Category Archives: Life Sponsorship

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.

Natnaeleating
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

 

 

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.

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

Will You Help Me?

 

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Meet Fitsum Girma. She is 5 years old and lives with her 3-year-old brother and both parents. She is unfortunately HIV positive, as well as both her parents. Providentially, her brother has not contracted the disease. Fitsum lives in a skeleton of a house. The house is in the process of being built, and the owner of the house allows them to stay, to be a sort of guard of the property. They live there rent free until the house is finished, at which point they either leave or pay the monthly rent. Her mother washes clothes as a living and her father works delivery. Neither job brings in enough money to sustain the family.

Fitsum also has a skin problem with her leg. She was taking an ointment for it, but has finished it. While she was on the medicine, she was doing better; but now her leg is getting bad again. Fitsum is currently completely unsponsored and needs $90/month to be fully sponsored. However, she may be sponsored by multiple people. Three people at $30/month or six people at $15/month. She needs sponsors. She needs medicine. She needs a place to stay when her home is finished.

Please consider what you can do to help Fitsum. Sponsorship will give her the needed medicines, provide her with monthly food supplies, and will allow her to go to school next year when she is old enough.

Contact Sheila Lamb at SLamb@blessingthechildren.ca for information on how to sponsor. Or go to www.blessingthechildren.ca and visit their donation page!10635825_10205909314837859_2636504709613988427_n  10945545_10205909311357772_7424866730699600594_n 10955206_10205909281157017_3056184887367027877_o

Family in need of new mattress and food for three boys

Meet Yakob, Yisik, and Mussie Dereje, three brothers who have one baby sister named Lydia. They live with their mom and dad who are both HIV+ in the 2 room house pictured above. The kids are not HIV+. Yakob is fully sponsored however the other two are only partially sponsored. The kids have been in the program for 7 years except for Mussie as he has been a program kid for 2 years.

When Mussie grows older he wants to be an engineer and Yakob wants to be a doctor. Yisik didn’t have an answer at the time. They are all attending BCI Academy and currently are preparing for a week of final exams. A normal weekend for them is spent washing clothes and attending their church, Meserete Kristos (the downtown branch). Monday through Friday they go to school, read, study, and play with their friends. They like going to church, playing and walking with their friends in their spare time. If they ever traveled to another country Yakob says he would miss his friends, Yisik says he would miss the shiro, and Mussie would miss dabo (bread). If the boys ever did get to travel to another country, Yisik says he would like to travel to Arab countries to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, while Yakob would like to go to America and Mussie would go to Canada both to see their sponsors.

On the summer break (coming up in two weeks), they plan on helping their mom, playing and visiting another village. When asked about their personality, character, and what makes them who they are, the boys took their time in thinking about their answer. Yisik says he likes playing but gets grumpy and cries sometimes. He likes that he can keep peace with his friends as much as he can but doesn’t like that he gets angry at times with them. Yakob says he is tolerant to a point but when he reaches his breaking point, it takes a long time for him to calm down. He likes to pray and is a clever student. Mussie likes playing and that’s all we got from him on the subject.

Yisik, Mussie, and Yakob
in order from left to right


They would tell their sponsors to pray for them, that they always pray for them and they miss them. They would like you to pray for their education. Yakob is in grade 4 and is 10 years old, Yisik is in grade 6 and is 12 years old, and Mussie is in grade 1 at 7 years old. As for their favorite subject, Yakob’s favorite subject is science, Yisik likes math, and Mussie enjoys Amharic. The boys find studying the English language hard, whether it is Spoken English or English Grammar.

Currently the family could use a new mattress for the boys to sleep on as they have and are outgrowing their current one that all three boys share. The price for a large mattress is roughly 1800 birr or about $50 CDN. The mom also mentioned they needed teff to make injera and for one month for a family that size, the estimate cost for the purchase of teff is between 400-500 birr or $25-$30 CDN. If you would like to help deliver these items so the family gets all they have asked for, please contact our office at info@blessingthechildren.ca

Two siblings struggle with adult concerns living on their own.

