Academic Excellence Incentive Program

For every 1,000 children who begin school in Ethiopia, only one half will complete 5th grade, and one fifth will complete 8th grade. Of those students who make it to 10th grade, 3% will score above a 75% across their core subjects and less than 25% will receive an average score of 50%. This means that for every 1,000 students who begin school in Ethiopia, only 6 will one day be enrolled in 10th grade, receiving a “C” average or higher. We think this is a staggering statistic.

A solid education is one of the cornerstones of our philosophy regarding breaking the cycle of poverty for the children we serve, and we’re tackling this by providing a quality education at the BCI Academy. Because the odds are stacked against the children, we have decided to step up our efforts to ensure that the children stay enrolled in school and engaged in their studies.

For the 2019-20 academic year, we will be launching an Academic Excellence Incentive Program. This program will incentivize students for their academic achievements over the course of the school year. Additionally, teachers will be incentivized to produce high scores.

3 Tiers of Recognition

  1. Honor Roll: All students receiving at least a B average for the year will receive Honor Roll recognition and a $25 USD cash reward
  2. Grade Level: The top student in every grade level will receive an additional $25 USD cash reward
  3. Teachers: The top 3 teachers with the highest average scores will receive a $100 USD cash reward

It’s unheard of for student academic achievements to be acknowledge in this way in the Ethiopian school system. Honors assemblies, class valedictorians, and the like are not standard practice. It is our hope that recognizing the academic achievements of our teachers and students will put a focus on academic success in a positive way. We plan to pilot the program for the upcoming school year and evaluate any changes in academic outcomes and student retention.

How You Can Help

Sponsor an Honor Roll student for 1 year: $25
Sponsor a Teacher: $100
Sponsor the top student in every Grade Level: $300
Underwrite the program for 2019/20: $2,000

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor.” – Nelson Mandela

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Hooray for Besha

A few months ago we told you how Besha Asefa is overcoming his physical challenges through weightlifting and wheelchair racing. Full Story

Despite severe setbacks in his life, which include contracting polio at age one, abandonment by both of his parents, and becoming a victim of familial violence that resulted in a broken hand, Besha has grown into a physically and mentally strong young man.

We asked for help in meeting Besha’s training needs, and our BCI family quickly stepped in to ensure that we could provide Besha with the nutrition and equipment needed for his training and competitions.

We are thrilled to report that Besha is now the proud owner of a gold medal from his most recent weightlifting competition.

We are so delighted for Besha, grateful for your support of his athletic endeavors, and humbled by God’s hand in his life.

International Pen Pals

Grandpa and Claire

A couple of months ago, a longtime sponsor approached us with a novel idea. His granddaughter, Claire, saw a  copy of the BCI Post at his home and noticed a photo of one of our young girls who needed sponsorship. He decided that he would sponsor the child to facilitate a pen pal relationship between the child and his granddaughter. She eagerly penned her first letter, using every color of the rainbow to introduce herself. She enclosed a couple of photos of herself, which her new friend in Ethiopia excitedly brought to school to show her classmates.

After receiving a recent photo from her pen pal, Claire committed the ultimate act of generosity for a young girl – she decided to send her pen pal her favorite teddy bear. She also sent a doll, hygiene products, photos and a letter. What an enriching experience to learn at such a tender age how to give so freely.

We would be honored to help a special child in your life establish a pen pal relationship with one of our precious children.

Meet the Children: http://www.blessingthechildren.org/ChildrenList.html

Education in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, the education pipeline is broken up into several blocks of academic years, with mandatory exams – often referred to as National Exams – at various points. These exams are required in order to pass on to the next level.

Students enter grade 1 at age 7, and two 4-year blocks of elementary education make up the mandatory education. After completing grade 8, students take a National Exam prior to progressing to the first cycle of secondary education. Students again take a National Exam at the conclusion of grade 10. Those who score highly are able to proceed to “secondary preparatory”, which is the path to University. Those not meeting the minimum score for preparatory education are able to proceed to TVET where they train for several years to learn a trade skill.

The government provides students with an academic path in University based on results of their grade 12 national exam. Students may choose an alternative career path by supporting themselves through University.

BCI Launches New Website

We are pleased to announce the launch of a brand new website. The site has a modern look and is easy to navigate on smart phones, tablets, and personal computers. New features include:

  • Browse and support urgent needs
  • Learn about ongoing projects
  • Send a birthday party to your child

To navigate the site on a personal computer, click on a link in the top menu bar or on the bottom left hand side of the page. When viewing on a smart device, these options will be collapsed into three lines called a hamburger icon. Clicking on the icon will bring up a list of links to choose from. Return to the home page at any time by clicking our logo in the top left hand corner.

