At 16 years old, B has faced challenges few of us could take on, starting with losing both parents as a young girl. She channeled her energy into school and martial arts, the latter testing her endurance, mindset and possibly being the first step in breaking her poverty cycle.


B became a gold & bronze medalist in martial arts, representing the capital city of Addis Ababa in ten different regions across Ethiopia. For months, she was fighting at a black belt level, but not allowed to wear the belt during competition. Why? B never took the official black belt test because it costs $150USD. This isn’t a priority expense when you’re living with your three sisters and household income is < $2USD/day.

B (in front) warming up before training

When I learned of this story, we asked many questions about the process and what could come from B having her black belt. In addition to competing, she would be eligible to be a teacher’s assistant at our training center if she passed her black belt test. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the number of incoming students this fall/winter.

Through our loyal supporters, who jumped in immediately to cover her belt test, B is officially a black belt competitor! We’re honored to have her on-board as a part-time teacher, to watch her continue in school AND generate a small income for her home.

I see many medals in her future. 😉

With gratitude,

Tamara & the Studio Samuel team


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