Home visits are an opportunity to step into the lives of the children we serve. It is very special for the children to spend this one-on-one time with missionaries, and it often becomes a core childhood memory.
Recently, two of our missionaries traveled to the home of Yohannes Bogale. Yohannes is a 15-year-old teen who has never had a sponsor. He lives with four siblings, his mother and father. His father became ill last year with a nerve and muscle condition, making it impossible for him to support his family. Life is very hard.
Our missionaries were saddened to see Yohannes and his family sleeping on burlap on the concrete floor. They worked together to bless the family in a big way by purchasing mattresses and blankets for the family.
Bicycles are a rare treat in Ethiopia. The cost to purchase a bicycle is currently very high – at least $500 USD. Children in our program who walk long distances to school and are able to travel safely alone were entered into a raffle to receive one of 17 bicycles that were generously donated. What a useful, fun and unexpected gift! The winners also received a helmet.
In March, we shared news that Esrael Yirga graduated from university with a degree as a lab technician. Shortly after graduation, Esrael took a written exam to apply for medical school. We were thrilled to learn recently that she has been accepted. In a whirlwind of activity, she moved to Addis Ababa and began attending classes on April 18th.
Esrael will attend university for five years followed by a one-year internship. At the conclusion, she will be a fully licensed medical doctor. Esrael is our second sponsored child to attend medical school. We are in awe of God’s handiwork.
A gift from our friends in Canada made it possible for Esrael to cover her school tuition; however, she has an immediate need for rent and living expenses. Her expenses are $125 USD per month.
God is doing amazing things in this young woman’s life. We’re looking to partner with a few people in support of Esrael’s journey from sponsored child to medical doctor. If you are able to provide any portion of Esrael’s monthly expenses, we invite you to join her support team.
This winter, God blessed our ministry with wonderful Ms. Ray, a missionary from the United States who reached out last year when she felt drawn to serve in Ethiopia. After months of preparation, Ms. Ray joined us in Debre Zeyit full of passion and with a clear vision for creating an after-school art program called The Gathering Place.
In all, 338 children participated in Ms. Ray’s program. Most of the children were kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 students. Arts and crafts projects included 3-D pop-up cards, origami, painted wooden objects and construction paper creations. The younger students learned how to cut with scissors, paste and glue objects, and color. They had fun creating pinwheels that spin when they run. In addition to the young children, art students from older grades joined in as well as teachers and staff. They worked together to create murals on the side of the BCI Academy.
The program was well-received by the children and staff alike. Older children were often plastered to the windows, gazing in to watch the classes. The students who participated were excited to practice their new skills at home and share their creations. We’re so grateful that Ms. Ray joined us in Ethiopia to teach and love our children and help them grow. God moved her heart to serve with us and she trusted His lead. What is God nudging you to do?
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Menase Alebachew to the BCI Academy Bethlehem campus staff. Menase was in our sponsorship program for a number of years along with his brother, Efrem. He recently graduated from Rift Valley University with a degree in accounting.
A few years ago, Menase and Efrem’s father started a taxi business and after some time was able to support his family, so asked to step away from the program so that a family with greater need could take their place. Menase and Efrem are grateful to their sponsors for the help received along the way. Menase is the campus store manager and is responsible for inventory, donations, distribution, and accountability. Welcome back, Menase!
In Ethiopia, there is a pervasive lack of knowledge regarding simple to treat medical conditions, which results in a great deal of unnecessary suffering. In November, a local pastor was in a bajaj (vehicular) accident. He underwent successful surgery to place pins in his leg, but later suffered severe infection due to lack of proper wound care. A visiting missionary put him on the path to recovery by simply cleaning and dressing the wound daily for 10 days.
In recent years, we have felt increasingly called to improve the healthcare opportunities for our children, their families, and the local community. God has answered our prayers in a big way and we’re so excited to share news with you that we are building a medical clinic on the grounds of the Bethlehem Campus of the BCI Academy.
The clinic will allow low and middle income families will have access to education, diagnosis and treatment of a variety of health conditions, with referral to advanced facilities when needed. Our students will be able to shadow and learn from medical professionals, and apply to work at the center upon graduation from medical school. Medical missionaries will have resources at their disposal to serve the ministry. The clinic will be financially self-sustaining once in use.
