Abebech's Mortal, Her Legacy Lives Immortally

Jul 10 , 2021
By Eden Sahle

The way we see ourselves shapes us, influencing how we invest our time and money, use our talents, and value others. For Abebech Gobena, a woman of grace and unwavering generosity, it was to put her life in the dedication of the benefit of others.

The personal story of Abebech was put to an end by the tragedy that is the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to leave a massive scar in our history. Her passing is a potent reminder of the human cost of COVID-19 and how it continues to take without mercy the best and kindest amongst us.

Abebech, endearingly known as the Mother Teresa of Ethiopia (or Africa, in some circles), is a remarkable woman whose inspiring self-giving career touched many of us. Her life was dominated by her charitable actions of giving a home to many children and young people without anyone to care for them. Her philanthropic ambition and the institution she founded, AGOHELMA, one of the oldest orphanages in Ethiopia, provides a loving home to hundreds of children.

While there is a natural generosity in each one of us, for some like Abebech, the giving runs deep. Her extraordinary life is proof that giving brings us more lasting joy than any material or career success can. Her bravery and determination, which began with adopting two children, changed thousands of lives over three decades.

Kindness is often the key to a fulfilled and stable life and personal growth. Devoting our time or resources to helping the vulnerable, rather than accumulating more and more for ourselves, brings us lasting well-being and happiness. In the little things we have done here and there, we have experienced the glimpse of this joy. Imagine how Abebech must have felt.

Abebech started giving when she had little for herself, teaching us it is not how much we give that matters but how determined and persistent we are to share. One of the noble characteristics we learn from Abebech’s incredible life is that we have it in each of us to think outside of ourselves and our own needs to help care for another person and their needs. The incredible sense of hope, strength, and creativity she instilled in many will be her lasting legacy.

We are all mortal. The difference is what we do with our time on this planet. That should lead us to try to make the most out of our lives. Indeed, there are many doing this right now. If we look closely, the country does not lack role models for anyone willing to learn. We need to continue in their footsteps to lead a meaningful life that also considers the good of others. People should be competitive and look out for their own interests, but there is always so much space left to give and care about society.

No doubt, Abebech took things a step further, a length far removed than many of us are willing to go or ever will in our lifetimes. She dedicated her life to a cause that did not manifest personal gain. She did not merely believe in doing good, like many of us do. She went out and lived her core beliefs and values – something many of us are unlikely ever to do. By the time she passed on after being hospitalised at St. Paul’s Hospital, at the age of 85, her influence ran deep enough for her name to be associated with kindness and giving.

Abebech's life was purpose-driven and spiritual as well as kind to others. Few have lived with example and endured as a symbol of hope for the vulnerable. In as far as legacies go, not many can claim to hold a candle to hers..

PUBLISHED ON Jul 10,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1106]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at edensah2000@gmail.com.

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