinded in our Hammer Mill and used for the poultry farm along with being bagged and sold in the local market.
Marco oversees a staff of 16 volunteers in the United States whose skills and talents range from Grant Writing to Event planning plus a staff of 7 Ethiopians working on the project in Ethiopia. 3 events per year are becoming the staple for income for the Ethiopian orphan girl project. Private sponsors along with fashion sample sales every other month have supplemented the income from events to allow the project to grow at a rapid pace. In 2013, Marco received the prestigious o?=o?=African Goodwill Ambassadoro?=o?= from the African Focus Foundation in Los Angeles, California.
~Be the change you want to see~ (Ghandi)
Board Member/Ethiopia project coordinator and Secretary
Selam was born and raised in Ethiopia where she completed her schooling and received a degree in accounting from Addis Ababa Business College.
After earning her degree, Ms. Alemu moved to Italy to further her education where she lived for two years and developed a passion for travel and interest in differing cultures. With great desire to become an entrepreneur in the travel and tourism business and introduce the world to her beloved Ethiopia, Ms. Alemu established her own travel agency, Selam Travel and Tour International.
Selam strongly believes in the power of education for young girls to achieve self-sufficiency as adults and as one of the most important investments that can be made in Ethiopia.
She currently lives in Los Angeles and was one of the first individuals help to make the Help a Life Foundation a reality. She presently is a Board member of Help a Life Foundation. Ms. Alemu also serves as a board member for the Agar Youth Foundation, whose mission is to develop Ethiopian-American youth with positive values, self-esteem, and civic participation. She also serves as secretary for the board of the African Travel and Tour Association.
In her spare time, Selam loves cooking, music, and travel.
Board Member/Legal Attorney for Help a Life Foundation
Liliana has a background in estate planning, closely-held businesses and non-profit organizations. She is an attorney now practicing those bodies of law in addition to immigration, criminal and family law.
Prior experience includes a one-year internship at the City of Burbank City Attorney's Office where she conducted misdemeanor court trials and assisted Deputy City Attorneys in the prosecutorial process.
Thereafter, Ms. Gallelli completed a one-year internship with the international law firm, Noronha-Advogados, where she worked on international transactions. ??Ms. Gallelli earned a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature from California State University Northridge and a Juris Doctor degree from University of La Verne Law School. While in law school, Ms. Gallelli distinguished herself as a Staff Writer of the university's Law Review and one of her unique articles has since been referenced by the Stanford Law & Policy Review.
Professional affiliations include the American Immigration Lawyers Association and California Women Lawyers. Ms. Gallelli is an active Director of the Help A Life Foundation, Inc. She previously served on the board of the San Luis Obispo Literacy Council and volunteered at the San Luis Obispo Women's Shelter as counsel to battered women.
Board Member/Finance and Treassurer of Help a Life Foundation USA
Born and raised in Ethiopia, Tigist migrated to the United States to further her education where she completed an undergraduate degree in International Business and Economics. Over time, she has discovered that her passion in life is to care for and assist vulnerable children in Africa to live dignified and fulfilled lives. She has been an advocate for human rights and equal opportunities in education and health care, specifically working to ensure that women and girls have a voice.
In 2008, Ms. Goshu joined the Help a Life Foundation team, believing strongly in its approach of educating girls in Ethiopia and for its inspiring message to "help create a better world. one village at a time".
Currently employed in a Los Angeles based NGO, Relief International, Tigist is living her dream of assisting children in Africa to enjoy better access to health care and education, regardless of socio-economic status. She believes that the education of girl children is one of the strongest investments that can be made in Africa, one that can transform the continent from the bottom up. She has volunteered with numerous organizations including the African Women's Coalition, Mercy Corps, relief efforts for the homeless in Washington, D.C.and has provided volunteer counseling for immigrant women in Portland, Oregon. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, dancing, researching, and meeting people from all cultures.
||Hillina Solomon Gebreyohannes
Board Member/Program Coordinator for United States Program
Hillina was born and raised in Ethiopia. She graduated from Addis Ababa school of Technology with a degree in Electrical Computer Engineering and worked for 2 years for Neuromedss as a technical engineer in Addis Ababao?=o?=s largest hospital. She has recently received a scholastic scholarship from the Rotary International to get her Masters in Technology Based Education at California State University in the United States.
