Key Projects

Schools

Since Blessing the Children was founded in 2009, the Lord has blessed this organization by entrusting us with children. The first step was that of allowing a sponsorship-based program to be developed. The next step was that of Blessing the Children International, also known as BCI Academy which is an umbrella term for two schools: DZ Campus and Bethlehem School. In 2013 we received access to a building right by DZ Campus. This building was transformed into a pre-school and kindergarten. We were ecstatic to find something so close to the DZ Campus! In the fall of 2017, we were given the responsibility of yet another school, already developed and functioning, entitled Bethlehem school. Education is a passion where, over time, we trust that we will see bright young children escaping the grasp of poverty! For more information click on the drop-down menu below! We look forward to seeing how God will further develop our passion                                                                                  for the  education of Ethiopian children in the future!

BCI Academy-DZ Campus

Schools; they are indeed a large focus of what Blessing the Children is involved in. As you read through the information about the schools there are a few different terms we use that may become confusing. BCI Academy is the umbrella term that we use. This term incorporates both the DZ Campus and the Bethlehem School. Whereas the names DZ Campus and Bethlehem School refer to an individual school location. 

 

Seeing the need for quality education, we decided to do something about it! We started construction of the DZ Campus in January 2009.  Our short term missionaries assisted in building the school until it was completed in the fall of 2013.  The school was constructed in three phases as money permitted. The one story 'u' shaped building is constructed of cement and brick.  The electricity was brought in early 2014.  We have figured out that a school is never finished!

Kindergarten

In 2013, located out the back gate of the DZ Campus, and a walk across the road was a wonderful gated three-room complex that came on the market. It meant, with the close location to the already functioning DZ Campus, that the kids had access to the playground, the computer lab, the running water, and electricity, as well as the cafeteria. It was a no-brainer decision to turn the complex into the kindergarten premises and we had the surprise anonymous and generous donation to buy the place! How richly the Lord provides!

Over the course of the following year, we had the privilege of having a few different Mission teams come and liven up the place, make it feel more welcoming and enticing for young children to learn. This included painting, putting in western bathrooms and a storage water tank. Thank-you to all those who assisted us in this! You have impacted the learning experience of so many children!

The Kindergarten has enrolled on average 60 children at the DZ Campus, starting at age 4. Kindergarten is an all-day event where the learning of numbers, of the alphabet, colours, and shapes are very common. Also, just like the elementary and middle school age kids, our Feeding Program is incorporated at the school. Sponsor children are given lunch through a cafeteria style format. Lunch may include injera (the local flatbread), rice or pasta with sauce.  Many children also get their first chance to hold a book in their hands due to the underprivileged nature many of the children come from. In Ethiopian education culture, there is no pre-school, instead, it is entitled Kindergarten 1, 2, and 3 with each student doing three years of kindergarten. It is particularly peaceful at the kindergarten room if you happen to visit in the early afternoon where it is normal to see the children taking a nap!


We are so thankful for the staff that so lovingly guide the children in kindergarten. We have noticed over the years, that students coming from our KG program enter grade 1 with a higher standard compared to those of other schools and it could not happen without our dedicated staff! Just like any other school in Canada, teachers are disciplining bad behavior, working with different personalities, encouraging ambitious and melancholy students. Across the globe it seems, teachers are continually encouraging a diverse student body to impact this world for the better. We are truly grateful for your dedication!

Elementary and Middle School

DZ Campus houses about 400 students from Grade 1-8; who consist of some sponsorship program children and community children.  The community children pay school fees to come to the school while the sponsored children fees are paid through their sponsors.  Thank you to all the sponsors!  Our class size is approximately half the size of the government school.  Our intention is to try and keep it minimal.

A day at Ethiopian school is very similar to that of a day spent in a Canadian school. Many children will ride the bus, those who are near the school will walk. As kids arrive at school there will be a time to play and recess will be held throughout the day. There are a variety of school subjects such as English, Amharic (the local language), reading and writing, math, science, civic studies, computer class and of course many children's favorite: gym class. Much of the time you will the children playing soccer!

Another element that is incorporated into our schools if our Feeding Program. For all those who are underprivileged, lunch is provided through the sponsorship program for all those that attend. Lunch could include injera (the local flatbread), with a spicy sauce, it could be pasta or rice with a sauce. We are very thankful for the lunch ladies who work so very hard to feed hundreds of kids each day for lunch.

