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RMS Student Helps Raise $35,000 for Ethiopia

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RMS Student Helps Raise $35,000 for Ethiopia

You would be hard-pressed to find another seventh-grader who has done as much public speaking as Kuulii. A student at Richfield Middle School, Kuulii has been speaking at gatherings, fundraisers and events to raise awareness of the need for medical supplies in Ethiopia. 

At the most recent fundraiser, she recorded a video to help try to raise $70,000 to ship medical supplies to Ambo University Hospital through the Oromia Rural Health Initiative network. Out of the $70,000 goal, they were able to raise $35,000. Kuulii’s dad is one of the founders of the Oromia Rural Health Initiative, which was created to help access healthcare and education in the rural parts of Ethiopia where medical care is scarce. 

“I am passionate about this issue because it is deeply rooted in my culture and community,” explained Kuulii. “I am fluent in the Oromo language and was taught about my culture from a young age by my parents.”

When Kuulii visited Ethiopia with her family when she was eight years old, her sister fell ill and had to be taken to the local hospital. The conditions shocked Kuulii and her family, who experienced how overcrowded and underfunded the hospitals were. 

“There was a severe lack of medical supplies and equipment,” said Kuuli. “The conditions were a big difference from what I was used to. Even today, there are no heaters in delivery rooms and no incubators for newborns. The shortage of medicine, equipment and beds is alarming. In the ICU, babies up to three or four have to share beds due to the scarcity. This issue is close to my heart, and I am determined to make a difference in my community through education and my voice. I believe that I can bring about positive change.”

To work toward her goal of making a difference and spreading awareness about the medical situation in Ethiopia, Kuulii speaks at various fundraisers and events. Most of her speeches are around healthcare, education, culture and human rights in Ethiopia. The Oromo Youth Association, which is a group of students at the University of Minnesota that promotes education surrounding Ethiopia’s culture, reached out to Kuulii to speak at a gathering after seeing her speak at other events. 

Other events Kuulii has spoken at include a memorial event at Fridley High School for the famous Oromo singer Hachaluu Hundessa. The Hachuluu Foundation and the Oromo community of Minnesota invited Kuulii to speak. 

“This was a dark time for the Oromo community worldwide, as Hachaluu was not only an artist and singer but also an activist who was assassinated by an unknown person,” explained Kuulii. 

She also has presented countless times at many Oromo festivals called Ireecha, which is a Thanksgiving-type celebration for the Oromo people held twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. 

“These events are held to express gratitude for the blessings we have received,” explained Kuulii. “In my speeches at these events, I talk about education, culture and human rights and encourage people to speak their language and embrace their culture. More than a thousand people attend Ireecha in Minnesota each year, and millions attend in Ethiopia.”

Through her work, Kuulii plans to continue speaking out to ensure people everywhere learn about the economic and health challenges that the Ethiopian/Oromo people are facing. 

“Many problems and crises are occurring around the world that we are completely unaware of,” said Kuulii. “It’s a privilege to live in America. I want everyone to know how fortunate we are, and keep in mind that not everyone in the world is as lucky.”

We are proud of Kuulii for making a difference and can’t wait to see what she does in the future. To learn more about the Oromia Rural Health Initiative, you can check out their website.

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