Who is Aster?

In 2000 Aster Yohannes arrived in Phoenix, AZ with dreams of finally completing her college education quickly so she could return home to her husband and four young children. Aster was the grateful recipient of a United Nations funded scholarship for college bound individuals in her homeland Eritrea, a small country in the Horn of Africa. In September of 2001, as she was nearing completion of a degree in marketing, Aster's husband was arrested in Eritrea for demanding democratic reform. When the Government of Eritrea refused to allow Aster to bring her children to the US, Aster felt she had no other choice but to return to Eritrea. On December 11, 2003, as her children waited in the Asmara airport to greet their mother, whom they had not seen in almost four years, Eritrean security took Aster away as she stepped off the plane. She has not been seen since.

Aster loved Arizona and the people she met here. She touched our hearts, changed our lives, and now needs our help. Friends of Aster formed shortly after Aster's husband was arrested in an effort to support Aster during her struggle to reunite her family. Today we are working to free Aster and to help the Eritrean people by sharing the stories of human rights violations occurring in this young country struggling for democracy. We share Aster's story and the story of her people, in hopes that you will tell two friends, and so on.