All of our school staff are Ethiopian University graduates that hold either diplomas or degrees in Education.  We have approximately 25 staff members.  We would love to have a staff room for our teachers as we think they deserve to have a comfortable place to relax!

We also have a computer lab which started in 2015 and students are learning computer skills.  The one thing the school lacks for now is a proper science lab and that will be the next project that is taken on.

It’s our goal to produce the best-educated young adults possible and to send them forth into the world with purpose and a challenge to make a difference in their country.

Teachers and staff pour themselves into these previously hopeless lives while pointing the children to Jesus all the while. The students are transformed into dedicated, hope-filled, contributing members of society – fully equipped to fulfill their God-given destiny.

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BCI Academy-Bethlehem School

Schools; they are indeed a large focus of what Blessing the Children is involved in. As you read through the information about the schools there are a few different terms we use that may become confusing. BCI Academy is the umbrella term that we use. This term incorporates both the DZ Campus and the Bethlehem School. Whereas the names DZ Campus and Bethlehem School refer to an individual school location.

 

In 2017, God had a new adventure for Blessing the Children Development Organization to explore. The government of Ethiopia had seen the work done at DZ Campus, the transformation of the children, the progress towards quality education, and the quality facility, and as a reward, entrusted a complete school. This school is located in the same city as the DZ Campus, but is more centrally located. This makes it very accessible for many students. Approximately 1000 students attend this school which has kindergarten through grade nine.

Kindergarten

The kindergarten school located at Bethlehem averages about 150 students. Ethiopia's school system is unique. Rather than having pre-schools and kindergarten classes, Ethiopia breaks it down into Kindergarten 1, 2, and 3. Each child will attend kindergarten three years to get the child to learn things like counting, Amharic (the local language), the structure of school and prepares them to learn when they enter elementary school.

Like all children at such a young age, they tend to love their school teachers. We are proud to say that we have some great staff partnering with us. Seven Kindergarten teachers oversee the 150 children throughout the day which will consist of an all-day program, learning to count with marshmallows and fruit loops (pictured right), learning the alphabet, even some simple math. Keep in mind that many of the children come from underprivileged families, so even the exposure to storybooks will occur for the first time in kindergarten.

Elementary and Middle School

The Bethlehem school is located on the same premises as the Kindergarten classrooms. This school has grades 1-10 and teaches about 1000 kids through these grades. Unlike the DZ Campus, this school location is very much central. As a result, all of the students will walk to school. This is a very common reality for most students no matter which school they attend within Bishoftu.

The school day for many children will be a time of great excitement. Throughout their school years, they will have many first experiences. It could be the first time holding a pencil, getting their first workbook, having their own backpack, their first time playing on a playground, or even having a book- in the form of their textbooks.  Ethiopian children do not have the luxury of early childhood books in their language or any other! There is generally little money to be able to put towards publishing books or other resources for the school system. So it is possible that you may even see children sharing textbooks. Yet, we are blessed to be a part of impacting the school system for the better!

School is an environment where we at Blessing the Children enjoy exposing the children of Bishoftu to new ideas, new thoughts,  and even encourage their ability to dream! Education has a far-reaching impact and to be able to be a part of that, there is no greater privilege!  And YOU can partner with us through sponsoring a child! If you are interested please click on the link provided to see more information on our Life Sponsorship program.

 

 


Young Life

We are excited to share with you that we have partnered with Young Life located in Bishoftu, formerly known as Debre Zeit! The spiritual growth of kids is very important to us, but we also know that getting the gospel out has not been one of our strengths. So, we found someone where this is their passion and strength! We and the children of our schools have been greatly affected because of the work of Young Life Ethiopia! For more information on our relationship with Young life, click on this link: Young Life Partnership. For more information on Young Life Africa, click on the link below to visit their webpage!

Young Life

 

 

 


Loom Project

The Loom Project was designed to make an income for the mothers of our sponsorship children.  The mothers have a great desire to care for their family. For the vast majority of families, the father is not around for a variety of reasons, so it is up to mom to care for her children, many times anywhere from one to four children! This is a great challenge. As a result, we wanted to do something about it! The Loom Project formed! A large majority of any weaving materials in Ethiopia are imported. As a result, we created a program that would allow moms to make an income so they could support their own families. Below contains the drop-down menu for each mother that has been impacted by this project, along with their story and vision for this project.

