What is Life Sponsorship?
Life Sponsorship is our way of not only providing children with their basic needs and education, but building up families and the community of Bishoftu.
Blessing the Children believes in a holistic approach to breaking children free of the grips of poverty. For a child to have the best future possible, they not only need their individual material needs met, they also need their emotional and spiritual needs to be met, and the community must grow and prosper with them, helping them to continue moving towards a brighter future. A child cannot break free of all aspects of poverty if their family is still struggling or starving. They cannot break free if the entire community lacks their basic needs, or lacks hope, motivation, or is full of broken relationships and fatalistic beliefs.
We are interested in developing their families and their community, by providing things like quality education, support and encouragement, resources to reach their goals in the Income for Life program, and bringing the incredible freedom and hope of Jesus Christ by utilizing the local church and spreading the gospel. We have divided the cost of providing this future by the number of children who are in need, focusing on them and their families.
Becoming a Life Sponsor makes you a partner in transforming a child and their community, creating sustainable change.
What happens when you become Life Sponsor to a child and their family?
When a child is enrolled in the Life Sponsorship program, their family has their basic and material needs met. They are provided with grain support, hygiene products like soap, feminine protection so that the women are able to work and their daughters can go to school, clothing, and any other basic material needs that the family is currently lacking. Children who are orphaned are placed with extended family or in loving, Christian foster homes, where their new foster parents provide them with not only a roof over their heads, but treat them as their own children and provide the love and stability their life had been lacking.
At Blessing the Children we believe that education is key, and we ensure that each Life Sponsored child receives a quality education. School uniforms, books, and supplies are provided, and the children attend one of the BCI Academy Schools, if possible , and have personal tutors available as needed. If the child is too far from our school to attend, or they are beyond the grade level we can offer, they are placed in private schools to ensure smaller class sizes and better resources. We also encourage our supporters to continue their sponsorship through University. Although University enrollment is free, the cost of daily living can still be a struggle, so we continue Life Sponsorship through university age to ensure they can concentrate on their education and reach their full potential.
Life Sponsorship provides families with healthcare education, as well as treatment for illnesses both acute and chronic, and regular doctor checkups. This helps them to know how to better care for their family as they learn about the importance of hygiene to stop the spread of disease, nutrition’s effect on the body, how to stop waterborne illness, and other essential health education.
INCOME FOR LIFE
The ideal goal for every one of the families in our community is to break them free of poverty, and to enable and empower them to be able to care for themselves and meet their own goals and dreams. When you become Life Sponsor to a child, we immediately enroll their parent(s) or caregiver(s) in our Income for Life program. Income for Life is an income generating and micro-finance program, that gives participants vocational training, business management training, and small loans to get their own home businesses off the ground. This not only gives them a sustainable way to provide for themselves and their families in the future, but it also restores dignity, value, and hope, and helps boost the economy of the community.
Our clean water project is integral to the Life Sponsorship program. Waterborne illness is rampant in the Majority World, and providing our community with clean, safe water for their daily needs is key. We provide them with treated water, as well as teach them how to properly decontaminate their water for use. Our hope is that one day we will be able to build and install biosand filters in every one of our Life Sponsored families’ homes.
It is important that our families’ needs and hopes are heard. That is why we assign Social Workers to every one of our Life Sponsored families. The Social Worker becomes an advocate for the family, visiting them regularly to see how they are progressing, and to evaluate their changing needs along with the Ethiopian management team to re-designate their sponsorship money as necessary. All our Social Workers are Christians, and they help support the family spiritually as well, talking to them about God and encouraging them. We also provide counseling services, and fun activity days for the children.
HEAR OUR STORIES:
Meet Terefe, a teenage boy who is one of many children in Ethiopia who was in need of the help our Life Sponsorship program provides.
When Terefe was seven years old, his father suddenly collapsed on the floor from stomach pain. It was so severe that he was taken by horse cart to the clinic in Debre Zeyit; a five-hour walk away. Upon arriving at the clinic, the family was told that his father needed to be kept overnight.
The following morning, they returned to the clinic, only to be told that the father had died in the night. Not only was it devastating news to lose his father at such a young age, but it meant difficult times would follow for Terefe, his brother Mulugeta (age eight at the time), and their mother.
A year later, when Terefe turned eight, the two boys lost their mother to an illness, leaving them orphaned with nowhere to live. The boys had an aunt who lived in Debre Zeyit, and after much prayer and discussion with her husband, she decided to take the two brothers in. This was not an easy decision, as the aunt and her husband sold vegetables for a living, and were barely able to provide for their own two sons and another orphaned nephew and niece they had previously taken in.
There were times when Terefe’s uncle would skip meals in order to leave enough food for the rest of the family, but the couple had decided that they would share what they had and trust God to provide. After all, the boys were a part of the family.
When Pastor Tadesse, who was our first National Director, heard about the plight of these two brothers, he asked to have them accepted for Blessing the Children support. They now get new clothes, food, school tuition, school supplies, and are able to participate in Blessing the Children's English classes and special activities. Because of their Life Sponsors, Terefe and Mulugeta have a chance for a future.
Terefe's story could have been one of tragedy and loss, but because of people like you, him and his family now have hope for a new life and a bright future where they can one day break free of the cycle of poverty that has had them in its clutches from the time they were so young.
His story is unfortunately not the only tragedy in Ethiopia. There are thousands of children in Debre Zeyit, struggling to survive as they are orphaned or their families are so downtrodden by poverty that they can no longer see any hope for their children. Without your help, their stories may remain a tragedy, but with a little generosity and love, it can become a story redeemed.
With only a few dollars a day, you can watch the life of a family transform from one of struggle and pain, to one of joy and hope.
Joining our Life Sponsorship program is more than just providing for a child's physical needs, it is providing both them and their families with hope for a brighter future.
BECOMING A LIFE SPONSOR
When you choose to become a Life Sponsor, we will send you a photo of your child, along with their personal information. You will also get to know your child more personally as you receive letters written by your child and their family, and progress reports and updates.
The actual cost for caring fully for a child in Bishoftu is $90/month. However, we also offer partial sponsorships, where you will share the cost of sponsorship with 1 or 2 other Life Sponsors. These partial sponsorships are usually either $30/month, or $60/month. When you enter into a partial sponsorship, if your Life Sponsored family doesn’t have other sponsors yet to make the full sponsorship cost, we will continue to look for sponsors to assist until the full sponsorship cost has been met.
Go to the Meet the Children page (link below) to see which children are still in need of sponsors, or click our Donate Now button to find out how you can subscribe to bring Life to a child, their family, and the community of Bishoftu today!