Category Archives: Success Stories

Changing children’s lives one at a time, that is the moto for Blessing the Children. These are the updates on children in the Life Sponsorship program.

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.

Natnaelplayroom
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!

Natnaelhome
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.

2015-11 Looms Project 101726

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.

Handmade Ethiopian Scarf 111504

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!