 

Bezuayehu Mamo

IMG_7097Bezuayehu Mamo is 25 years old with one child, Meron Yakob (7 years). She grew up in Bacajou, which is about 2 hours from Bishoftu, where she has lived 18 years now. She first moved to Bishoftu in order to go to school, and reached Grade 10 before having to drop out.

She remembers the day that Blessing the Children first entered them into the Life Sponsorship program, because her child had been crying when they saw another family in the area be visited by BCC staff and missionaries. When those staff noticed her child's tears, they immediately came to their aid.

She says that the Income for Life program gives her great hope for herself and her child, because she knows that if she works hard her products will sell and she's guaranteed an income. Her vision for the future is that one day they'll be able to employ as many as 200 people in the loom project, and that it will become a very large and well known company.

Abebech Berga

IMG_7089Abebech Berga is is 25 years old with 1 child, Yohanis Gezign (10 years old). She grew up in Koletta, about 2 hours away from Bishoftu. She was brought to Bishoftu as a little girl to live with her Uncle. She attended school in Bishoftu until Grade 10.

Blessing the Children first discovered Abebech's family when one of our social workers, Tigist, met her.

Abebech is very hopeful for the Loom Project, stating that Ethiopia has a shortage of looms and weavers, and she knows that if they work hard they can get bigger. Her hope for the future is that one day soon they'll be able to fill the entire warehouse with looms.

Bezunesh Neguse

IMG_7094Bezunesh Neguse is 36 years old with 2 children in our Life Sponsorship program, and one more who is not enrolled. Atchwuchala is 4, Sayume Debaba is 11, and Asegete Debaba is 13. She was born in Bishoftu and has lived her whole life here, and attended a local school until Grade 9.

Blessing the Children first found Bezunesh's family when a member of Lem Lem church, Aster, employed her to cook and clean. Aster then told her about Blessing the Children and encouraged her to seek us out for help.

Bezunesh believes in the power of work and purpose, gaining hope from Income for Life for not only a sustainable income, but for a change to come in both herself and her family through the program. She dreams of the Loom Project one day being big enough that they can begin to export their products to other countries.

Werke Shumi

IMG_7067Werke Shumi is 37 years old and has one child, Geleta (11 years old). She grew up in Dekaka, an hour away from Bishoftu, and attended school there up to Grade 3. 18 Years ago she moved to Bishoftu with her husband.

Werke had heard about the Loom Project from BCC and enrolled in the training 5 months ago. She has "very big hope" for the loom project, and is happy to be working in such a good job.

Werke has a very big heart, and she is very eager to use her income from the Loom Project not only for her family, but to help others that she knows are in need as well. Her vision for the Loom Project is only just beginning, but she can't wait to see more looms purchased and to have a lot more work to do!

Maza Tariku (Management)

Maza TarikuMaza Tariku is 33 years old and has one child, Abe. She grew up in Jema, which is in the far south of Ethiopia, and attended school there until Grade 9. She first moved to Bishoftu with her husband several years ago.

Maza was one of our first moms to enroll in the Loom Project, and has seen it grow from an idea into reality.

Maza has great hope in the Loom Project, saying that as long as God is with us and with BCC, there will always be hope. She believes the project will not only give hope to her family and others enrolled in the program, but that it will give hope to many more who see it grow. She strongly believes that in the future the Loom Project will grow with God's help.

Menbere G'Meskel

Menbere G'MeskeMenbere G'Meske is 35 years old with 2 children. Her eldest, Howie Degaga, is 17 years old, and her youngest, Yepserafsa is 8. She grew up in Meki, which she says is very far away from Bishoftu, and attended school until Grade 3. 15 years ago she moved to Bishoftu with her husband and toddler.

Menbere heard about the Loom Project through her friend Nigist, who attends Zion Church. She enrolled in the program 2 months ago and attended training.

Menbere is very hopeful for the Loom Project. She says that if you work hard you can not only sell the products you make, but you can make good changes in yourself. She looks forward to a future where there are many more looms filling the warehouse, and the company is much bigger.

Almaz Tulema

Almaz TulemaAlmaz Tulema is 32 years old and has 3 children enrolled in the Life Sponsorship program, and one child who is not. Her eldest is Yisak, 12 years old, then Yakob, age 10, Mussie, age 9, and baby Deborah, who is 1 year old. She grew up in Bakajo, which is 1 hour away from Bishoftu. She moved to Bishoftu 22 years ago when she accepted Christ. In Bakajo it is common to follow old tribal beliefs, worshiping demons and idols, so after accepting Christ she felt she could no longer stay there.

