Yoftahe (Happy Being)
Our country produces several undermined but very inspiring young entrepreneurs all the time. I’ll bet you haven’t heard about this young wellness & Personal Development trainer, motivational speaker, writer, entrepreneur and internationally certified yoga instructor right here in our country.
Yoftahe Manyazewal was born (On April 11/1989) and raised by a single mother in Addis Ababa. Finishing high school at Saint Joseph school, he got his B.Sc in Architecture from Mekelle University. But this young man refuses to go with the masses and setting himself apart from the conventional schooling and living system he set out exploring different aspects of life.
“My mother took me to a meditation center here in Addis when I was in my early teens. That was a turning point for me.” He told Student Ethiopia during our exclusive interview session. “That’s where this life I am leading now practically started. The things I heard about meditation made me leap on how I think about life and made me ask a lot of questions.”
Yoftahe (Happy) believes that we can unlock our human potential and the human mind’s potential by asking a lot of questions and that is practically how he’s shaped his life; Questions and Sharing. “My mother raised me with a mentality to share what I have. When I was very young, I would come home from school and she would ask me to teach her what I learned in school and that way as I grew up, I became keener to share what I get with other people.”
Yoftahe has what he calls his “Three life Pillars.” These are Experience, Growth and Contribution. Experience is where instead of going through several traditional or socially accepted endeavors to get to your goal, you go straight to that life experience you want. “One of the guys I coach said he wants to be a pilot. When I asked him why exactly he wanted to be a pilot, he said he wanted to travel & explore, and that’s why he wanted to be a pilot. This young man had equated the Experiences he wants with the Profession of Being a Pilot. As kids when we are asked what we want to be when we grow up, we think we have to choose from already set up labels like doctor, engineer and the like. People don’t normally think that there are options outside of these labels. Experiences allow us to get to our goals without having to succumb to these labels.” And true to his word, Yoftahe has centered his life on trying out different experiences and creating those experiences for others which essentially explain his other pillars, Growth and Contribution.
Yoftahe started an Organization called Khul Holistic Development Center, aiming to work well with his life pillars and sharing them with others. The name Khul is practically self-explanatory. translating from the geez word to mean “able” or “Mindset of Possibilities”. He wants to move out of the conventionally set working systems we use in our country. “People equate time with experience and that is just lame to me.” he said. “A person’s experience shouldn’t be measured in time. We say five and ten years of work experience but I believe that experience should also be measured in the passion and dedication of the person. A person living happy and passionately for ten years is defiantly more experienced than the one who just lived for fifty years.”
KHUL aims to inject enterprises that change humanity for the better focusing on Wellness, Education and Business (WEB). It works to create an environment where one can be both happy and successful. “We rarely see people getting excited to go to school, or to go to work. Here at KHUL, we’re working on introducing a happiness inducing system to wellness, education and business. A man cannot expect to lose weight running for hours on the treadmill and hating it. Why not do something that makes him happy? Why not hike or dance? And education-wise, kids/youngsters don’t get up in the morning eager to go to school, unless passion elements are blended. We want to introduce a learning system where we can learn from life experiences. ”
Yoftahe has built a strong team comprising of loyal and motivated members. His team members regard him as both a very good friend and a good leader. “Money is our forth priority for Team motivation, when it comes to our values. That is after personal development, friendship and contribution to others respectively.” So Yoftahe has broken the conventional work environment where people get paid in money for their time and instead offers self-development and friendship to the “Players” of Khul. He refuses to call his team “employees” but rather “players”. “Everyone has something to contribute. So we don’t hire employees. We gather players.” He said. “When money comes, profits are also distributed to our players. But we don’t really make it our priority.”
KHUL works with different projects that have input in human potential development some of which can stand as their own company. Shega fest and KWIN (Khul Weekly Interactive Networking) are some of the projects that KHUL is working on. Some of the projects under KHUL have gone to be recognized globally. When asked about the achievements of KHUL, Yoftahe said, “We are a small and new organization but in this time we’ve been in service, we have built a strong team and currently hold a working space which we sometimes offer to other impact makers as well. We have worked on wellness in our yoga services by offering trainings and we had the chance to represent Ethiopia in India. This is a great achievement coming from a country where yoga is barely known. We also contribute articles for the magazine ጤናይስጥልኝ in a column called ክሁልአምድ. We’re working on partner expansion to work with other initiations as well.”
Yoftahe also talked about some of the challenges they face with KHUL. He said they dress them up and embrace them though. In a country where the industry they’re trying to introduce is barely known, they face the challenge of not being able to find the right label to legally register some of their projects under, they need to create the demand by educating the community on the need for their services, and the lack of other establishments like themselves to exchange experience with. But this doesn’t hold them from their dreams to make KHUL globally impactful.
Yoftahe as a young kid was very introvert and had the dream of being a (Cart Driver) ጋሪነጂ. He says he’s still applying the basics of the “ጋሪነጂ” in his life with his fascination of being outdoors connecting with nature, his leadership and giving services to others. Yoftahe has out grown his shy ways and has come to be an eccentric, fun, outgoing man. “I did that by requiring and challenging myself to teach others to be confident. And in that process I developed my own confidence.”
Yoftahe is a contagiously happy man, earning his nickname “Happy”. “Gratitude has a big value in happiness.” He said sharing his happiness philosophy. “We all look for ways to get to a point called happiness like it’s collectible but happiness is the journey. You’re the one responsible for your happiness.” He’s also a very inspired man helped by his reading habit and mediation and also his three life pillars. He views his future self as an inspiration and plans to visit all the 7 Wonders of the World, (with 6 to go, down with Taj Mahal) and he also has plans to take a stroll to Adwa on foot (which covers about 1000kms) further indicating what an extraordinary man he is. “I want to touch 1million people’s lives.” He said. And sure enough he has touched quite some people’s lives with his ideas and services. You can see for yourself at the weekly held Interactive Networking (KWIN) at their Center at Wello sefer, TK (Elsa) building, 4th floor, 402.