About us


Ras Alula Development Association, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, was founded in 2005 and has grown to more than 100 members living in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. All of our members formerly lived in Ethiopia’s Tembien Region. The organization’s primary goal is to build schools and learning centers to make education more accessible to the region’s residents.


Ras Alula Development Association’s mission is to alleviate the socioeconomic problems of the Tembien people through the development of sustainable programs and educational opportunities.


We seek to help the people of Ethiopia’s Tembien Region in their fight against chronic poverty, epidemics of HIV/AIDS and recurring drought and famine. By creating accessible educational opportunities, they will gain the necessary knowledge to meet these challenges effectively.

About Our Name

220px-alula_engidaOur organization is named after Alula Abba Nega, who was born and raised in the Tembien Region. He became an important general and leader who successfully fought against European Colonization of Ethiopia in the 19th Century. To the people who reside in the Tembien Region, he represents the tenacity and fortitude required to overcome the devastating effects of climate variability, hunger and extreme poverty.

About The Tembien Region

The Tembien Region is one of Ethiopia’s historical provinces. During reforms in the mid 1990s, provinces were replaced with regions, zones and woredas. Today, the mountainous area of the former province is split over the woredas of Dogua Tembien and Kola Tembien.

It is one of the neediest, most neglected, and least developed regions in north central Ethiopia. More than 85 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Small-scale farmers, who are already marginalized, bear the brunt of the negative impact of climate change in the region, which includes increased poverty, water scarcity and food insecurity.

Educational opportunities are nearly non-existent for people living in this region. Some availability exists for primary school education for children ages 7-12, but accessing educational opportunities past primary school age is extremely difficult. Students attempting to attend school beyond the age of 12 must walk one to two hours each way to attend classes.