Delivering Dresses & Hope

In the springtime, six children were delighted to receive Hope Baskets from one of our wonderful interns, JoAnn, who visited them in their homes. The baskets included essential items such as cooking oil, pasta, peanut butter, soap, bananas, and rice.

We were further blessed when a missionary named Heather packed a suitcase full of brand new, handmade dresses for the youngest little ones in our program. New clothes are a rare treat and the girls felt special.

The gifts themselves are lovely, but the greatest impact came from the fact that someone traveled halfway around the world to step into their lives and demonstrate love.

15 year-old Tsedenya and her Mother

New Dress Day

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Meron Fikadu Update

We first introduced you to 8-year-old Meron Fikadu in 2014. Meron’s situation was a desperate one. She lived in the red light district of Debre Zeyit, a street full of bars and brothels. Her mother was a drug addict who worked as a prostitute in a bar. Because of this lifestyle, she was unable to care for Meron and gave her daughter up. Meron was taken in by a guardian.

A church in the States heard this sad story and generously offered to support the mother to enable her to leave her job and reunite with Meron. The two moved into a clean, furnished home and began rebuilding their relationship.

Meron with her Mother in 2017

Tragedy struck this summer when on July 15th, Meron’s mother passed away after a lengthy illness. There is no guardian to care for Meron at this time so BCI stepped in and placed her in a foster home with several other full orphans. She will continue to receive support from her sponsors and will have a community around her in the other teens she will live with at the foster home, including her best friend, Haben.

Please join us in praying for Meron as she adjust to this next chapter in her life.

Faven Abebayehu

My name is Faven and I am 7 years old. My name means “light”, and I sure do light up a room! I am described by my social worker as a “sweet, lovely and well-behaved girl”. I live with my mother and 10-year-old sister, Dibora. I love my sister so very much!

My mother had to leave my father due to a bad situation and she now cares for us by herself. She tries all the time to find work but no one will hire her because she has no skills or education. This makes me sad, and it’s hard for my sister and I because we don’t have much.

I enjoy playing jump rope with my sister the best. When I grow up I want to be a doctor and help people. A lot of us kids share this dream because we have seen so much sickness and suffering and we just want it to stop!

I would love to have a sponsor to write letters to like the other kids. I know my future could be bright, with the support and encouragement of a sponsor. I am patiently waiting!

It takes a village to raise a child. We welcome anyone who would like to be a part of Faven’s story to reach out to us:

(888) 269-2719
info@BlessingTheChildren.org

English Competition a Success

Hundreds of children recently gathered in the school courtyard on a sunny afternoon to hear the results of the annual BCI English Competition. After a week that featured multiple rounds of competition, winners emerged at each grade level. Our grand prize winner, Remedan Jemal, was thrilled to receive a laptop computer that will aid him in his studies. There were many eyes upon him as he received his prize, and no doubt these children returned home inspired to study hard for next year’s competition.

Congratulations to all of our competitors, and especially to Getaneh Yohannes – Grade 6 Champion, and Tinsae Teklu – Grade 7 Champion. Getaneh and Yohannes have grown up in the BCI program and we are delighted for their achievement.

 

Growing Pains: Water Shortage at the BCI Academy

If you have bought a home or rented an apartment, you have likely felt the “joy” of those little discoveries you make after moving in: the noisy neighbors upstairs or the room that always seems to be mysteriously colder than the rest of the house. We made a discovery like this after opening the Bethlehem campus of the BCI Academy this past fall. As it turns out, the water line does not provide enough water to support the more than 1,500 students who attend the school, especially during the daytime.

The Bethlehem campus water line originates from a reservoir in town. Water continues to flow throughout the night, but we currently have no way of capturing it to save it for the next school day, meaning that this precious and scare resource goes to waste. This also means that the students run out of water during the day and are unable to use the drinking fountains and toilets. This creates a sanitation issue as well as a dehydration risk, particularly during the warmer months of the school year. Besides the health concerns, the water shortage is a distraction for the students. It is difficult to concentrate on your studies when you are physically uncomfortable in class.
In an ideal situation, we would install a well on the school property; however, this is a difficult task in Ethiopia, as the water is hundreds of feet below the surface and requires use of a $25,000 well-drilling device. There is also a 2-year wait list to use the drill.

Young BCI Academy Student

The current water usage for the school is more than 20,000 Liters per day. In order to provide an adequate supply of water, we need to install two tanks that each store 10,000 Liters of water. These tanks will collect the water that flows through the night and hold it for use the next school day. The cost to install both tanks, all accessories included, is only $1 per student. We think this is a small price to pay to enhance the health of more than 1,500 students! We hope you will consider partnering with us to make sure our students stay clean and hydrated during school hours.

1 Tank: $750
1 Grade: $125
1 Class: $30
1 Child: $1

Blessing the Children International
2265 Fraser Road
Kawkawlin, MI 48631
1-888-269-2719

http://www.BlessingTheChildren.org/donate 

 

Shoes for Every Child

Our social workers recently had a big task: fill up the BCI van with 200 pair of brand new shoes – one pair for every child in our program – and deliver them to each family. It took many days to get the shoes sorted and distributed, but it was a joyful time bringing this blessing to each and every child and family. We know that for the rest of the year all of the children have good quality shoes to protect their feet as they travel to and from school and around the town.

Children Receiving their Shoes After School

Happy Guardians Picking up Shoes for their Children

Shoes Ready for Distribution

Abenezer Kasu: In His Own Words

We first met Abenezer Kasu when he was 11 years old. His story is a sad one. His father died when he was 3 years old and his mother died when he was 6 years old. He has a brother and sister but the three children were split up after the death of his parents and were sent to live in different homes. Abenezer went to live with his aunt. When his aunt died, BCI intervened and brought his brother into the program and reunited the siblings.

