The Power of a Positive Spirit: Mewael’s Journey

When Mewael was 19 years old, he was in a car accident with some of his college friends. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Then, he was called into Ethiopia’s mandatory draft. He fled for his survival.

This spring, 23-year-old Mewael was accepted as a refugee to the United States of America. With only a few weeks to prepare for his arrival from Eritrea, we scrambled to make the appropriate accommodations. His special needs made his case unusual for our staff, but by the time of his arrival in late March, we were ready to welcome him with open arms. Mewael’s aunt, uncle, and cousin joined our staff at the airport for a warm welcome to Virginia.

From the moment he arrived, Mewael was ready to embark on his bright new journey, providing us copies of his documents and making sure we had everything we needed to help him prepare for the future ahead. He never stopped smiling, handed out hugs like candy, and without speaking a word, we knew that this opportunity meant everything to him.

Mewael has not allowed his paraplegia to hinder his road to self-sufficiency. Our staff and community have worked together to ensure he had a new wheelchair, ramp, and various other medical equipment. Today, we pass along Mewael’s appreciation to the abundance of volunteers and donors who have aided in the makings of his own American Dream.

Mewael told us that, for some time after the accident, he did not want any pictures taken of him. He did not want to be reminded of the pain he endured in his past. But because of you, he is stronger, healthy, and hopeful. And he is no longer shying away from the camera!

Special Note: We are looking to move Mewael and his sister’s family out of their aunt’s small family apartment. Please contact Rosie at if you or someone you know may have a handicapped accessible in-law suite or basement for rent. 

Mewael Mehari Photo

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