Seifu Ibssa was born in Acheber, Ethiopia, a small village about 100 miles south-west of Addis Ababa. He started out as a shepherd boy and later started formal education at the age of 12 with help from his father, who saw the potential in the boy. After completing 12th grade, he enrolled in a Commercial School where he received a degree in accounting. He migrated to the United States in 1982, and continued his education earning a degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University. He currently works as a financial systems analyst with the McClatchy Company, and lives in the Sacramento area with his wife and two children. Seeing first-hand how education opens doors to many opportunities, Ibssa established a non-profit organization (East African Village Outreach) and built four schools in his village and neighboring villages. His organization also supports high school and college students from those villages.