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Zebiba Shekhia

Zebiba Shekhia fled from Eritrea in 1978 to escape the atrocities being committed by the Ethiopian totalitarian dictator, Mengistu.  Travelling through the Sudan, Middle East, Europe, and landing, finally, in America, Zebiba always vowed to find a way to go back and help the women and children left behind.

She spent years trying to work with the Eritrean government in the areas of education and micro financing; however, the government denied her requests to help at every turn. Finally Saleh Meky, the Eritrean Minister of Health (her brother), told her, “You have tried your very best, but if you continue, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble, and there will be no way for me to help you. Go to the Eritrean refugee camp in Eastern Sudan. Help them. Don’t come back here.”

In 2006, Zebiba founded Healing Bridges, an organization dedicated to helping Eritrean children get the education they need—and deserve. Healing Bridges helped various schools in Kassala, Sudan, and with ARAHA (the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa), built a high-school for girls in the refugee camps in Shegerab, Sudan, at the request of the mothers. It was the first high school for girls to ever be built in the refugee camps.

Zebiba continues to help in the refugee camps in spite of ongoing health issues. She lives in Los Angeles.  Please visit

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