about ethiopia

Location: africa

Language: amharic

Ethiopia is in the Horn of Africa, and it is a rugged, landlocked country split by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years, it’s a place of ancient culture. Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the world that uses a different calendar, called the Eritrean Calendar. It’s also one of two countries that still uses Ge’ez script, which is one of the most ancient written languages in the world. The cities in Ethiopia are rapidly developing and cultural pride is extremely strong among its people.

About Repi, Addis Ababa

Also known as Kore or Koshe, which means “dirty” in Amharic, this dumpsite began in 1964 and holds the trash of 5 million people living in or near the capital of Ethiopia.  About 500 people make a living at the site, which the government unsuccessfully tried to close in 2014 but could not when residents in a nearby region fought back against placing a dump on their land. In May of 2017, a landslide at the dump killed more than 113 people, according to this report in The New York Times, including one of our scholarship students and many of our scholar’s family members and friends.  A close-knit community lives near the dump, made up of families who have a loved one affected by leprosy or HIV/AIDS.

What we do here

Give Scholarships

We currently support the education of over 100 students in Ethiopia through our Step by Step program.

Fund Startups

We support entrepreneurs by raising funds for their businesses, after a business proposal and approval process.


We advocate for the individuals in these communities by bringing their stories back to the U.S.

Who we’ve impacted

Note: We are committed to respecting and uplifting our scholars. Due to some stories containing sensitive information, we redact or change the names of the scholars, their parents, their schools, and other details that could compromise their anonymity.

A Garbage Dump in Galilee?

If there were a garbage dump in Galilee 2,000 years ago, I’m confident that Jesus would have gone to it.  If you want to know what that would look like in today’s world, please watch the video below.  It captures Esther Muhia, the leader of our freshly-established mission in Kenya, looking for children with the most need or the most promise to include in our first round of 50 scholarships this fall.

Esther meeting potential scholarship students in Kenya. 

As you watch it, please keep in mind how much Esther resembles the people who did the same:
Angelica Cancinos, in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 2007.
Selam Terefe, in Ethiopia in 2014.
Erika Cuevas, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras in 2016.
Tavian Jones, in Kingston, Jamaica in 2019.
Ronia Romero, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 2019.
David Kafambe, in Kampala, Uganda in 2023.
All of these extraordinary people are still leading our mission, and all of them started the same way.  In each community, they walk the streets to meet with the parents, grandparents, school principals, health officials and others who have established themselves as leaders in the community.  The success of your investments depends on these selfless people too.

Esther speaking with a woman at the Dandora Dumping Site in Kenya.

Also, as you watch it, please know that the children you see in it today are likely to become the stars you read about years from now.  An encounter just like the ones you will see also happened to:
Akalnesh in Ethiopia who became an industrial engineer.
Elias in San Pedro Sula who became a mechanic.
Elmer in Nicaragua who became a nurse.
Micashane in Jamaica who became a doctor.
Yoselyn in Guatemala who became an accountant.

You can read about all of our graduates from the last year on our pretty spectacular new website by clicking here.
Please take one minute to watch this video.  You don’t even have to watch all seven minutes, but please watch at least one, and please pray for the children in them as you do, that they will come to discover and achieve the calling that God has on their lives far outside of the hopelessness that surrounds them now.

Watch the video here here to learn more about Esther and our mission in Kenya. 

Mike Tenbusch, IntSam President 

Mike joined IntSam in 2018 after two decades of leading social change in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. He’s a University of Michigan Law grad and author of The Jonathan Effect: Helping Kids and Schools Win the Battle Against Poverty. He and his wife, Maritza, have three children who keep them young.

A Garbage Dump in Galilee?

If there were a garbage dump in Galilee 2,000 years ago, I’m confident that Jesus would have gone to it.  If you want to know what that would look like in today’s world, please watch the video below.  It captures Esther Muhia, the leader of our freshly-established...

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One of the best of many gifts my parents gave me is my middle name, Francis, after my dad’s best friend, Francis Canfield, S.J.  Fr. Frank ran the table on the Sacraments with me. He baptized me, gave me First Communion, sponsored me at Confirmation (where I also took...

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We invest in service immersion trips with our partners because they make global issues personal. It’s one thing to read that one out of ten people in the world live on less than $2 per day. It’s another thing to have a friend who grew up working in the garbage dump to...

About Us

International Samaritan is a nonprofit organization with the designation 501(c)(3). Our headquarters is located in Ann Arbor Michigan.

(734) 222-0701

803 N Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

M-F: 9am-5pm, S-S: Closed