Sandra’s dad died when she was 16. She dropped out of 7th grade to help her mom and 5 siblings scrape for a living. We hired her – our way to help out the family, knowing it was either school or work, and she wanted/needed the work. Sandra can write her name, but little else.
Stephen is 15. He should go to 8th grade this year, but like many of his friends, may have completed his “education” last year. Thru 7th grade the fees are only $3 per year. But in 8th, it goes to $70! So he hangs around the villages, doing nothing. I see his puffy drunken face at times as he shuffles home from the shabeen (the village bar) in the middle of the day.
Junior has a step-father. That spells trouble. He gets beaten and chased from home without food and definitely they are not paying for his education. He is 12, as skinny as an AIDS patient, and looks years younger than he is. He is so shy his mother literally had to drag him out of their back shed so we could see him. She wants us to take him to the orphan home. Junior dropped out after 2nd grade.
We believe God sent us to these villages to see a transformation of life by the Gospel of Jesus. Sometimes the gospel comes in the form of school fees! Here are some reasons I believe helping these kids stay in school is worthwhile:
- The more a person is educated the less likely to hold to an animistic world-view which is destroying the villages of Africa.
- Getting a 12th grade education will help them in the competitive job field, and possibly set them up for a chance at college.
- Getting them in school will keep them from the morally and psychologically degrading emptiness of doing nothing for years.
- Poverty is a state of mind. For a young person to begin dreaming of better things, of aspirations for a good job, for a house and food – this is the beginning of beating poverty.
Will you help us launch the youth of 3 villages into a path of education? Here is the plan:
- We will focus on helping keep the 8th thru 12th graders in school – those whose families really cannot afford to send them.
- We will pay their fees, uniform, books and shoes – all they need. This runs from about $100 for 8th grade, to about $400 for 12th graders.
- We will require the student, if they remain in the village for school, to come to our base every Sat for 1 ½ hours of a discipleship course. This may also be a way to tutor them in their reading, writing and English. If they must go to town for school they will take the printed course with them and turn in their answers monthly.
- We will have a large garden on the base that the family must work on every week. Each family will have a few rows to care for. Half the profits from the garden will be to repay a portion of the school fees, and half will be income for the Children’s Home. When the school fees have been repaid, the remaining money will go to a fund for their next year’s fees.
- We will pay the school one term at a time to provide more incentive for follow-thru with the gardening project.
I am mostly excited about the prospect of 20 – 30 youth going thru discipleship for several years to come! This could be the foundation for a living church.
Here is what we need to make this successful.
A. We need money. We estimate there will be about 8-10 students from each of the 3 villages. An average cost of 8th – 12th graders is $250 per year. This comes to $7500 for the project, plus money for seed and tilling the garden. Say $8000.
B. We need manpower. We need a person or two who will see this operation thru – to teach the youth, to oversee the garden work, to harvest and arrange for sales and distribute money… This could be a person from N America, Europe, or a Zambian. We would need a 6 month commitment.
C. We need the Body of Christ. May I suggest that each person who gets this email would print it off and go to your church and see if they will publish the need. Perhaps your church could begin praying for the youth of our villages – I will gladly send pictures and names. Perhaps they can set a goal to raise money for a number of children. Perhaps they can send one of their young people to come and serve with us.