Press Release


Senait Mareligne, Director



LOUISVILLE, KY – May 18, 2011

A campaign to provide students in orphanages and low-income families in Ethiopia and other developing countries has called on schools in Louisville, KY to get involved in the cause.

UniKids, a not-for-profit organization founded by native Ethiopian and Louisville resident Senait Mareligne, collects gently used and new school supplies and books from area schools and ships to Ethiopia, The Gambia, and other developing countries.

Many families struggle to equip their children with the necessary school supplies they need to pursue their education. They face difficulty to even buy the children the basic paper, pen, and pencil. However, the children are committed as they get up every morning and go to school.

UniKids goal is to boost these students learning desire by adding color and excitement to their learning experience. Our goal is for each student to have crayons, coloring pencils, coloring papers, markers, etc at their disposal and help them expand their imagination.

School supplies collection drive is going on through out the month of May to engage as many schools as possible before the end of the school year. So far, six area schools are committed to involve their students in the drive and donate school supplies and books.

The goal is to reach to ten schools where UniKids will be able to collect enough supplies to support about 500 students in orphanages and low-income families in Ethiopia.

For more information, call 502.235.8682 or visit

Find us on UniKids Face book Page.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony at IUS

A year ago, I met Kimberly Pelle through our common friend Grace Pau. Since she learned about UniKids, Kim has been finding ways to collect school supplies and raise funds to help us reach our goals.

In the fall of last year, she already rallied her co-workers at Indiana University Southeast (IUS) to collect boxes of school supplies and to raise about $250. She donated these to UniKids on behalf of the Adult Students’ Center at IUS.

With Yvonne Bagshaw and Kimberly Pelle

Kim’s enthusiasm to help UniKids continued this year. Along with her colleague Yvonne Bagshaw, Kim dedicated a table for UniKids to collect school supplies and raise funds.

In addition, as part of the University’s International week, Kim invited me to present Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony to the Adult Student Center on November 14, 2012.

I brought in with me the traditional coffee display along with the coffee pot, roasted barley and even popcorn just the way it is presented in Ethiopia. We brewed Ethiopian coffee and used the clay pot to serve. The students enjoyed the whole process, which traditionally will take about an hour or so. They experienced coffee drinking from a small cup called Siniy and learned the process of drinking in three steps, namely, Abol, Tona, & Bereka. The adult students had many questions to ask while enjoyed authentic Ethiopian coffee.


Kim pouring coffee

Kim learned quickly and became a professional at pouring coffee from the pot.

It was such a great experience to everyone who participated and it was such a pleasure for me to be able to share my culture with such a great crowd. I look forward to next year’s event…what could the theme be?

A big thank you to Kim and Yvonne for their continued support. A great thank you also to those who donated school supplies, made monetary donation, and participated at the coffee ceremony.

Senait Mareligne

Ethiopian Folk Tale: THE GREEDY DOG

For generations, Ethiopian stories such as this, with their perceptive wit and useful lessons, have been used to entertain and instruct young children.

I am sharing these folk-tales from the collection of stories by author Shlomo Bachrach, 1967. 

A folk tale always starts with the teller saying “Teret Teret” and the kids saying “YeLam Beret“.

The Greedy Dog

Tadesse lived near the town of Ambo. He lived with his parents. He took care of his father’s sheep. Every day, he took the sheep to the field. His dog went with him. The dog was a good companion. He was very helpful. He helped Tadesse take care of the sheep. In the morning, the dog helped take the sheep to the field. In the evening, he helped bring the sheep home. The dog was a good worker, but he was also very greedy. He wanted everything for himself. 

One day, the dog stole some meat from the house. He ran away with it. Soon he came to a river. Over the river there was a bridge. As the dog crossed the bridge, he looked down at the water. He noticed his reflection in the water. He thought that it was another dog with more meat. At first, he was frightened by it. Then the greedy dog wanted the other piece of meat. He jumped into the water to get it. When he jumped into the water, he dropped his own piece of meat. He couldn’t find the other dog or the other piece of meat in the water.

“Oh!” he said. “It was a trick. There is nothing here.” Then he said happily, “I still have my own piece of meat.”

He looked for it but it was gone. “Now I have nothing,” he cried. In this way the dog learned a lesson. It is not good to be greedy.

The End!

Senait Mareligne

School Supplies Collection – Our Savior Lutheran School

The fun of collecting school supplies has begun…

After the Mayor Give-a-Day week kick-off in April, we continued to build a relationship with more schools so students can donate their gently used and new school supplies. Our first stop was Our Savior Lutheran School. This is the school where both my kids went until grade 8. They adored their teachers and the community. OSLS teachers and staff have always been supportive of UniKids and each year, I have been stopping by the last day of school to collect what the students donated.

Students in the Philippines – 2016 school supplies recipients

Today, even if it was raining, Gilles (my other half) and I went to the school to collect while the students are gathered at the chapel for their graduation ceremony with family. The hallway was quiet as we pushed the cart from classroom to classroom. We finished our collect by the 7th-grade classroom. 8th-grade students normally are gone (already graduated) and they don’t seem to have a thing left to donate 🙂

The amount donated this year, I have to say, is quite low for a couple of reasons, I think. One is that I forgot to drop off labeled boxes in each classroom ahead of time and two, the fact that I am not an OSLS parent anymore, I didn’t get a chance to personally rally the teachers to make time to help with the donation. However, beggars don’t choose and I am grateful for the amount donated. Next year, I will be better prepared as I know for sure that OSLS students are givers and they will do more if prompted well. I want to thank the principal, Mr. Wrucke, the school office administrator Tracy Hannon, all the teachers, students, and parents.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Senait Mareligne


For generations, Ethiopian stories such as this, with their perceptive wit and useful lessons, have been used to entertain and instruct young children.

I am sharing these folk tales from the collection of stories by author Shlomo Bachrach, 1967.
Enjoy. Senait Mareligne


Once a young crocodile and a monkey lived near the Awash River. The monkey was very small and the crocodile was very big. These two animals were good friends. The monkey lived near the bank in a big tree, and the crocodile lived in the river and on the bank. 
These animals did many things together. If the crocodile wanted to play, he said to the monkey on the bank, ‘ Come and play in the water.’

When the monkey wanted to ride on the water, the crocodile let him ride on his back. The monkey often brought bananas to the crocodile as a present.

One day the king of the crocodiles became ill. The crocodile doctor came to examine him. He told the king that the only medicine that would cure him was a monkey’s heart.

The king knew that the young crocodile and the monkey were friends. He called the crocodile and said, ‘I need a monkey’s heart. You are the only one who can get it for me.’

The young crocodile went away sadly. He did not want to hurt his friend, but he had to help his king. At last, he went to meet the monkey.

‘Come and ride on my back,’ he said to the monkey. ‘We will go out into the deepest part of the river.’

So the monkey got on his back. He trusted the crocodile. They went out into the middle of the river. Then the crocodile said to his friend, ‘I am sorry, but the crocodile king needs a monkey’s heart to make him well. I must take yours now.’

The monkey was very surprised, but he thought quickly, and then he said to the crocodile, ‘My friend, monkey’s don’t carry their hearts with them. They keep their hearts at home. Take me home and I will get mine for you.

So the crocodile came back to the shore with the monkey. When they got there the monkey jumped off the crocodile’s back and ran to his tree. As he ran, he shouted back to the crocodile, ‘You tried to trick me, so I tricked you. Goodbye, old friend.’

Then the crocodile swam away, thinking about the clever monkey. He was happy because he didn’t have to hurt his old friend.