Through a grant from the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, journalism major Merhawi Wells-Bogue ’13 spent last summer learning about the lives of homeless children in the northern Ethiopian city of Mekelle. Wells-Bogue was born in Mekelle and as a young boy worked as a street vendor there trying to support himself and his siblings after they had lost contact with their parents.
“I have learned what it feels to be a street child,” says Wells-Bogue. “I know their pain. I know what they’re going through.”
Wells-Bogue is working on a documentary film based on his research, which he hopes will raise awareness about the plight of street kids in Mekelle. His faculty mentors are professors Lisa Miller of UNH and Eden Fitsum of Mekelle University.
Wells-Bogue and his siblings eventually escaped their plight and were adopted by an American family. At age 14, Wells-Bogue moved to Grantham, New Hampshire, where he attended Lebanon High School and later followed his two older siblings to UNH.