“Education is very important because there is no development for an illiterate person,” an elder in the Anglican church, The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Education is a key to individual and corporate development. Because of this, it is crucial to personal development and societal development. It is an area through which the Church can have a great impact both on individuals and society as a whole. These are stories of four churches that are working to bring hope through education to students of all ages. They are based on actual people and the things God is doing through them.
“I like the way in which my son is motivated, I like that he is hearing about God. Seeing the school developing gives me hope.” – María Angelica Gomez Ocampos
Many children in poor urban areas do not receive a decent education. Redeemer Anglican Church – located in a poorer section of Asunción – operates an academically excellent preschool. Unfortunately, this tiny school could enroll only 16 children.
Blanca Susana Bueno saw the children leaving the church every day, so she asked why the kids were there.
“They told me about the preschool, so I requested a space for my little girl. Silvana was very shy, but when she began attending school she started to be more confident and sharing with other children. What she most enjoyed were the Bible stories. What I most appreciate was the good treatment that Gloria [de Maldonado, the school’s founder] gave to the children and the teaching on values,” said Blanca, single mother of 8-year-old Silvana
The Anglican Church in Paraguay has partnered with Redeemer Anglican Church to expand the school. Now 50 students can attend!
Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo
“Now all my four children will go to school and as a pygmy I will not be discriminated [against]. I am studying literacy [through the church] and now I can read and write. I have started reading the Bible in the Church.” – Ms. Clarise Kaputo
Pygmies are a neglected minority in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They experience racial stereotyping and social exclusion. Because of this, many drop out of school, leaving them mired in an ongoing cycle of poverty. They needed a school that would accept them.
The Anglican Church in Katanga built a primary school that is bringing together pygmy and non-pygmy families in an inclusive environment teaching Christian values. Meanwhile, mothers like Clarise – who never had the chance to go to school – have the opportunity to study literacy.
“If there were no hostel at the school… I would not have gotten the chance to attend secondary school. But, because the accommodation here is safe, my parents agreed to pay for me to stay and attend school.” — Happyness Gasper
With many high schools located far from the villages, many girls drop out of school after completing primary school. The church in Tanzania is creating safe places by building hostels adjacent to high schools in order to allow more girls to enroll.
These hostels provide more than a safe place to sleep. They create communities where girls can grow into their full potential, attending school and learning Spiritual lessons that will stay with them long after they graduate.
Winnie Benard is one such student.
“Oh, that was a miracle because it was tiresome for me traveling by bicycle every day going to school. I am privileged to secure a place in this beautiful hostel. I say so because there are many female students who are missing such a good environment of studying. I expect to use this privilege positively by studying hard.”
“The training I received helped me to start my own business. I initially was reluctant and did not want to join the program, but I have never regretted the decision to join.… It is a program that brings together young people to learn and become better people in the community.” — David Obisama
Not everyone can go to college, especially in poverty-stricken areas. In the slums around Accra, Ghana, many young people have a hard time finding jobs after dropping out of high school. Without meaningful employment, they turn to gangs, petty theft, and illegal drugs and fall prey to behaviors that keep the community impoverished.
To counter this, the church is building a vocational center where young adults ages 17 to 25 will gather for spiritual, educational, and physical development. When admitted, the students join a community that provides them with viable skills and the knowledge of Jesus and the fellowship of other believers.
These are four examples of churches making Jesus tangible to preschoolers, primary students, high schoolers, and young adults. With churches like these concentrating love on one child, one school at a time, entire communities are being transformed with an impact that will span generations. To learn more, visit ardf.org or contact us at email@example.com.