Life Sponsorship Gives Hope and Leads to Success

Eyob Teklu
Eyob Teklu

Eyob Teklu is a bright, creative, and hard working 19-year-old who was one of the first children to join the BCI program in 2008.

Eyob lives with his mother, younger sister, and grandmother. His mother had him at the very young age of 14 and unfortunately, when her parents couldn’t accept their pregnant daughter, they kicked her out.  Eyob’s father was not around, so that forced his mother to raise him on her own.  One can only imagine how hard it would be for such a young girl to raise a child, with no family support and no income.  Thankfully, BCI discovered Eyob in April 2008 when he was 11 years old  and he became one of the first children sponsored through the program.

Eyob is a very bright young man. As he got older, his mom, sister, teaIMG_6381chers, the school principal, and his friends all expected a lot from him. They could see him going places and  furthering his education but for reasons only God knows, when it came time to take his tenth grade pre-college qualification exam, he didn’t pass.  This was very unexpected and extremely disappointing for Eyob, who had worked so hard in school and had his own dreams of being successful.  He believed that this was his one ticket to a better future for his family and him.

For quite some time, Eyob was angry at life and at God. He felt defeated and hated everything. But when all seemed lost, God intervened. He spoke to Eyob through his friends, who eIMG_6388ncouraged Eyob to not give up, but to explore another path.  With this urging, Eyob registered for Technical and Vocational Training (TVT) the very next year and began studying to be a chef.

Now, Eyob’s life is completely different.   After spending a half-day in vocational training, he goes to work in the afternoon at a restaurant called Dyrt as an assistant chef. Eyob gets to bake and makes bread, pizza and beautiful cakes.  For now, depending on the work he does, he is paid a minimum of 1000 birr ($45 USD) per month.Eyob is a visionary with a lot of dreams and aspirations. He is not the kind of person who sits around waiting for things to happen. If he wants something, he will do everything he can to make sure that he gets it. Just  talking with Eyob you can see his passion and sense that he has the makings of a great leader.

Eyob is also very responsible, saving every extra penny he gets and making sure his mother and sister are taken care of. Eyob has been through a lot in life with never knowing his father and having vision problems but this hasn’t stopped him from working hard and dreaming big. Eyob’s biggest goal is to one day open his own restaurant and when asked if he thinks he is successful he replied, “I am not successful yet, but I am on my way”. Above all, Eyob is very thankful for what has happened in his life and would especially like to thank his sponsors and BCI for everything they have done for him

Eyob’s story is a prime example of why we do what we do.  Your sponsorship makes a difference. Your sponsorship changes lives. Just imagine, what will your sponsored child grow up to be?

 

Heart Surgery Given Wings

Natnael (Nati) is a quiet boy who has endured much more pain and suffering than anyone should ever have to endure. When Blessing the Children found him, he was five years old, wandering the streets of Debre Zeyit, crying and very hungry. Nati had been in town for about 20 days. His parents recently passed away and someone put him on a bus to come to his uncle’s house.

Natnael when he registered for sponsorship

Nati lives with his uncle, aunt, and young cousin.  Neither Nati’s aunt or uncle work because of their age and physical ailments so the added pressure of another mouth to feed has put a great strain on the family. Upon admittance to the program, Blessing the Children took Nati to the doctor for a routine physical, where it was discovered he has a serious heart condition called a ventricular septal defect (a hole in his heart).

After this discovery in 2011, Nati’s long journey began. Five years of tests, medicine, poking, prodding and visits to numerous different specialists and hospitals. At one point, in 2013, Nati was schedule to have heart surgery in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, but his case was put on hold for unknown reasons.

After the Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia put Nati’s case on hold, we began looking at options to bring Nati to the U.S. or Canada for treatment. After speaking with several doctors and specialists from all over the world, we were told about Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in India. Fortis is said to be the best cardiac hospital in India and comparable to the best in the world. With India being a closer option than the U.S. and with less visa restrictions for Nati and our staff, we began making plans.

Natnael in 2012

Finally, after five years, Nati was approved for his surgery in India! With this joyous announcement came another hurdle though – cost. Between the cost of the surgery, airfare, room and board, and meals, Blessing the Children needed to raise close to $13,000 USD to cover this trip.

With passion, diligence, and the support of many generous donors, we were able to raise the funds needed for Nati and scheduled his surgery for Friday, January 22nd. Accompanied by Abebe, Blessing the Children’s Program Officer, Natnael left for India on January 17th.

