Asefa Tadese was a full-time cattle tender. For seven years and without a day off, he roamed the scorched earth near the border between Eritrea and the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia. His days followed the path of the sun’s rays: a light breakfast at sunrise, hours of tough labor until sunset, a meager dinner, and then bedtime. He was just a boy. In fact, he still is one.

“I’m 13 [years old]. This is my first time in school, and I will not go back to that life,” he says. Then he...


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