There are many opportunities to become involved in this historic ministry project. Current needs include:
$2,000 USD to finish water and electrical installation
$20,000 to finish the floors, walls and ceilings with easy to clean surfaces
$5,000 each for dialysis and x-ray machines (high quality, used condition)
Any amount to help with the purchase of lab tools, centrifuge microscope, and specialized equipment.
Are you a teacher, professor, ESL instructor, coach, artist, athlete, musician, or someone who has a heart for children? If so, we want to partner with you for an unforgettable trip this summer!
Teach to Reach Ethiopia is an educational summer camp that combines fun and learning for orphaned and impoverished children in eastern Africa. We need people with big hearts to lead the classes and activities for the children. We will customize the camp to use the skills and talents of our team of volunteer educators.
International experience and formal teacher training is not required. If you are comfortable working with children and teaching anything from core subjects to English as a second language to arts, crafts, sports, music, cooking, leadership, or anything in between, there is a place for you on our team.
Team members may choose a 2-week (July 1-15 or July 16-30) or 4-week (July 1-30) option. The cost for the trip is $3,395 USD for 2 weeks and $3,985 USD for 4 weeks. Fee includes round trip airfare from an international airport in a major US city, meals and accommodations, local transport and translators.
Esrael Yirga is a 23-year-old young woman who radiates light. She grew up with her mother and younger brother and sister in a two-room hut, sleeping all four to the same bed. Esrael became part of the BCI sponsorship program more than a decade ago. She has a beautiful singing voice, a bright mind, and compassion in her heart. In 2017, Esrael was thrilled to become one of the first students from BCI to attend university. She has taken full advantage of her time at school and has put in many hours studying to advance her education. In late January, Esrael graduated from Hawassa University as a Lab Technician. Her grade point average was an impressive 3.49.
Esrael is currently studying for the exam that will allow her to join the workforce in her field of study. She has aspirations to return to school in the future to advance her education in medicine. When we sat down with Esrael to talk about her experience with the BCI sponsorship program, she expressed overwhelming gratitude for the sponsors and social workers who gave so much to help her in life.
“Thank you (to) those people who were with me – my sponsors, who devoted their time and their money to support this organization, to support us.
My social workers…they’ve given their lives. I have no words for them. No one could do what they have done in their life. Not even I will dare to do it. They were there to teach us, lead us, not just provide (for) us. They were there to counsel us. They mean too much (to) us, especially Goldy, because she has been my social worker from the beginning and I’m very thankful for her. God bless you, Goldy, I love you so much. Thank you so much. You are the one I will never forget in my life.”
We have previously introduced you to 8-year-old Kalkidan Kasahun, one of our rising academic stars. Kalkidan has consistently placed at the top of her class throughout her schooling. You may recall that we recently rewarded her with a special dinner at a restaurant for her efforts.
Kalkidan has just lost her sponsor and is back on our waiting list. We are urgently seeking sponsorship to ensure that this bright young girl stays on track academically.
Kalkidan lives with her mother and 17-year-old brother. Her mother cannot work due to chronic illness, and her brother suffers from epilepsy, which keeps him out of school. The family lives in a one-room home. Kalkidan helps by administering medicine to her mother and performing chores at home. She is working toward a goal of joining the medical professions one day.
Kalkidan possesses the intellect and work ethic needed to excel. Her future is limited only by her circumstances. With a little help, we know she will soar. Please reach out to us if you would like to become Kalkidan’s sponsor.
When we meet a child who has no food in their home and has never attended school, the priorities are clear. Immediate interventions ensure that the child’s vital needs are met. Once the child is in a safe situation, it’s imperative that we begin thinking beyond the immediate. It is our goal that each child graduates from our program equipped for a self-sustaining future.
Recently, we have taken an important step toward securing the financial future of our children by opening a bank account in each child’s name and depositing 100 birr in starter funds. We are educating the children on financial matters and encouraging their guardians to begin investing for their future needs. In a culture of day-to-day living, this is a significant event. Importantly, no one can withdraw funds from the accounts except the child, and the children can only access the funds after they reach the age of 18. This safeguard will keep the funds protected until the children begin their adult lives.
An added benefit of the bank accounts is that we are able to leverage the accounts to reward hard work and academic achievements. Already, top finishers for the 2020-21 school year were provided with deposits into their accounts in recognition of their efforts and success. We believe this incentive will result in improved academic performance as the students strive to earn rewards. The accounts can also be used to recognize important events such as birthdays and passing national exam scores.
If you would like to help your sponsored child or any child secure their future, you can make a gift at any time to help their seed money grow!