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After surgery
Both Nati and Abebe were first time flyers and while the trip was a little bumpy for them, then arrived safely in India for Nati’s surgery, which went off without a hitch! After his surgery, Nati spent a few days in the ICU for monitoring and was able to have solid foods. After his 10-day checkup, Nati got the ok to start moving around and even made his way to the children’s play area to read a book and color.

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In the playroom

After two weeks, Nati’s appetite was back with vigor and he was excited to do a little sightseeing around town. As Nati’s body continued to heal, the hospital staff monitored him and gave him the OK to travel home three weeks after his surgery.

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Enjoying the taste of food!

 

Upon Nati’s arrival home, he was checked by a local doctor and we are excited to say he is doing great. This has been a long, painful journey for Nati but he has kept a positive attitude and a light heart. We are excited that Nati has been able to join BCI Academy for his education and look forward to the appetite he will bring to the table for learning. This experience has been life changing, and lifesaving, and we are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for Nati’s future!

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Natnael cutting bread at his “Welcome Home” celebration

 

 

Weaving Blessings – Income for Life Project

Providing food and shelter to the poor and impoverished children and families of Debre Zeyit is a lifesaving work but… we want to break the cycle of poverty. We want to enable our children and families to become self-sufficient to help themselves and to help others. We can’t accomplish this goal by just meeting their immediate needs and not giving them opportunities to grow, learn and development.

For children, we are accomplishing this goal by ensuring they receive a good education, which is the foundation to an independent future.

For adults, this goal is being met through our Income for Life Programs such as The Spice Project, Beekeeping, Agriculture and Food Production Programs. Another program we offer is the Loom Program. We currently have 20 widows working on nine looms, 5 of which are metal and 4 are wood.

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Working on a metal loom.

 

The women have been trained to use the looms to make scarves, which are a staple for all women and girls in Ethiopia. The scarves are worn in a variety of ways but the most traditional way is wrapped around the head. Surprisingly, 80% of scarves in Ethiopia are imported so by hand looming them, we are able to provide a superior product for a more reasonable price.

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A handloomed scarf.

 

To keep costs low on the startup and future production, our National Director, Dawit Moges, has found a way to reverse engineer the looms and save us almost $1,200 each! Dawit is a blessing to the ministry as he has a heart for people and a mind for business. Using this skill, he purchased a new metal loom from the market for $1,420 and was able to reverse engineer it to create four more looms for just $240 each.

Saving this money means the women can start seeing profit from their work sooner! It has been so inspiring to watch the women’s dedication and perseverance as they learn a new skill that is enabling them to support their family. If you would like to be a grassroots supporter of this program, a gift of just $300 will purchase a loom and start up supplies for one woman to begin working towards her future.

You can make your donation online, via mail, or phone. Every dollar helps!

http://www.blessingthechildren.org/donate

You can also purchase a small selection of scarves (and baskets) made by the women in the program through the online auction on our website or by contacting us through info@blessingthechildren.ca

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    Success Stories

    Ethiopian Government Recognizes and Rewards Blessing the Childrenland rover untitled

    Blessing the Children has been working with the Ethiopian Government’s Social Services – an organization called the Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs. Working alongside this government organization, they help us to identify the women and children who have the greatest need so that we can provide support to them.

    Through our years of work with the Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, they have seen our work, our heart, and the impact that we have. In response to this, they invited us to be part of an evaluation of the local NGO’s of similar size and outreach working in Ethiopia. This evaluation looked at four areas of each organization: financials and reporting, administrative cost, meeting objectives, and use of resources.

    After agreeing to participate in this assessment and giving the Ethiopian Government everything they required, Blessing the Children was elated to be ranked #1! Not only does this top rating come with the title of being #1 but the government also rewarded Blessing the Children with a used Toyota Land Cruiser. This reward will go a long way towards saving money on transportation, especially when taking our kids to appointments and checkups!

    We are so honored and proud to be able to do the work we do in Ethiopia and none of it would be possible without your support! Thank you to everyone who has supported us and who continues to support us – you are making this possible!

    If you would like to sponsor a child or make a donation, please visit our donate page today!

     

     

    Sisay Bekele: the boy who dreams of visiting Germany

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    Sisay BekeleSisay Bekele is a 13 year old grade 8 student at BCI Academy. He lives with his mother and his younger siblings, a 6 year old brother and 1 year old baby sister. His father passed away when they were living in a rural area. He is currently partially sponsored. His favorite class at school is geography and his least favorite is spoken English. When he goes to university he wants to study geology. When he is not in class, he plays football (or soccer) with his friends. He also enjoys what he called “planting” or gardening growing sugar cane and coffee. Here is a photo of his garden outside of his room.

