Newham youth worker pays for Ethiopian brothers’ education

Ebenezer Teferi, 29, received £1,400 from Jack Petchey ten years ago. He pledged to pay back all the

Ebenezer Teferi, 29, received £1,400 from Jack Petchey ten years ago. He pledged to pay back all the money to help other young people in their time of need. - Credit: Archant

A youth worker has pledged £1,400 to educate two boys in Ethiopia after a grant for the same amount helped him turn his life around.

Ebenezer Teferi, 29, received £1,400 from Jack Petchey ten years ago. He pledged to pay back all the

Ebenezer Teferi, 29, received £1,400 from Jack Petchey ten years ago. He pledged to pay back all the money to help other young people in their time of need. - Credit: Archant

Ebenezer Teferi, 29, received £1,400 from Jack Petchey ten years ago. He pledged to pay back all the money to help other young people in their time of need.

Ebenezer grew up in Plaistow and saw many of his peers turn to crime, drugs, and gangs. Ebenezer, who has Ethiopian heritage, feared he would meet the same fate as he had poor grades at school and found himself working 12 hour shifts in MacDonald’s just to get by.

He grasped the opportunity to volunteer as a youth worker on the Gascoigne Estate in Barking, and was offered a place to study Youth and Community Studies at the YMCA George Williams College in Canning Town. However, he couldn’t afford the student fees and it appeared he wouldn’t be able to take up the position on the course. But then Ebenezer was given financial backing by the Jack Petchey Foundation, which enabled him to enrol.

He graduated with a 2.1 from George Williams College and worked as a senior manager in several youth centres across London. He has also set up his own printing business, and recently became involved with the Dale Carnegie Youth Program.


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Ebenezer was told by Jack Petchey to invest the funds to help people less fortunate than himself. After visiting Ethiopia for a wedding where he saw children as young as 5 begging and working on the street, Ebenezer decided to sponsor the education of two brothers Befeker Degu 12, and Yeabtega Degu, who is 7.

He said: “I have decided to invest the money in something close to my heart. With the incentive of my sponsorship, I hope Befeker and Teabtega will win scholarships to university and in turn continue to give back to their community. Jack Petchey’s good deeds are now helping people in Ethiopia.”

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