Lifestyle & Belief

Hannah Godefa, Ethiopian-born teen, named UNICEF ambassador


Hannah Godefa shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino looks on Dec. 13, 2012, at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario.


Prime Minister's Office

Ethiopian-born Hannah Godefa is the latest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador of Human Rights for Ethiopia, the international aid agency said today.

The 15-year-old Godefa now lives near Toronto, Canada, but campaigns tirelessly to raise funds for her native land.

“I have always dreamt of helping children, but I never expected I will have such a chance,” she told “I have an important message to Ethiopian students and that is education is key to their success.”

Godefa spearheaded the international movement called Pencil Mountain in which she helped collect school supplies for Ethiopian children.

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Along with textbooks, notebooks and other supplies, she shipped 400,000 pencils to Africa.

Her philanthropy secured her a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in December before she embarked for Africa.

“Hannah exemplifies the meaning of community spirit and dedication,” Canada’s International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino said. “She continues to accomplish so much in support of those in need half way across the world.”

Also known for her campaign for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Godefa joins an elite group.

UNICEF has 30 international, 11 continental and 200 national goodwill ambassadors.

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