    Sisay Bekele 2

    Sisay likes spending time with his grandfather in the summer break when school is not in session. He likes it because his grandpa is a farmer and they work the ground together. When school is in session, a normal day looks like class, tutoring, and on the weekend he plays with his friends and attends his local church. He said his favorite holiday is Christmas and when Christmas comes, he decorates the house.His mom is working hard to provide for her family but life is hard for them.

    When it comes to Sisay’s personality, he says he is a peacemaker as he does not like fights and what he does not like about himself is the fact he is slow to anger when someone touches him. Sisay has been in the BCI program for the past seven years and they have lived in their current home for 6 of those years. His favorite food is doro wat. Doro means chicken in Amharic and so this is a mixture eaten with injera, a sponge-like flat bread. (Doro wat is chicken wings usually mixed with boiled egg and shiro. It’s a traditional holiday time food). Sisay wants to travel to Germany someday because he likes their football players and there are more scientists there. When asked if he were to move to Canada, what would he miss about Ethiopia, he replied he would miss the holidays. Ethiopian holiday celebrations are specific to Ethiopia so that’s why he would miss them.Sisay sleeps in his own room (unlike other BCI kids) and he sleeps on a mat on the dirt floor. This is his bed

    Sisay's this is where he sleeps

    His mom stays busy raising her kids, making and selling injera and she also sells wood to construction areas nearby. She’s a gobez (gobez means good job) mom because she works so hard to provide her family as well as putting her younger kids not of school age in a daycare. Even so, the money is not enough to make ends meet and as she is a widow and on her own, this is why and how Sisay qualifies for the BCI sponsorship program. Sisay would like to say “God bless you” to his current sponsors for helping him and his family make it. He and his family appreciate what you are doing for them. If you would like to sponsor Sisay so that he is fully sponsored and receiving every benefit the full $90 sponsorship covers (medical, education, and food), please email Sheila at info@blessingthechildren.ca  or phone the office at 403-393-4159 and speak to Ronnie.

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    Spring Into Sponsorship: Fitsum Girma

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    Fitsum Girma is a new child to the BCI child sponsorship program. She has been in the program for 3 months and the family has lived in the home they are living in for one year. This family is in desperate need of immediate action as the 5 year old’s health depends on it. Fitsum is HIV+ as are her mom and her dad. Her little 3 year old brother, Fekadu, who is not in the program so far has miraculously escaped the disease. Fitsum is small for her age due to malnutrition. The last time the social worker came to visit and upon registration, the tiny girl was so weak she could not move. Today she was fairly active and a curious little girl. The mom says the difference is she started taking the HIV medication.

    Worka, their mom, washes clothes for a living and their dad, Girma, is a daily laborer. They live in an unfinished house for free serving as a guard until it is finished. The living room is bare with only a small twin mattress on the concrete floor that the whole family of four sleeps on. There were no chairs and no bed frames, only a few decorations on the wall and a few metal pots. When the house is finished the approximate cost of monthly rent is 1000 birr or $50 USD, at which point they may need to move out to another home. Currently Fitsum is not sponsored so she is not receiving any benefits from the organization to a10955206_10205909281157017_3056184887367027877_ossist her so she can be as healthy as she can be.

    Right now as you can see from the photo, her leg is wounded and even though she has sought treatment for the leg, the process has been repetitive as it will heal up as she takes medicine for it, but when she finishes the medicine, it returns. The social worker thinks this is a mix of poor hygiene and disease. When she walks and if 10945545_10205909311357772_7424866730699600594_nyou watch her, you will notice her leg is slightly bowed out. Girma told us there is a specialist in Nazreth, a good doctor, that if the assistance were to come in she could be seen for more effective treatment.

    Amidst her current health concerns, Fitsum will need to start school next year to be on time with other kids her age. She needs assistance immediately. Your donation will provide food for her, education for her, and will help fund her medical needs. The mom may even be able to participate in one of the income generation projects in order to get the training she needs to better provide for her family and thus come off support. Until that day happens, the Girma family needs your help financially and this Orthodox family needs your prayers.

