ISOB (International Support of Education and Library in South Ethiopia) was founded legally in 1997 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands as a nonprofit making organization for development work on education and health in South Ethiopia. Read about our history.

ISOB Board members and others involved all work as volunteers. We have no paid staff and we work at our homes. Therefore office costs are minimal.

ISOB board members in 2018:

Anneke Sontrop, co-founder and treasurer, (former employee at University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, HvA)
Henk Gilis, secretary, (employee at Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, AMC)

Anneke  Henk 

Former Board members

left: the late Zelleke Ayde was co-founder and Chairman until his tragic death in September 2012.
right: Henriette Groot Antink, board member between 2010 and 2014.

Zelleke  Henriette  

Comittee: Additionally we have a committee of 5 advisers:
Amsterdam: Judy Morrisson, English teacher and Maurits van Heek, Drs. in History
Apeldoorn: Michael Gedult Drs. in Economy and Truus Gedult, Drs.
Hilversum: Dr. Thei Haumann, Pediatrician.

Volunteers: In Ethiopia Ashenafi Kebede Ayde (photo below left) is involved in Project proposals and in project implementation. In the Netherlands a varying number of volunteers are involved. For example Getachew W. Negate and Claudette Hesselmann (photo below right) volunteer for the DEDA project. 

Ashenafi  Getachew and Claudette

See our Contact page for our office address and other official information 

Our main partners in Ethiopia are Wolaitta Development Association (WODA) a local NGO and the LIQA Public School in Wolaitta Sodo, SNNPRS Ethiopia:


 From 2014 until 2017 we also worked with DEDA Farmers Association in DEDA near Hidi town, the Debre Zeit (Bishoftu) area.

Our start in 1997 – some history

ISOB Foundation (Stichting ISOB) was founded in 1997 in Amsterdam by Zelleke Ayde, native Ethiopian, and Anneke Sontrop, a Dutch citizen. Zelleke Ayde was an employee at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) until he passed away in September 2012. Anneke Sontrop was employed by the University of Applied Science in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, until she got retired in 2016.

The idea for the Foundation came from an increasing demand for books and school materials by the local school management in southern Ethiopia. Chairman Zelleke had regular contact with the local school directors and had send books before on an individual base.

The ISOB founders started collecting study books, teaching aids and medical equipment among International Schools, Hospitals and individual sympathizers, mainly in the Netherlands. Book collections among the International Schools were very successful, also because a new technology, the internet, was advancing rapidly, became very popular and Libraries needed to make space for computers.

Between 1998 and 2014 the ISOB Foundation collected more than 42.000 books, and dispatched them to schools, school libraries and educational institutes in southern Ethiopia.
Among the receiving libraries was the ACTE (Awassa College for Teacher Education), Dilla Medical Library in Dilla town, Wolaita Public Library and Wollaitta University in Sodo town, Boditti Library and many other School Libraries.

Our partners / Schools that we mainly work with:

In 2006 the local NGO Wolaitta Development Association (WoDA) successfully constructed the first Public Library in Wollaita Soddo. ISOB provided 90% of the funds and all of the books.  Some years later the Public Library was handed over to the municipality.  The Library is very popular and used mostly by the local youth who prepare for their exams, read newspapers and books, discuss etc.

We continue to assist this Library. See the project page Facilities Enhancements at Wolaitta Sodo Public Library

Wolaitta LIQA Public School, "a School for Talents", since 2007. This secondary school is successful in providing quality education for Orphan Vulnerable Children (OVC) who are talented and motivated to work hard for a better future. We support the Liqa School in their efforts to improve the school and the services among them boarding services. Since 2010 we sponsor vulnerable students with a monthly allowance of 12 to 15 euros.  Read more about the Sponsorship program.

Offa Primary School in Offa village, built in 2007 by the local farmer community. Over the years we helped the school with a new Library, clean water and sanitation, the set up of an Innovation and Science Center, solar panels and cementing of new classroom floors. 

DEDA primary School in DEDA village near Debre Zeit. Between july 2014 and july 2017 we supported the DEDA Learning Centre project with the set up of a new Library, clean water, and solar energy. In 2018 the volunteers of this project will continue their work under the newly established DESSI foundation.