Birhan is the youngest of 5 children and was born and brought up in a rural area 42 km. outside Lalibela. His parents and his older brothers and sisters are illiterate.
He completed his primary education in the countryside against the wishes of his family. It was expected that he would do subsistence farming like the others. Against the family wishes, he came to Lalibela for his secondary education. He managed to get work in a tourist gift shop. He got no pay but was given bed and food. This let him complete his secondary education.
This year he has gained a place at Jimma University to study Business and Economics.
It has been agreed to give him a monthly payment of 600 birr + 2 performance related bonuses of up to 400 birr each.