Almaz has never had opportunity to go to school before, so when Pastor Tadesse met her family and encouraged her to train in the loom project, she was very excited to do so and became one of our first Moms in the project.

 

Almaz says that she has found great hope in Jesus, and now even more hope in finding the Loom Project. She believes that the change she will see in herself and her family as she works hard for the Loom Project will be very good. She is currently looking forward to the day that there are at least 10 looms for them to use, and knows that the Loom Project is sure to grow.

Astere Abebe

Astere Abebe (2)Astere Abebe is 30 years old and has one child, Selam, age 3. She grew up in Bishoftu and attended school there until Grade 6.

One of the BCDO office workers, Yeshi, first told her about the Blessing the Children, encouraging her to enroll her child in Life Sponsorship and to enroll herself in the Loom Project.

Astere has great hope in the Loom Project. She believes that with hard work, she's sure to succeed and that she will be able to change both herself and her family. She looks forward to the day when at least 50 or 60 women are employed by the Loom Project, and can't wait for it to grow larger than it already is.

Samrawite Ali

Samrawite AliSamrawite Ali is 30 years old and has 3 children. Elsabat is 12 years old, Bereket 11, and Tigist 6. She grew up in Gualo, which is a day and a half travel from Bishoftu. She first moved to Bishfotu 19 years ago by an Uncle after her Mother died and her Father abandoned her. The intention was that she would attend school in Bishoftu, but her situation with her Uncle was no good, so she found herself working instead of going to school.

A few years ago Samrawite met one of our social workers, Getu, at Emmanuel Church. Getu brought her school aged child to BCI Academy, but after Samrawite cried over the plight of her other children Getu quickly did everything he could to enroll them all in the Life Sponsorship program.

Samrawite is incredibly thankful for all BCC has done for her family, and can't believe that she is able to work as a loom weaver. She never thought she would be capable of working in such a good profession and is grateful for being given such a good job in a good building! One day she hopes to see the entire warehouse full of looms, workers, and products and is working very hard to help the project grow.

Mhadi Haleform

Mhadi HaleformMhadi Haleform is 27 years old and has one child, Tezeta, age 14. She grew up in Meccane, which is a full day's journey away from Bishoftu, where she attended school until Grade 8. Mhadi and her family were very poor in Meccane and couldn't find good work there, so they moved to Bishoftu 14 years ago seeking employment.

Mhadi was attending Meskana Church when she first heard about Blessing the Children and both their Life Sponsorship program and the Loom Project.

Mhadi is hoping for big changes in her life through the Loom project. She sees it growing very large, and knows that with hard work they will succeed.

Tshaye Sida

Tshaye SidaTshaye Sida is 50 years old and has one child, Natnael, age 10. She grew up in Showwa, which is 2 hours away by foot. She first came to Bishoftu 10 years ago to visit an Aunt, and decided to stay! She says she really liked the city, so she moved her entire family there.

Tshaye has never been to school before, so when Nigist from Zion Church told her about the opportunity to receive training and a good job through the Loom Program, she was happy to apply!

Tshaye believes in hard work and enjoys seeing how the project continues to grow. She is very happy being part of the Loom Project, and thinks that someday if they work very hard their families may actually be rich!

Webalem Mesfen

Webalem MesfenWebalem Mesfen is 36 years old and has 3 children. Her eldest is 17 years old, named Bezayehu, Haymanot is 14, and Wasihun is 10. She grew up in Gondor, which is 8-10 hours north of Bishoftu. When she was 8, she moved to Asmara, then to Bishoftu when she was 13. She has never had opportunity to go to school.

Goldi, one of Blessing the Children's social workers, met Webalem at Meskana Church and enrolled her children in the Life Sponsorship program, then later enrolled her in the Loom Project.

Webalem is seldom seen without a smile while she's at work, saying that she found great hope in the Loom Project from the moment she began her training. She says the first step will be to work very hard and start making money, and then they will see it grow much bigger. She hopes to work in the Loom Project for as long as God allows her.

Tigist Waqgira

Tigist WaqgiraTigist Waqgira is 28 years old, with 3 children. Her eldest is Philemon, age 13, and her youngest are 4 year old twins, Beleane and Mastewot. She grew up in Welaga, which is 12 hours away, but spent some years begging on the streets of Addis with her eldest child.