    Changing Trends

    Rick and Amanda traveled to Vancouver to join the mission fest where all kinds of organizations are using their skills for the greater good of the Kingdom.  It is very heart warming to see around 175 booths showing their programs and the good that they are doing around the world. The common theme running from start to finish is that the church is moving the East. Many of the major worldwide mission organizations have Southeast Asia presidents or CEO’s, and on their board of directors.
    Many of the speakers were non western or were born and educated overseas and have since moved to the west. This is a good testimony to the work of the past generation of missions. They have developed a self sustaining, self propagating church of kingdom mentality. The church is a fluid mobile organism that no other organization can compete with. Other faiths have yet to break out of their homelands.

    Other trends:
    • The growth of Islam is through birth rate and the growth of Christianity is through conversions, especially indigenous.
    • There is a notable increase of woman and children at risk.
    • Illiteracy is on the rise
    • Destabilization of youth, economically, socially, spiritually and politically
    • Note the last three statements are relatedIMG_20150131_130530[1]

    What does this mean?
    • Should western churches be putting resources into western style church planting or empower the indigenous church to grow and disciple
    • Should new missions have the home office in the west?
    • Should the western church start Kingdom businesses overseas to fund overseas work? Resources from the west have been declining for years.

    A quote from Rick:

    “Overall I feel that BCC is moving in the right direction. Our emphasis on enabling the Ethiopian church, providing income generation for our families is a step in the right direction. Our emphasis on empowering our management team in Ethiopia will prove its worth over the coming years.”IMG_20150131_132105[1]

    Canadians CAN Grow Bananas

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    “It was reported today that a Canadian Farmer has triumphantly grown over 2000 banana trees with great success!”

    The full story should read that the Canadian Farmer stood around watching as some banana tree starts were planted in Ethiopia, producing large bunches of bananas about 7 months later.

    The bananas were started in a greenhouse, grown to 3-4 inches and then transplanted to a “milk jug” size pot for 3 months.  When they were 40 centimeters tall, with 2 broad leaves, they were transplanted again into the ground.  Banana roots need porous soil, so a red ash was added to the hole to provide drainage.  The stock or trunk will grow to about 2 meters tall, 3-4 large broad leaves, producing one large stalk or two smaller stalks that die and fall and are replaced with a new “trunk” coming from the roots.  The total life span of a banana root is about 6-7 years, producing about 10-12 stalks of bananas each weighing in at approximately 25 kg.  The fallen “trunk” can be chopped and fed to animals or removed to a composting pile.

    This fast growing highly productive plant has a huge appetite for water, nitrogen, phosphate and minerals.  The root system is immense.  Our banana trees will be flood irrigated, with fertilizers in the water.

    Come to Ethiopia, and I will let you taste a fresh banana!

    Spring Into Sponsorship

    ???????????????????????????????Many folks ask us the question, “Does sponsorship help a child?”  Well, let me tell you that I believe it does wholeheartedly.  We personally have several sponsor children and the reason that I chose to sponsor with Blessing the Children was the quality of the program.  I saw starving children getting meals, being helped out with clothing and shoes even before they were in the program and staff who genuinely cared about the children.

    I have watched the Blessing the Children program grow over the last six years of being a part of it.  Did you know you have an open invitation to visit your child with Blessing the Children?  Did yoimg_1064u know that you can send gifts and letters as often as you like?  Did you know this program runs completely threw University?  Did you know that Blessing the Children runs a training program to help the sponsored families establish a sustainable income?

    Have you always wanted to go to Africa but were hesitant because of not knowing the culture, language and how to get around.  Blessing the Children provides a skilled Social Worker to be your translator and tour guide until you feel at ease to get around.  They also explain the culture and reasons you should or should not do certain things; like taking pictures of the local military or close by the local military, right Sonia?!

    Here are a few quotes from some of sponsors:

    I was thrilled to get to meet my child first hand.  All the money that we give goes to Ethiopia and helps the child and helps pay for quality staff in Ethiopia. – Peggy

    I was amazed at how much help is given to the child and how much food they get and the quality education they receive at the school. -Sheila

    I want to sponsor a child that I know receives the majority of my money.  I like the fact that Blessing the Children runs foster homes and not an orphanage.  I know Rick and Sheila personally and I trust them. – Linda

    Blessing the Children is a registered charity with the government of Canada. The charitable number is 835486853RR0001.  You can go on the charities directorate and find our financial information.

    If you would be interested in contacting us about sponsoring a child please send an email to info@blessingthechildren.ca

     Amanda and Dibora