Marta's Story


Marta Gabre-Tsadick, the first woman Senator of Ethiopia under the late Emperor Haile Selassie, was born and raised in Ethiopia. Marta came to the USA in 1954 to attend Adams State University in Colorado where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She returned to Ethiopia in 1958 and served as a Director in the Office of Ministry for Foreign Affairs until 1967. In that capacity, Marta had the privilege of accompanying international figures on their visits to Ethiopia, as well as accompanying the late Emperor Haile Selassie and his wife on their official foreign trips.

While serving as Senator in Ethiopia, Marta and her family were forced to flee the country shortly after the Communist take-over. The remarkable story of their escape is told in her book, SHELTERED BY THE KING.

In 1977, after relocating to the USA, Marta and her husband, Deme, and two dear friends established Project Mercy, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to providing emergency relief aid, educational assistance, and refugee relocation help to African refugees.

In the 1980's through the 1990's, Marta initiated innovative food and sewing programs that enabled Project Mercy to distribute food and clothing to hundreds of thousands of starving, needy refugees from Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

By 1993, Marta established a partnership between the elders of Yetebon, Ethiopia and Project Mercy, paving the way for the current community development program. Project Mercy's development efforts have provided tangible hope and help to the children and families in Yetebon, and most recently, towards the care of numerous orphans of HIV/AID victims.

Author, challenging speaker, businesswoman, mother and grandmother, Marta is an impassioned and knowledgeable advocate for the destitute.