Tigist's son Philemon was originally a Compassion child, sponsored by a man named Brad. Brad discovered Blessing the Children and realized there were things we were able to offer Philemon and Tigist that Compassion couldn't, so he sought to bring Philemon into our program instead. Now Philemon is with our Life Sponsorship program, and his Mom is very happy to be given the opportunity to have a good job and income.

Tigist is filled with hope by the Loom Project, never dreaming she would go from begging on the streets to creating beautiful woven cloths in the Loom Project. She insists that she will work very hard, and work hard to change herself as well for the better. She can't wait to see her dreams realized as the program grows bigger, because though she has great hope now, she knows that her hope can only grow in the future.

Meselu Yesitela

Meselu YesitelaMeselu Yesitela is 32 years old, with 2 children. Tigist is her youngest child, at 16 years old, and her eldest, Biniam, is 17. She grew up in Zeguala, which is 3 hours away from Bishoftu and moved to here as a little girl to live with her Aunt after her parents died. She attended school until Grade 5.

Meskana church first connected Meselu and her family with Blessing the Children.

Meselu has hope for the future because she knows how to work hard, and she can see that the Loom Project is a very good program that is sure to succeed. She looks forward to the day that the new warehouse is completely full, and wants to work hard to see the project grow.

Yelfashewa Gutema (Management)

Yelfashewa GutemaYelfashewa Gutema is 50 years old and has 4 grown children of her own, and one adopted daughter enrolled in the Life Sponsorship program. Her eldest child is Marot, 27, then Adane, 24, Robel, 20, and Bereket, 18. Abonesh (13 years old), is her adopted daughter. Yelfashewa grew up a short distance southeast of Bishoftu, in Nazret. She first moved to Bishoftu 29 years ago because her sister lived here, intending to pursue her education. After moving, she met her husband and got married.

Yelfashewa is very ambitious and motivated! She pursued her education all the way to grade 12, then spent 2 years getting a certificate to work as a cashier, followed by certification for cooking. She not only works as a manager of the Loom Project, but can also be found working as a hired cook for many of our missionaries (and her food is some of the best you'll find in Bishoftu!).

Since she worked for Blessing the Children and our missionaries, she met many of the families involved in our programs. One of those families was the family of Abonesh. Abonesh's father had died, and the family that took her in were not very good, so Yelfashewa was inspired to adopt Abonesh herself and take her in.

Yelfashewa says she has a great hope in the Loom Project. The training the Moms receive is very good, and she believes if everyone works hard they will not only be able to sell their products all over Bishoftu or througout Ethiopia, but one day will be able to sell them across the world. Her next goal is to find a way for the project to buy more looms, so that no Moms will have to share looms with eachother. She hopes one day they will be so busy keeping up with the demand for their products that they will complain that there is not enough time, and that maybe they'll grow so large they will have to hire other women from outside Blessing the Children's programs to meet demands. With dreams like that, it's no surprise to us that she is one of our stars, and has been promoted to Manager!

Emebet Hailu (Management)

Emebet HailuEmebet Hailu is 30 years old, and is the Aunt of Mulugeta and Terefe Hailu, two of our first children in the Life Sponsorship program. She grew up in Koftu, which is 3 hours from Bishoftu. She dropped out of school at 14 years old, so she's currently attending night school to work towards her diploma.

When Emebet was 14, she got married, dropping out of school. Unfortunately, her married life was not at all good, so 15 years ago she divorced her husband and moved to Bishoftu. She discovered Blessing the Children after the tragic deaths of her sister and her brother-in-law, leaving her and her new husband to care for her newly orphaned nephews, as well as another niece and nephew they had taken in, and her own two sons! They took them in in faith that God would somehow provide and the belief that He expected generosity despite how little they had to give. God has since rewarded that faith in finding Mulugeta and Terefe sponsors, and giving Emebet new hope in the Loom Project.

Emebet intends to work very hard for the Loom Project, saying that if she works hard it will be a good example and will help to bring the other Moms hope. She can't wait to buy more looms, continue to work hard, and to employ more Moms as the project grows.

 


As the Lord has guided us through the joy of supporting children and families we are continually asking ourselves whether these programs are sustainable, have an effect on poverty for the better, and can we see improvement in the lives of individuals? With these questions in mind, may the Lord diversify our projects as needed within the country of Ethiopia.