UPDATE: Christmas Beds

Last November we shared a need with you: ensuring that every child in the program has a bed to sleep in. At that time, we had a number of children sleeping on the floor, many of whom had never known the comfort of a bed. We asked for help purchasing a bed for each child, including a frame, mattress, blanket, sheets and pillows. We just received photos from Ethiopia, and the smiles speak for themselves! Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign, both financially and in prayer.

Dawit Dereje

Fekadu Alemu

Mihret Teka

Bereket Tamirat

Nebeyu Shimeles

Tewodros G’Alif

 

Birthday Blessings

In a third world country like Ethiopia, a birthday does not hold the same significance as it does in the Western world. Except for in the wealthiest communities in Ethiopia, most of the time there is no celebration. Many don’t even know or track their age or date of birth, since the caretakers are often unable to read and do not have calendars or clocks. A day that should be a cause for celebration often goes by unnoticed.

We are excited to announce that we are piloting a Birthday Blessings program this summer. We have a missions team traveling to Ethiopia from April through the end of summer. The team has volunteered to visit the local shops in Debre Zeyit and pick out a special birthday gift and deliver it to your child. Imagine your child’s delight at receiving this most unexpected surprise!

  

If your child’s birthday falls between April 20th and August 31st, you may participate in the Birthday Blessings pilot program. The deadline to sign up is March 20th, to ensure birthday delivery.

You may choose to send any amount to be used where needed most, or select from the gift options below:

Clothing – $40
Household Item – $25
Toy – $15

We also invite you to mail a birthday card to the office by March 20th, which our missions team will deliver to your child.

We are excited to be able to provide this opportunity to give your child special birthday memories!

Blessing the Children International
2267 Fraser Road
Kawkawlin, MI 48631

1 Million Meals

Abu Sara is a farming community located approximately 20 miles from Debre Zeyit. Last year, the community was devastated by a drought that killed their harvest and left them with nothing to grow or eat. Some villagers abandoned their homes, some lost loved ones, and others became beggars.

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Hungry Child in Abu Sara

Out of Work and Hungry in Abusera

Men Out of Work and Hungry

After seeing what the people of Abu Sara were going through, Blessing the Children decided to help by partnering with Prairie Gleaners, a Christian non-profit organization based in Canada. The gleaners take locally grown fruits and vegetables that would normally end up in the landfill and turn them into dried food and soup mixes, which are distributed to people in need around the world. The organization is run on volunteer time and serves 40 different nations.

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Dehydrated Soup Mix

Prairie Gleaners readily approved the request for a food container to be sent to Ethiopia. The container took several weeks to arrive by sea to the port town of Djibouti. The food was then loaded onto two large trucks and driven nearly 500 miles to Debre Zeyit. Half the container was distributed to the community of Abu Sara, while the other half stayed in Debre Zeyit.

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Food Shipment Arrives

Food Distribution in Abusera

Food Distribution Begins

A staggering one million meals were provided by these dehydrated food and soup mixes, benefitting children in the BCI program as well as those in a crisis state of famine in nearby Abu Sara. In total, 950 families have received the food support.

We are grateful to Prairie Gleaners for turning nutritious produce that would have been wasted into a remarkable blessing for the families of Ethiopia!

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Children of Abu Sara Rejoicing

 

Gift Matching Update

A few weeks ago we shared with you the need for footings to begin building the school addition for the BCI Academy. Footings provide the foundation for the school.

A donor stepped up with an amazing gift-matching offer to support the purchase of the footings as well as a larger school bus and a new stove. Other donors have responded, and we are now close to reaching our goal – a $7,500 need has been reduced to a $1,650 need!

We were just sent photos of the recently installed footings. There is much more building to go, but we are excited to have broke ground on the addition. Take a look!

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We have also been able to secure the purchase of the larger school bus. We now only need $1,650 to cover the balance on the new stove.

If you would like to take advantage of the generosity of this donor and double your gift, please contact us at the office by March 1st.

2267 Fraser Road
Kawkawlin, MI  48631
(989) 667-8850
Info@BlessingTheChildren.org

 

From Hopeless to Hopeful

Fikerite Tilahun has had her share of challenges in life. She lost both of her parents as well as her younger brother to HIV. Fikerite was also born profoundly deaf. Since joining the BCI program, her self-esteem has improved and she has learned sign language at a special school.

Sadly, Fikerite has been taken advantage of many times in her life due to her disability. Having a disability is difficult no matter where you live, but those who live in a culture that is less educated about disabilities struggle the most. When Fikerite tried to work as a waitress, the restaurant did not follow through on their commitment to pay her. Without intervention from BCI to help Fikerite find a good working situation, she would have no opportunity for success. 

We were thrilled to learn about a newly opened furniture manufacturing company near Debre Zeyit. The owner has a passion for helping the deaf community and has hired deaf staff members. Goldy, our lead social worker, took Fikerite on a tour of the company and the owner agreed to hire Fikerite and pay her a salary. She is starting off by doing clean up and training. The company has also agreed to pay her transportation after school. In God’s perfect timing, He provided an employment opportunity for Fikerite that is a blessing beyond belief. img_6447-00000002

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Donate Used Technology Devices

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Did you receive a new laptop, tablet, or cell phone for Christmas? Is your old device sitting in a drawer somewhere, unused? If so, we would be thrilled to repurpose this device for the benefit of our children.