Our new look will help you to learn about our ministry and ways to support the children. The information is up to date and plentiful. There are pictures galore on the site – you may even spot your sponsored child. We invite you to share our new site with your friends, co-workers and family!

http://www.blessingthechildren.org/

 

Training Future Leaders

Young Life is an international Christian ministry focused on making disciples and leaders out of middle school, high school, and college-aged students. They operate in every state in the U.S. as well as 90 countries worldwide. Ethiopia has the second largest Young Life in the world, behind only the United States, and reached more than 138,000 youth last year alone. They bring together teens of all faiths, something important in a country that has so much religious diversity.

L to R: Fekadu Alemu, Bereket Fasil Tamirat, Non-BCI, Tizita Dawit Abreham, Bemnet Manaye, Bizuayehu SIsay Bekele, Eayasu Wondimu, Tewodros Tilahun Mola (front)

Young Life Ethiopia has set up a chapter in Bishoftu (Debre Zeyit), led by a 20-year-old young man named Behylu. Behylu had a troubled life until he was brought into Young Life and experienced a transformation himself. He is now passionate about impacting the lives of other young people. In an effort to facilitate spiritual growth and the development of leadership skills in our teens, we have brought Young Life into our schools. Behylu comes at noon to play games, show positive movies, and form friendships with the students. BCI assists by providing Bibles, sports equipment, and facilities for activities after school. Behylu is now training twenty Grade 12 leaders, and we feel blessed to say that ten of the students have been selected from our sponsorship program.

Teddy (Tewodros Tilahun) is a 19-year-old full orphan who has been in the BCI program for a decade. He is the right-hand man to Behylu. Teddy has formed a soccer team of peers at his school, which he coaches together with Behylu. When asked the purpose of the team, Teddy said “their purpose is to win, but MY purpose is Jesus.”

We are often asked how sponsorship helps a child. Of course there are the basic necessities that we all need for life: clothing, food and an education. Above and beyond this, we train up the children and pour into their spiritual and emotional lives in a way that equips them for life beyond our program. It is a holistic approach that is bearing fruit. The teens in our program are already fulfilling an important part of BCI’s mission: they are taking everything they have gained from their ministry and using it to change their community.

Young Life Africa uses the Leadership Tree model. Each teen disciples three more teens, and thereby grows the reach of the ministry. Might you be able to do the same for Blessing the Children and become a branch on our tree? You can do this by sharing the good news of our ministry with three people in your life.

Team Besha

Besha Asefa is a 12th grade student at the BCI Academy. It’s easy to spot him on the school campus, since he walks with crutches. His disability is the result of contracting polio at the age of one. This is a sad story, but even worse is the fact that his parents rejected and abandoned him due to his disability, leaving his care to his grandmother.

Due to his permanent need for crutches, it’s important for Besha to keep up his strength. Last year, while working out at a local gym, Besha was approached and invited to participate in a weight lifting competition. It was exciting for him to receive this invitation and he began training right away. At his first competition, he was encouraged when he earned a second place finish out of nine competitors. He achieved this by lifting 75 kg (approximately 165 lbs). For his second place finish, Besha earned a medal and a certificate. He also participated in a wheelchair race and placed 4th out of 15 competitors in both the 400 meter and 800 meter distances.

At a subsequent competition, Besha tried to lift 80kg but failed in his attempt and was disqualified. He is passionate about these sports and they have given him a sense of belonging and confidence. He wants to continue competing, but the other competitors are better trained and nourished. Besha is slim and has limited protein in his diet.

People with disabilities are not afforded equal rights in Ethiopia. There is no disabilities act to protect them. We have seen the positive impact of sports on Besha’s life and feel that fostering this passion is critically important to his future. We would like to provide Besha with the means to continue training at his best level. He is in need of funding for his training, transport, extra nutrition (eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables) and a sports uniform.

As we prepared to share Besha’s story, things took a turn when an estranged family member beat him with no provocation. Besha sustained multiple injuries, including a broken hand. Worst of all, it was a hit to his spirit to be physically assaulted. The injuries also caused him to miss school and training. We feel now more than ever that we want to help Besha overcome the multitude of tragedies he has experienced in his young life.

Upon graduation, Besha dreams of attending University to study architecture. He also wants to continue with his sports training. He hopes to one day have the opportunity to use sports to travel outside of Ethiopia, and perhaps even participate on a big stage at the Paralympic Games.

When speaking with Besha, he told us passionately that “BCI has helped me to receive my only Savior, Jesus Christ, and I’m thankful for it. God has been helping me through BCI with my education and my life with Jesus.”

The most recent x-ray showed that Besha’s hand has healed and praise God he is not expected to have permanent difficulties. If you want to partner with us in supporting Besha’s competitive sports, please reach out to us and let us know you’re on Team Besha. We believe that God’s hand is in Besha’s participation in sports and want to see him follow his passion, both for himself and as an example to encourage others.

Phone: 1 (888) 269-2719

E-mail: info@blessingthechildren.org

PayPal: http://blessingthechildren.org/donate.html