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

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English Club


In Ethiopia, some people speak English, but most do not speak the language fluently or with correct pronunciation. At the BCI Academy, we encourage our children to speak English and we do our best to make sure their English is correct.

State policy in Ethiopia mandates that all subjects be taught in the local language of Amharic until 9th grade. The exception is English and Afan Oromo – another local language. Beginning in 9th grade, all subjects are taught in English, with the exception of Amharic and Afan Oromo.

We believe in challenging our students to excellence, so we created the English Club to help our students excel in the language. We take the top two students from each grade along with three invited guests, for a total of 19 students. These students do not speak perfect English, but they are the ones who speak better than most.

The students engage in activities designed to promote teamwork and challenge their English skills. We do this with competitions and fun brain games. The purpose of the activities is to show appreciation for the student’s achievements and to encourage others to do the same. The older students are able to practice leadership, while the younger students gain role models.

In November, the English Club had a special opportunity to work with someone who speaks the English language perfectly – our BCI President. It was a privilege for the students involved to have this time with a native English speaker, and they enjoyed the opportunity to develop their skills.

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Students Problem Solving as a Team

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Children From Several Grades Working Together

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Venturing Outside for Group Activity

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Prayer Circle before Team Building Activity

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Building Skills at English Club

#GivingTuesday

Blessing the Children International Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement: Pledges to Furnish Beds for 15 Orphans in Ethiopia

Blessing the Children International has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

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About Us
We are Blessing the Children International, a non-profit organization rescuing orphans in Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia from poverty, homelessness and starvation.

Through our child sponsorship program, we provide food, medical care, and an education to more than 200 orphans. We are breaking the cycle of poverty, and we need your help!

Our #GivingTuesday Campaign
In a country where the majority of the population lives on less than $1 USD per day, an item like a bed is a luxury. Currently, 15 children in our program sleep on a dirt floor and have never known the comfort of a mattress. We made a commitment this holiday season to ensure that every child in our program wakes up in a warm bed on Christmas.

To meet this goal, we are in need of funds to provide a blanket ($22), mattress ($43), sheets and pillows ($28), and a bed frame ($87) to each child. The total cost for a complete bed set for one child is $180.

We are seeking support to help us reach across the world and give restful sleep to 15 of our precious children who have been broken from family tragedy and poverty.

Join Our Campaign
Donate online:
http://www.blessingthechildren.org/Donate/index.html

By phone:
(888) 269-2719

By postal mail:
Blessing the Children International
2265 Fraser Road, Kawkawlin, MI 48631

Will you help us give a precious child, like Bereket, a place to sleep?

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UPDATE: Urgent Need for Safe Housing

Back in June, we shared a story about a 13 year-old girl named Ferehiwot Sisay, who was living in extreme poverty in a house far from her school. Her family could barely fit in the cramped, one-room home they were living in, and were unable to fully participate in the community due to their long commute. We reached out for help, and our donor family responded in a big way.

We are happy to report that Ferehiwot and her family are settled into their new home. As you can see from the photos, their living conditions have greatly improved. The house has two rooms, and features a cement floor. This is a much more sanitary situation than the previous house, which had a dirt and grass floor.

Our missionaries visited the home last week and reported that Ferehiwot and her mother are thrilled with their new living arrangements. There is enough space for a bedroom and a living area, and there is a more secure front door and window. The house is much sturdier and cleaner, and the proximity to school will make it easier for Ferehiwot to attend.

Thank you to our wonderful friends who made this possible. And praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

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Ferehiwot and her Mother Outside Their Home

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View of the Front Door from the Inside

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Prints on the Wall

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Cement Floor

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Ferehiwot Smiles with her Social Worker, Sibling, and Mother

Connecting with Your Child

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Even in an age where the majority of communication takes place electronically, there is still something exciting about receiving a letter in the mail. Now imagine if that was the only mode of communication you had with the outside world. Receiving letters in the mail is thrilling for our children. They are a tangible reminder of the care and love of their sponsors.

We encourage you to write to your child and foster a relationship. You can share stories about happenings in your life that they may find interesting, and you can ask about their interests, school progress, and home life to get to know your child.

