Teka was just nine years old when imagine1day staff arrived at his school and asked him a question he had never considered before: What is your vision for your life?

“I said I wanted to be a doctor when I grow up and discover a cure for HIV,” says Teka.

Fast forward 10 years and Teka is in his first year of university, studying to be a doctor.

A portrait of Teka, smiling.

Today, Teka is in his first year of university, studying to be a doctor

Teka was a Grade 4 student at one of the very first schools imagine1day worked with: Wazza, in Northern Ethiopia. He has achieved incredible success over the last decade, finishing top-of-his-class throughout primary school and achieving a 94.4 mark in his Grade 8 final exam – a record in his region. The recipient of an imagine1day high school scholarship, Teka continued his achievements: gaining all As during his four years of secondary school.

Teka laughs slightly when he recalls setting his goal: “At the time, I was very young. I didn’t think to actually achieve it. I just spoke automatically. When they asked me I just spoke from the heart.”

Yet the goal has guided him since, and he responds with an emphatic “yes” when asked if he still aims to accomplish it. “There are so many attempts to get the cure for HIV, but if these people haven’t got the cure before me, it’s something I want to achieve.”

Teka is one of five children, the son of a rural farming family. His father has just four years of education, his mother, still illiterate today, has none. “It was tough, but we were not in absolute poverty. We had our very basic needs covered. We had enough crops to eat.”

His school was basic too: “There weren’t enough classrooms and there weren’t enough facilities; no library, no latrines.”

Yet, through imagine1day’s teacher training, school supplies and leadership development, Wazza emerged as a model school for the entire region.

Teka says education hasn’t just been a pathway for his success, but is one for the entire country.

“Ethiopia was once a great kingdom. Yet without the advancement of education it has become underdeveloped. If I wasn’t educated, I may be a goat farmer. So education places a great role in the life of Ethiopians. We Ethiopians will only change our life through learning.”