Saturday, August 28, 2010

School out of reach for some

Elementary school kids
It is that time of year again. School has finished, report cards handed out and preparations for the next academic year are in progress. We have had a steady stream of children coming to show us with pride their report cards. You should see the smile on their faces. Here comes the hard question they ask, “Will I be on the list again this next year?” The answer to that question resides in the response we have from our friends.

Parents have to pay for school

Two days ago, a handicapped woman using a crutch came to see us. She has been widowed for several years and comes from another part of Congo. She had heard that our part of the country was having an economic boom and so she moved to the city 100 miles to the south of us. With the down turn in the economy and cost of the city she decided to leave and came as far as Mulungwishi a year ago. She feels that in this rural setting she can make a life for herself and her three children. The children have not gone to school for the last three years because she did not have the funds. The money she had saved for a new crutch she is putting to insure that maybe one of her children can go to school. I told her that we would see to it that two children could go to school this year.

Scholarships help

Last year, the response was unbelievable and we thank the Lord for it and each one of you. We were able to educate some 250 children in grades 1-12. The numbers are overwhelming for us. We therefore created a scholarship committee to handle this wonderful problem. The committee consists of the principles of the two elementary schools and the high school with which we are working. There are also teachers from each institution and community workers from the village. They are the people who are closest to the students, their families and their community. They are so much better equipped to assess the needs of each student. The group started by putting down the criteria for students to be included on the list. Top priority is given to orphans. Next are those with only one parent or those with severe poverty. The lists will be coming out with the names of the students we can help.

Low cost for a crucial need

School fees this year are about the same as last year with elementary costing about $50 a year per student and $75 for high schoolers. More than half the school fees go to paying the teachers who are in financial difficulty because the government is not paying them what they should. So these fees do more than just help the child but also the teachers and the whole educational makeup of the area.

How to help

This program was the initiated by Valery Whitfield, wife of Bishop Max Whitfield of the New Mexico and North West Texas Annual Conferences. Therefore all gifts for this project should be channeled through the New Mexico Annual Conference. Please send your gift made out to NMAC (New Mexico Annual Conference) with the designation, "Congo children’s education" and send it to:

Cathy Anderson, Treas.
New Mexico Annual Conference
11816 Lomas Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87112

Again, thank you for making this blessing happen last year and let’s see what the Lord does this year.

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