Letters should be mailed to:

Blessing the Children International
2267 Fraser Road
Kawkawlin, MI  48631

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If you would like to send a package to your child, you are welcome to do this as well. The children are always in need of clothing, shoes, backpacks, toys, hygiene and educational items.

When mailing a package to your child, please include the child’s full name on the inside of the package.

Packages should be mailed to:

Blessing the Children
P.O. Box 1410
Debre Zeyit, East Shoa
Ethiopia

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Other ways you can send a little extra support to your child include sending a financial gift that can be used for:

  • Birthday gift
  • Birthday party
  • Christmas gift
  • Other holiday (Easter, for example)
  • Back-to-school clothes shopping
  • Additional food support

If sending a financial gift with a specific purpose, please let us know how you would like it to be used. Our staff in Ethiopia will be happy to take your child on a shopping trip to purchase the items you have requested.

Gifts can be made online:

http://www.BlessingTheChildren.org/donate

Or mailed to our office:

Blessing the Children International
2267 Fraser Road
Kawkawlin, MI  48631

 

The Results Are In: 8th Grade National Exam

We have received the results of the 8th grade National Exam, which all of our 8th grade students were required to take at the end of the school year. This exam determines their high school placement and career opportunities.

We are extremely proud of the efforts of our staff and students, and would like to recognize our top three performers.

  1. Nathnael Birhanu (99.68%)
  2. Mintesinot Gashaw (99.04%)
  3. Efrem Alebachew (96.39%)

Congratulations to all!

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Nathnael

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Mintesinot

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Efrem

 

Activity Day: The Prodigal Son

At BCI, we feel that our children, staff, and donors are one big family where everyone has an important role.  By working together, we are creating real change. We don’t think that we can operate like a family without having a relationship with one another. Not all of our children attend the same school, and they don’t all live side by side. They benefit greatly from having opportunities to socialize as a group, and we feel that it is our responsibility to provide these opportunities. We sponsor activity days for this purpose.

Activity days are typically held on Saturday’s. We bring all of the children in our program together on the BCI Academy grounds. There is always an educational component along with social bonding activities, and the children share a meal together.

At our most recent activity day, the children were shown a movie about the Prodigal Son. Our staff chose this movie to remind the children how much God loves us all, and that we exist because of His infinite love. We know that as they grow, our children will all be responsible for making important decisions in their lives. We want to provide them with as much information as possible and hope they will make good choices.

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BCI Program Director Cares for Wounded Child

It is always an exciting day when we receive photo updates of our children. We found a treasure in our most recent update – a video taken several months ago that warmed our hearts. Our Ethiopian Program Director was filmed providing medical care to Fitsum Girma. Until this summer, when she was able to have surgery to treat her Osteomyelitis, Fitsum required frequent medical care. Her wound had to be carefully cleaned and bandaged daily for many months.

We have a number of social workers and staff who could have provided this care. We found it touching that our Program Director took on this responsibility himself. In the midst of all of the tasks he has to complete to keep the program running for more than 200 children, he carved out time in his day to personally treat Fitsum. We feel blessed to have a Program Director who cares so much for each and every child in our program.

Take a look!

Our Resourceful Staff

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We are blessed to have a wonderful staff in Ethiopia committed to helping us live out our mission. Our staff members are skilled at maximizing all of their resources. It is their passion for fulfilling the BCI mission that drives them to do this. Those who have traveled to Debre Zeyit on a mission trip or internship have witnessed this first hand.

An excellent example of their skill was recently on display when they took on the task of hand making new desks for our kindergarten students. The existing desk chairs were starting to break, and the older kindergarten students were outgrowing them. Rather than purchase new desks, which would have been expensive and not exactly according to the student needs, our staff made new, custom desks in our workshop.

Making our own desks saved money and the desks take up less room in the school, allowing more space for the students to move freely. Each desk is able to hold three children, and the new desks are comfortable.

We love to hear these stories of our staff making wise choices and stretching our resources. Not only does this help us do the most good possible, we also believe they are a great example to the children at BCI Academy.