Her introduction to humanitarian work began at the university where she participated in a Gender and Leadership program and trained other female students in womeno?=o?=s rights.
In 2011, Hillina joined the Help a Life Foundation team in Ethiopia and became the Project Manager for the orphan girl academy project in Debre Markos.
Her work was very wide range from managing the operation of the house, monitoring the girlo?=o?=s tutorial, recruiting staff, selecting the girls from remote areas, being HALFo?=o?=s representative with the community and local officials, organizing and monitoring all the office files into the group house computer system including setting up the computer lab to setting up the monthly/annual budgets on excel and being the liason between the US headquarters and the project in Debre Markos, Ethiopia.
Hillina came to the US in August of 2013 and has become the Project Coordinator for Help a life Foundation.
Help a Life Ethiopia:
||Avinor Alemu Goshu
Director for Ethiopia Operations
Avinor was born in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. He graduated high school at 18 and earned a Degree in Pharmacy at 20. He did his residency in a very remote area of Ethiopia where he experienced poverty and the will to survive on the most basic level. This life changing experience has affected him to the point he now devotes a good percentage of his free time in different educational and developmental activities for the poverty stricken in Ethiopia.
He has taken different courses and training in management, sales and marketing on a collegiate level and has served as a Board Member of a local NGO's, Save your Generation. This NGO focuses on youth health and education.
Avinor Join Help a Life Foundation in 2008 as the Ethiopian Director of Operations.
Currently employed with Bayer Pharmaceuticals as medicinal advisor and sales representative for Ethiopia.
Executive Director for Project Blue in Debre Markos
Born in Debre Markos, Ethiopia, Tsion Siyum graduated from Bahir Dar University in 2003 (EC) with a Bachelor's Degree in Folklore(Cultural Study). While in university, she was involved in several different activities including the peer education of women. She took a great interest in this and upon graduating, she began working for a government agency where she managed programs put in place for women and children within the city of Debre Markos.
Tsion is very invested in providing help to those who need it the most and she especially loves working with women and children and has thus focused her career around this. It was this desire to work with closely with such a vulnerable demographic that sparked her interest in Help a Life Foundation.
Assisant Project Manager of Project Blue
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Meheret Woubishet graduated with a degree in Sociology from Addis Ababa University. Always an avid volunteer, she participated extensively with a local organization called Rotaract club of Rao?=o?=ey where she served as both Secretary and President.
In addition to this, Meheret has volunteered at a UK-based international organization titled VSO where she specifically worked with o?=o?=Chilanchil Child and Youth Development Associationo?=o?= to help victims of commercial sex trade, including orphans and vulnerable children.
With an ever-present passion to help others and create a better world for those who are economically and socially marginalized, Meheret has dedicated her career to volunteer work within the area of development. It is with this background that she joins Help a Life Foundation.
In her extensive career, she has worked on different projects including teaching English to selected students for summer programs, helping raise awareness about HIV/AIDS to commercial sex workers and volunteering at the Taekwondo Club by providing training for those who could not afford it.
Currently, Meheret is working with Help a Life Foundation as the Assistant Project Manager. As such, she assists with the projects and their development. In addition, she teaches English during the Summer and provides tutorials as needed.
Business Manager for Poultry Project in Debre markos, Ethiopia
Born and raised in Shebel Berenta, Ethiopia. Currently, she is attending Agriculture College through the Help a Life education program in Debre Markos, Ethiopia. She has recently been selected and trained for the Poultry Project at Debre Zeit poultry Farm and has attended seminars at the Ethio Poultry Expo. Through these experiences, she has developed the many business connections with suppliers, merchants and the town Agricultural office to successfully manage the Poultry Project.
Sewhareg Alemayhu was born and raised in the city of Amanueal in Ethiopia. She earned her diploma in Secretarial Science and Office Management at Washera Broad View College. She has been a part of Help a Life Foundation for three years and is currently pursuing her Bacheloro?=o?=s Degree in Business Management at Admas University.
Sewhareg joined Help a Life Foundation in the ninth grade as a recipient of one of the outgoing scholarships. It was through Help a Life that she gained access to all the education and experience she has acquired over the years.
She is currently happily employed as an Accountant at HALF and through this position, she strives to make each project a success because she hopes to see many orphan girls like herself achieve success.