Who are the Wolayta?

The Wolayta or Wolaita people are one of the indigenous people group of Ethiopia who have their own culture, tradition, political legacy and kingdom. Comprised of over The Wolaita have about 200 clans that are divided into two main tribes called Malla and Dogala. Historians classify these people as part of Osmotic family, one of the five language families in Ethiopia. This is because their settlement is parallel with the Omo River in the area. Wolaitas are one of Omotic language speaking people and their language is called also Wolaita (or “walaitato donna”) by the name of the people.


Mrs. Manyahilishal received her Masters Degree in Law from Amsterdam Law School and her LLB from Ethiopian Civil Service University. She has worked for over a decade focusing on women and children as a child protection and advocacy specialist, senior public prosecutor and head of the women affairs department in Ethiopia. Professionally, she is a passionate expert on a wide variety of human rights litigation including child protection, sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS prosecution. She’s proud of her continued volunteer experience for more than 10 years in community-based and international organizations. She is also a strong advocate for adoptee rights, broadening open adoption and dedicated to helping Ethiopian adoptees connect with their roots. Currently she is assisting adoptive families and adult adoptees search for their birth families in different regions of Ethiopia in addition to translating and facilitating Skype calls. Mrs. Manyahilishal is a native Ethiopian currently residing in the commonwealth of Virginia, happily married and is the proud mother of three children.

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