Imagine how much smaller your knowledge of the world would be if you had never used a computer, cell phone, or tablet. A quick Google search yields millions of results, and solves many day-to-day problems for most of us. In today’s world, lack of access to technology creates a poverty in knowledge that puts one increasingly out of touch with a quickly developing world.

We want to help our children become engaged in the world around them. We believe that providing them access to technology is necessary to make this happen. We would love to offer a prize, such as a laptop, for the winner of our English competition this spring. Not only would this be a prize beyond the wildest imagination of our students, and something that would open up the world to them, it would also serve as a great motivator to ensure that our students study hard for the competition and improve their English skills.

If you have a laptop, tablet or cell phone that you are not using and would like to donate to our program to be used as a prize for the spring English competition, please let us know by March 1st. You can mail the device to our office at 2267 Fraser Road, Kawkawlin, MI 48631.

Building Hope Update: New Staff Room

As part of the renovation at the BCI Academy to fulfill accreditation for high school, the existing staff room had to be converted to a classroom. This left the teachers without a room to prepare their lesson plans. A new staff room was recently built and it is an improvement over the previous room.  The new staff room overlooks the playground, which allows more eyes on the children while they are at recess, and the staff can clearly see the students come and go from the school. Since two of the walls and the concrete slab were pre-existing, the addition was able to be built at minimal expense, helping the build project to stay on budget. We are now one step closer to completing the BCI Academy upgrade project.

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Completed Staff Room

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Painting in Process

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Beginning Stages of Staff Room Build

 

Double Your Gift

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We recently put out word that the BCI Academy is in need of a school bus, stove, and footings for the new addition. The total cost of these three items is $7,500 USD. One donor responded to the need in a big way – offering to match any donations toward these projects, dollar-for-dollar, up to $3,750.

At times like these we are reminded that though our challenges are overflowing, so are our blessings.

If you would like to take advantage of the generosity of this donor and double your gift, please contact us at the office by March 1st.

2267 Fraser Road
Kawkawlin, MI  48631
(989) 667-8850
Info@BlessingTheChildren.org

Donations can be mailed to the BCI office, called in, or made online at http://www.BlessingTheChildren.org/donate.

 

An Excellent Problem

Renovation of the BCI Academy is well underway, with improvements to the current school as well as an addition in the works. The teachers have been trained, new desks have been built, and plans are in progress for the new addition.

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Teacher Training Session at the BCI Academy

When our BCI President traveled to Ethiopia in November, he was able to see the wonderful progress first-hand as well as the excitement of the students and staff, who are enthusiastic about the upgrades and energy at the school. While in Ethiopia, he identified a few additional needs at the school.

The BCI Academy is growing in popularity due to the strong reputation for providing excellence in education. Enrollment is now approaching 500 students! This is a wonderful blessing, as we can now impact even more lives. The expansion does come with some growing pains – we have outgrown the stove in the cafeteria as well as our school bus.

Our staff in Ethiopia are creative and are accustom to making the best of any situation. When they find themselves in situations that we would consider unacceptable, they do not complain – they make do. As you can see from the photo below, our cook is cheerfully preparing school lunch, despite the fact that the pots don’t even fit on the stove. The cost of a new stove to meet the needs of the growing student body is $2,200 USD.

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Cook Prepares Lunch at the BCI Academy

When we outgrew our school bus, we had to begin renting a larger bus. The rental fees are high and this is is not a sustainable solution, so our BCI President and Ethiopian Program Director went shopping for a larger bus. They were thrilled to discover an American-style school bus, a rare find in Ethiopia. This is exactly the solution that we need. Our Program Director put in a low-ball offer at the auction and was shocked to win the bid for the school bus. The only problem is that we need to make a payment of $4,500 USD to secure the bus.

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Overcrowded BCI Academy School Bus

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New American-Style School Bus

We consider our growing student population to be an excellent kind of problem!

Please pray that we will be able to meet these needs so that we can effectively serve our children at the BCI Academy.

If you would like to partner with us to meet these needs, you may contact us at the office at (888) 269-2719 or make a one-time gift online: http://blessingthechildren.org/Donate/index.html

A Christmas Blessing

Genet and Yohannes Mamo are teenage siblings who have been through a lot together. They live with their mother in a very small house that is in poor condition. Their mother is blind and cannot provide care for them. Genet and Yohannes do all of the chores, including the cooking. There is no father present since he left the family when their mother accepted Christ. The children are resilient and do the best they can, but as they grow it is getting harder for them to make do in their current living arrangements.

Their uncle donated land for them to build an additional room on their house. Unfortunately, they have not had the finances to build the addition. What a blessing it was when a donor stepped up and offered to cover the cost of this addition. We know that having more space in the house and improved living conditions will make a great impact on the quality of life for this family and we look forward to sharing this wonderful Christmas blessing with them!

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Genet and Yohannes Mamo

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Inside the Mamo Home

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Genet and Yohanne’s Mother Outside the Family Home

plot-of-land-debre-zeyit-ethiopiaLand for the New Addition