Sinedu Tadesse was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her family was well-off financially but her childhood was nothing short of chaotic. At the age of seven, Sinedu’s father was jailed for two years. This resulted in Sinedu being relentlessly bullied and tormented by her schoolmates as well as by her own relatives. Her self-esteem was crippled beginning at a young age.
Nonetheless, Sinedu excelled academically, graduating as valedictorian and gaining admission to the prestigious ivy league Harvard University.
Described as socially awkward, Sinedu had a difficult time making friends. She wrote dozens of letters to other Harvard students whose numbers she retrieved from the phone book. In the letters, Sinedu described feeling lonely and isolated. She begged for someone, anyone, to be her friend.