Berchi’s very first steps

Berchi is a feminine Amharic word for ‘courage’.

Berchi is an everyday word used to comfort, encourage and even congratulate.

Berchi also happens to be the name of an initiative birthed out of a desire to support young female students in universities achieve academic excellence and also access opportunities that will fast track their success both in and out of school.

In its very first meet and greet event held at Addis Ababa University on 16 May 2015, Berchi brought together a network of peer volunteers who shared personal experiences with students from various disciplines currently enrolled at the university. 

A student talks about school to one of Berchi's volunteers
A student talks about school to one of Berchi’s volunteers

During this first meet & greet event, students and mentors tackled the question ‘what does it take to succeed?’ It certainly did not take long for the hall to be filled with excited and lively conversations on the topic. In the end, students happily reported to have learned from the experience about setbacks such as fear of failing and speaking in public through constantly building self-confidence.

Berchi will continue to work closely with Addis Ababa Univerisity’s Gender Office in organizing similar events in the near future.

Thanks to all of Berchi‘s volunteers: Amanda Spiegelberg, Erin Sullivan, Hilina Berhanu, Jimmitti Teysir, John Steelman, Sewit Haileselassie, Temar Seife, Tigist Urgessa and Zenash Degefa as well as all of the students who attended this very first meet & greet event; not forgetting Addis Ababa University Gender Office staff who worked very hard to make the event a success.


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