A heartfelt chat with Ethiopian project director Assegid Negash


On this week’s “The Way,” I welcomed an extraordinary guest and friend, Assegid Negash, who is in charge of SQ Foundation’s work in Ethiopia. It was an absolutely fascinating and moving show, in which Assegid described what it was like coming to the West for the first time during a recent trip to Ireland. As the flip side to his experience, I described my shock and dismay, many years ago, at seeing the alarming level of poverty in India.

Assegid told me about how the wealth of the West contrasts to the stark reality of life back home in Ethiopia, where day-to-day survival is the primary concern. The most important and sought-after opportunity in Africa is education. My late wife Linda met Assegrid in 2007 and became passionately committed to helping his organization, FIDA, start programs for young children who had no schooling at their disposal.

Assegid and I talked about how people in the West often fail to be grateful for all that they have. When I traveled to India for the first time, and saw the discarded children in the streets and all the poverty everywhere, I knew it was time to start giving and soon began SQ Foundation, and devoted my work as a motivational speaker and psychotherapist to fuel the humanitarian work of the charity. Service to others is service to yourself. Our separateness is just an illusion. We are all truly “one.” When we hear more about people’s experiences, such as Assegid’s impression of the West, and my time in India, we’ll realize it’s our task in this life to look after one another.

Please listen to this very special show if you missed it, by going to the downloads page. There’s much, much more to be heard and Assegid’s words will make a tremendous impression on you. Go to his website: FIDA-Ethiopia.org or SQ-Foundation.org for more information about the organization and how you can give.

– Derek O’Neill