Mme. Desta Gebre was a wife, mother, teacher, philanthropist, community organizer and entrepreneur. Among her many ventures, she founded The Tsehai Chorra Elementary School and served as its Principal for ten years. She also founded the Ethiopian Armed Forces Wives

Welfare Association and served as its President for nearly 10 years. She also served on the executive committees of the Ethiopian Women's Welfare Association and the Ethiopian Red Cross. She organized gala events to fundraise for her charitable projects, she wrote and produced a play, wrote a theme song for children's choir and campaigned all around the country to raise funds for the orphanage.


Desta Gebre became the first woman political prisoner in Ethiopia during the socialist revolution under the Derg. She served nearly three years in prison because she led a protest in demand of Habeas Corpus, a constitutional right for her husband and the high ranking government officials who were imprisoned by the military junta prior to the Emperor being deposed. She died 22 years later on the same day that her husband was executed. ​



Lt. General Kebbede Gebre was in the military most of his lifetime, and served as the Commander of Ethiopian forces in Korea during WWII and also as the Commander of the International UN Peace Keeping forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1960s. He was

the Defense Minister of Ethiopia under the Emperor Haile Selassie during the last seven years of his career. Lt. General Kebbede Gebre was executed by the military junta of Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam on November 23, 1975.

His body was exhumed from a mass grave in 1992, but Desta wanted a separate gravesite for her husband where he could be remembered as a fallen hero and not as a victim of a ruthless regime. Her efforts were in vain although she struggled until her death. In the memory of their three children and other family members, the loving couple rest together at the burial site of Mme. Desta Gebre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.