IMG_2500Eighteen year old Gemechu Eyasu, a grade 12 student at the only  school for 11-12th graders in Debre Zeyit called preparatory school, while better off than he and his sister had been, is struggling to survive livin a hard life in Ethiopia. He and his sister, Merkitu, age 14 and a grade 9 student at Bishoftu Secondary School, live together on their own without any family to help them. The two kids lost their family some time ago and have lived in Debre Zeyit the past seven years. They do have an older sister who is not that involved at 20 years old and who left to marry at 19. Before entering BCI’s program, the kids were totally on their own without any sponsorship or missionaries helping them have the place they live at now. Gemechu is partia lly sponsored and the two kids are in need of more people willing to share their finances.

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Gemechu is studying hard preparing for the national exam for entrance to a university of the Ethiopian government’s choice. You must get good marks (like all A’s in our grading system in the west) in all the core subjects or you don’t get to go to university. Habeshas do not get to choose which school they go to like you can in America as the government is different with less freedoms and programs. He thought of studying medicine but now he wants to be an engineer. Merkitu wants to go into medicine. With both students fastly approaching university, current needs aside from adult concerns like monthly rent and food cost include school needs like paper, writing utensils, and a laptop for university classes.

When not in school, Gemechu likes spending time with his friends, reading, and watching movies. Over the la st summer break, he spent his time teaching 3-4 kids not in school and is a leader in his church’s fellowship program. The kids do their own laundry on the weekends, clean the house, and Merkitu makes injera. Both kids attend church regularly as they are believers in Jesus Christ. When asked their favorite bible verse or a verse that gets them through, Gemechu said his likes 1 and 2 Timothy and Merkitu’s favorite is Ecclesiates 9:11: “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”

Is God tugging on your heart to sponsor Gemechu or Merkitu Eyasu? To be fully sponsored Gemechu only needs one person to step up with $30 a month. If He’s calling you to provide, sign up to make your donation at www.blessingthechildren.ca/donate. These great kids thank you in advance and pray God blesses you and that He is with you. They pray for you that you live a happy life. 

My House and My Horse

What does your house look like? Is it a handsome house, built to impress; your dream house, with a white picket fence; a modest house on the family farm? Perhaps it is a beautiful, spacious apartment; maybe you live in a very small apartment; maybe you live in a dormitory or residence.
But I live here. I am blessed to live in a two-room house with my mother and three siblings, as well as my aunt, cousin, and grandmother. Our large room is just long enough that I can lay down in it without touching either the wall at my head or my mother laying crosswise at my feet. The other room is too short for me to even lie down in, and is just wide enough for me to squeeze past my sister as she sits cross-legged to cook.
Is your bed rich, vintage, modern, or simple? Maybe your mattress is on the floor. And what kind of mattress do you have? Pillow Top? Innerspring? Memory Foam? Euro Top? Orthopedic? My mattress is a rough, empty burlap sack, because I give the younger children the nice mattresses of thinly spread clothes.
What stove do you cook on? Is it gas or electric? Do you like to barbeque over charcoal? Ours is a charcoal stove, but we don’t actually burn charcoal in it. Instead, we burn the manure from my horse, because we cannot afford to buy charcoal.
My horse. I should tell you about my horse. I take care of my family, because I am the man of the house now. When my father left, I had to take care of the women and children, so I am a driver in town. We cannot afford to go to school anyway, so it does not matter that I work while my friends learn in their grades 7 and 8 classrooms. Every morning I take the horse into town and she becomes a taxi, driving this way and that way all day long. In the evening, when we are both so tired and business slows, I buy food and supplies for my horse and then count our profit. Some days I count more than thirty Birr! (CAD1.70) and some days much less remains. My mother uses our day’s wages to buy food and soap, but it is not always enough. I do not know how we will pay rent at the end of the month if I cannot earn more and save more each day. The only other option we have is for my sister to begin to work for men, but I cannot bear that thought. Some of her friends have started already, but I cannot—I will not!—think of her joining them in that part of town. So I go to town earlier and come home later. I will provide. We will endure. Will you help me? Through Blessing the Children Canada, you can sponsor any of the four younger children for $30, $60, or $90 per month. Then I wouldn’t have to worry so much. Please—before you get into your soft, warm bed tonight, after a filling meal in your beautiful home—please think of us and pray for us.
Click here to read the rest of the story.
Send us a message or give us a call (403.393.4159) to sponsor one of the four children.
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