Fortuitous opportunities have enabled Yemin Orde graduate, Endalow Takele, to achieve his dreams.
As a 13-year-old, Endalow Takele and his family took the opportunity to leave Ethiopia and move to Israel for a better life. They lived in an absorption center in Beersheva and, two years later, another opportunity opened for Endalow at Yemin Orde Youth Village, where he learned Hebrew and how to navigate life in his new homeland.
“At Yemin Orde, everyone really cared about me. I learned to study hard and even stayed in school during our breaks. I understood that my teachers were willing to do whatever was needed to help me,” Endalow said.
Along with his studies, Endalow participated in volunteer activities in the nearby communities and joined Yemin Orde’s running club, where he learned teamwork, discipline and worked on his running and track skills such as speed, endurance and agility. Endalow’s successful achievements as a runner at Israel-wide competitions earned him a ranking as a national champion.
A dream opportunity in Kentucky
After graduating from Yemin Orde’s high school, Endalow served in Israel’s military as a paratrooper. Following military service, Western Kentucky University (WKU), in Bowling Green, KY, offered him the outstanding opportunity of a full scholarship to attend their school and join their track team.
“I just took a risk, packed my bag and went to Kentucky,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone and was still struggling a bit with my English. I was faced with adjusting to a new culture all over again.”
Slowly, Endalow made friends, adjusted to this new environment and volunteered his time organizing track events at the university.
“I remember what I was taught by Chaim Peri. He said that with more education, the more you learn. If you know other languages, then you can travel. If you understand math, you can have money in a bank account,” Endalow said. “I came to the U.S. and struggled with my English. So, in order to talk to people, I learned to speak English.”
From Kentucky to Boston, a second opportunity to study and dream
In Fall 2017, Endalow graduated from WKU with a BS in Finance. He recalls the lessons taught to him at Yemin Orde – to aim high, believe in your dreams, and have faith in yourself and your future.
“I am the first generation in my family to be a college graduate,” he said.
Today, Endalow is a graduate student at Brandeis University, near Boston, where he has the opportunity to earn a Master’s in International Economics and Finance as a Fellow of the Laurel and Orrie Friedman Fellowship for Alumni of Yemin Orde program. The fellowship program covers 100 percent funding for tuition, fees, health insurance, travel to the United States and a living stipend for the duration of the program, up to two years.
Endalow’s family lives in Bat Yam, Israel. He returns to Israel to visit twice a year to visit them. Endalow hopes for the opportunity to work in Israel’s business sector after his graduation from Brandeis.