Our Partners in Ethiopia

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 Tariku and Desta Kids’ Education through Tennis Development (TDKET)-Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

TDKET is the realization of a dream that  has now blossomed into a registered charitable NGO. Founded by internationally accredited tennis coaches, Tariku and Desta Tesfaye, it currently consists of 66 children, ages 5 to 16, all of whom come from impoverished backgrounds.

TDKET-Ethiopia grew out of the vision of Tariku and Desta, who themselves came from modest origins in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Their goal is to help disadvantaged children escape poverty. The objectives for the children of TDKET-Ethiopia are:

  1. To seek a high school education with the goal of attending college or university.
  2. To experience the world of tennis and explore the limits of their talent.
  3. To provide an example to other children of the value of hard work and hope.




Tariku Tesfaye                                  Brothers in arms                                   Desta Tesfaye

Tesfaye means “hope” in Amharic, one of the native tongues from the highlands of Ethiopia. The brothers Tesfaye, Tariku and Desta, have certainly lived up to their name. They have come a long way since their days as ball boys at the Addis Ababa Tennis Club.

Their love for tennis paid off as the brothers slowly climbed through the tennis ranks, with the pinnacle of their playing careers being chosen to represent Ethiopia, Tariku in the Davis Cup and Desta at the Africa Junior Championships.

Both Desta and Tariku moved to full-time coaching as their international tennis careers began to fade. “We began to feel terribly frustrated,” says Tariku. “We had started from nowhere. We felt we were going backwards and after such a long fight to the top we sensed there had to be more than just being involved in tennis for personal gain.”

It was this appreciation of their humble origins that sparked the idea of helping children from a similar background. By this stage, they had both  moved to the Olympicos Club as head coaches, and it was here they proposed setting up a tennis program within the club to coach and mentor disadvantaged local children. The club agreed, and the project was initiated in 2003 and continued to be located there until 2010.

They soon realized, however, that their dream would falter if the sole dimension was tennis. With this in mind they introduced tutoring in English to accompany the kids’ everyday public schooling. Volunteers were sought from local and overseas sources and the education component soon became an equal partner in the children’s development. To such an extent that three of the original 12 tennis kids’ are, through sponsorship, currently attending an International School in Addis Ababa, (a private English language secondary school featuring a U.S. based curriculum).  Today, several of the original group of children are attending college in Ethiopia, and one of them–Yonas Gebre–is studying at Lewis and Clark State College in Idaho.

To view their website use this link: http://goo.gl/AQhJY7

Read more about Yonas Gebre’s story here