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.
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.