Abenezer has no memories of his father and faint memories of his mother. His first memory of BCI was when he met a group of missionaries who were teaching English class and Bible study at his church. He also remembers the great excitement he felt when missionaries visited him in his home.

Abenezer Kasu – Age 13

Abenezer has been sponsored for six years and the transformation is truly inspiring. Our BCI President recently sat down and spoke with Abenezer, who shared what he has been up to.

For the past several years, Abenezer has been attending University. He will be one of the first BCI students to graduate from University. In June of 2018, he will receive a Bachelor of Science College (BSC) degree in Applied Biology. He plans to teach biology at the high school level for several years and hopes to return to university to receive his Master of Science College (MSC) degree.

Abenezer Kasu – Age 20

Abenezer is bright, articulate, and has dreams for the future. We hope you enjoy learning more about the impact of BCI on his life, in his own words.

“First of all, my life wasn’t stable when I lost my mom and dad. I was living with my aunt. Before I joined the program life was not stable. After I met up with missionaries I tried to communicate with them, so my English developed.

They (BCI) provided me with school materials, clothes, food, so I became more stable. It was very difficult to stay in university without having mom or dad or family. You have to have somebody who has to look after you and take care of you. No one was there for me but the program has supported me very well.

There were times when I wondered what would my life be (without BCI). It wouldn’t be like this. I might not get an opportunity to go to school. I might not get an opportunity to leave (his difficult home situation) because there were things that were not comfortable, even when I was living with my aunt. It (BCI program) has been a good help to my life.

My future plan is to have my own work and help my family, and if I get a chance, I want to support some kids who are in the program because I have been cared for by some people and I want to do back what they have done for me.

In 10 years from now, I might have my own family. I might have kids. I might have my own work.

I would like to thank (my sponsors) for supporting my education and everything for their support. May God bless their family and provide everything that they need.”

We invite you to watch the full interview at the BCI YouTube channel:

Abenezer is one of three BCI students graduating from university this spring. He will join Selamawit Teklemuz (Construction Management) and Mekedes Shisema (Applied Biology) as the first BCI class to graduate from university.

Selamawit Teklemuz

Mekedes Shisema

More Space to Grow

Last Christmas we told you about a mother and her two teenage children – Genet and Yohannes Bune – who had outgrown their very small home. Not only was there no space for the family, the condition of the house was very poor. Their uncle donated land to build an addition to the home, but they could not make use of this gift because they had no funds to build the addition. What a blessing it was when a generous donor stepped in and provided funding to purchase the materials. Their new home is sturdier and significantly more spacious. They can now come home to a more comfortable living environment and have space to study, which is especially important this year. Both teens are grade 10 students and are preparing to take the National Exam this spring. This exam will determine whether they can stay on track for university. We know this preparation will be a lot easier thanks to their better living conditions!

Genet and Yohannes

Mother Outside the Family Home in 2016

Inside the Home in 2016

Genet at her New Home

 

 

A Surprise Blessing

We love to receive good news. We were thrilled last year when a church from Arizona who had traveled with us to Ethiopia surprised us with a generous donation to purchase beds for the children.

You may remember that we asked for help in purchasing beds for Christmas in 2016. We were able to meet our goal of getting all of the children off from the floor and into beds. This was a great feeling!

Although we achieved this important goal, we still had situations that were less than ideal, such as teenage sons sharing beds with their mothers, and multiple family members sharing a bed. Receiving this unexpected gift allowed us to greatly improve the sleeping arrangements for so many children.

It is heart warming to know that others out there think and care about the children like we do, and take it upon themselves to help provide for their critical needs. Thank you to this special church and to everyone who makes sacrifices, big and small, to support the children throughout the year.

A Key to the World

In partnership with our global sponsorship family, we do everything we can to give our children the best chance for a bright future. We provide them with nutrition and medical care, we pour into their spiritual lives, foster social development, and give them access to a complete education. One thing that we feel is a key to opening up the world to them and helping them break out of the cycle of poverty is the English language. English is the most widely spoken international language for business, academia and tourism. By contrast, the national language of Ethiopia (Amharic) is spoken only in Ethiopia. By teaching our children how to speak English fluently, we are giving them the ability to communicate with the rest of the world.

Several years ago we established an English Quizzing Competition in order to motivate the students to study English above and beyond their work in the classroom. The competition is a big event within the community and takes place over a one-week period each spring. Top students from grades 4 through 10 at several local schools are nominated by their teachers to participate in the competition, which consists of many rounds of competition before winners are selected. The top six students in each grade receive a cash prize and ribbon, and the top two students in each grade are invited to a special banquet along with a guest and their teacher. Participating in this banquet is a big honor and is something that the students strive towards.

Due to the fact that we are now responsible for over 2,000 students at the BCI Academy and Bethlehem School, we have had to limit the competition to these two schools for 2018. There simply isn’t funding to bring in additional schools at this time. In fact, there is no funding available period. In past years, a generous donor financially supported the competition. When our competition sponsor passed away in 2017, we lost a dear friend and also the ability to support the English competition. We feel that it is critical to continue this competition in order to keep the students motivated to develop their English skills. Therefore, we are asking for partners to join with us in sponsoring the competition this year.

SPONSOR A GRADE: $85 per class for ribbons, medals, and cash prizes
SPONSOR A CHAMPION: $45 per student for banquet meal, including one guest and one teacher
SPONSOR THE GRAND PRIZE: $500 for a laptop computer for the 10th grade winner, to help with college preparation

We invite you to visit our YouTube channel to view a video of last year’s competition, including several touching speeches by the children: https://www.youtube.com/c/BlessingtheChildrenIntl