Media & Press




The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Awards Renewal Grant to Innovative Education and Health Program in Ethiopia



NEW YORK, February 1, 2014—The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF), a leader in the global movement to reduce health disparities, awarded a renewal grant of $15,000 to Seeds of Africa Foundation, an organization that operates the Take-Root Center, a school for underprivileged children in Adama, Ethiopia. Seeds of Africa will use the funds to expand education and health programs at the Take-Root Center.


“The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation continues to support us in our efforts fight inequality and improve the quality of education and access to health services for our students and their families,” said Founder and Executive Director Atti Worku. “We are proud to partner with such a renowned organization committed to improving the health of communities around the world.”


Seeds of Africa began as an after-school program in 2008 in a backyard classroom of makeshift desks, benches, and a free-standing chalkboard. Now, it has grown into a full-time school and community landmark serving 75 children between the ages of 3 to 14 and 25 single mothers who participate in literacy, financial planning, and health workshops at the Take-Root Center. Students and their parents attend programs free of charge, and students receive uniforms, school meals, supplies, and regular health screenings.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation promotes health equity and works to improve the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious health conditions. Through its efforts to alleviate the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, BMSF funds programs ranging from HIV/AIDS comprehensive care and treatment to memory projects for children who lost parents to AIDS, income generation for grandparents caring for orphaned children, and programs like Seeds of Africa’s education and community development.


With the philosophy that empowerment and good health stem from quality education, Seeds of Africa recognizes students’ individual talents and cultivates critical thinking and leadership skills. Take-Root Center educators design learning “experiences” or integrated projects that add to students’ hands-on knowledge in multiple subjects and foster self-reflection and active classroom participation—a unique approach in the landscape of Ethiopian educational opportunities. Through health workshops and projects for both students and their families, Seeds of Africa emphasizes positive health practices such as maintaining good hygiene (hand-washing and teeth-brushing) and emotional health, eating nutritious foods, and visiting the Take-Root Center nurse for routine screenings.

“The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has made a positive impact in communities facing dire health situations,” said Ms. Worku. “We are contributing to this work by providing health education classes to our students and their parents so they can succeed in the classroom and in the world. We believe that preventative health services are essential in improving the health and well-being of our community.”




Based in New York City, Seeds of Africa seeks to create a self-sustaining model for education and community development that can be replicated in other African communities. Beginning in Ethiopia, Seeds of Africa educates and nurtures gifted children, young adults, and communities with support that meets basic needs, an innovative curriculum and community development programs. The organization moves beyond the traditional aid model, shifting from mere relief efforts to giving students, families and communities the skills they need to support themselves and rise above poverty.





Contact: Dee Dee Mozeleski, 914-216-9797