Lale Labuko

Agent of Change, Cofounder of Omo Child

About Lale Labuko

A student and humanitarian working for social reform in his native Ethiopia, Lale Labuko divides his time between undergraduate coursework at Hampshire College and responsibilities at Omo Child. Born and raised in the remote Omo River Valley, Lale Labuko experienced little of the outside world as a child of the Kara, one of several tribes in the region that follow ancient customs and traditions. During adolescence, Mr. Labuko learned that one such practice, mingi, requires the sacrifice of infants and toddlers deemed “cursed” by tribal elders to avert drought, famine, and other natural disasters. After witnessing one child ripped from her mother and taken to die in the wilderness, Mr. Labuko made it his mission to end the practice once and for all.

His introduction to life beyond tribal customs came via boarding school, to which he traveled 65 miles on foot. With no prior understanding of written language, Lale Labuko returned to his village determined to teach others what he had learned, opening and running a primary school in the early 2000s. Mr. Labuko also embarked on what became an intertribal campaign to save cursed children and place them with loving caregivers. Cofounding Omo Child in 2008, he has since built a home for these children and, most recently, led the abolishment of mingi in his tribe. To read in-depth coverage of his work at Omo Child, visit

Three Ways to Support Omo Child

A longtime nonprofit executive with considerable experience in the United States and beyond, Lale Labuko currently serves as cofounder of Omo Child. As an organizational leader with the international nonprofit, Lale Labuko oversees the daily operations of a 37-child orphanage in Jinka, Ethiopia. Here is a quick look at three ways to support Omo Child.

Donate: Omo Child welcomes tax-deductible donations of all sizes, which it uses to fund all aspects of care for the children in its orphanage. Donors can also honor a special person in their lives with a tribute or a memorial gift.

Volunteer: Omo Child relies heavily on its diverse volunteer team, which plays a vital role in its international operations. The majority of volunteer opportunities with Omo Child take place at its offices in San Diego, California.

Spread the word: By sharing Omo Child’s posts on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, supporters can raise awareness of the organization’s mission.

Hampshire College Receives 2015 Community Engagement Classification

An advocate and humanitarian, Lale Labuko is cofounder of the Omo Child Foundation, an organization that rescues and fosters children at risk of infanticide in the Omo Valley of Southwest Ethiopia. Lale Labuko has further increased awareness about infanticide in the Omo Valley by founding the Omo Child Club at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, where he is pursuing a degree in African studies/economics and environmental studies.

In a recent press release, Hampshire College announced that it earned the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Universities and colleges that earn the classification have been recognized for their demonstrated engagement in the community and support of essential community agendas. According the Hampshire College press release, the community engagement classification is based on a rigorous application process that requires institutions to document evidence of community engagement through community partnerships, curriculum, and outreach programs.

The Community Engagement Classification process takes place every five years, and 240 academic institutions received the classification in the 2015 round. Out of the nation’s 4,000 degree-granting academic institutions, Hampshire is among just 360 schools with the classification.

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