People care about their heritage. It’s the reason why you find so many different genealogy websites floating around everywhere. The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye reportedly made a $50,000 donation to the University of Toronto to help them get an Ethiopic studies program off the ground.
According to the Toronto Star, the Weeknd, whose parents both emigrated to Canada from Ethiopia, immediately responded when the University reached out to him to ask for help. “It’s unbelievable,” Tam Gebeyehu, board member of the Bikila Award organization told the newspaper. “He grew up in Toronto as an Ethiopian-Canadian, and now he’s giving back to the community.”
The Weeknd reportedly has a history with the Bikila Award organization, and was bestowed an award from the institution back in 2014 for professional excellence. “Back then he was doing a lot of stuff, but was still a boy from Scarborough just rising to fame,” Gebeyehu said. “His donation helps us preserve our culture and share it with everyone else.”
The Bikila Award is named after named for Abebe Bikila, an Ethiopian Olympic hero, who won two gold medals while running barefoot in the marathon in the 1960s. The organization itself was created to promote volunteerism among Ethiopian-Canadians and to assist the growth of academic, professional and business excellence in that community.
Thus far, the Weeknd has declined to publicly share the news of his donation, but it already is being put to good use. The first course in the program, the study of the ancient Ethiopian language is set to launch within a year.