Wednesday, August 6, 2014
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela knew what we all know which is that to change the world, you must educate its people, and how better than with Christian teachers. We, with the support of Cornerstone UMC in Jonesboro, Arkansas, have been doing our best to graduate four to six Christian students every year to become secondary teachers here in Tanzania. We have been doing it for eight years at a cost of $250 per student per year and have graduated well over sixty, new, Christian teachers whose poverty would have prevented them from ever going to school. Our four, second-year students came today to get the money for their next term. Sadly, the government has had to double the fees for our students which hurts the poor the most. The cost this year has become $500 per student per year. The church in Jonesboro raised $2,000 hoping that we could send four on to graduation and add four new students, but with the increased costs, it means we only have enough to pay for this last year for these four students. We are trying to find ways to raise another $2,000 between now and September so that we can add four more students. When you think about it, it is really an incredible bang for the buck to be able to give a student a two-year diploma that qualifies them as secondary teachers for a total of $1,000. I don’t know of anywhere else where you could get that much education for that little money. I guess I knew that $250 a year wasn’t going to do it after eight years at that same level when schools in the U.S. raise their fees almost every year. It just came as a hammer blow to the solar plexus to discover we only had half the money we needed. Because these students are poor, they know what a blessing it is to have a future as a teacher. The four here this morning asked when they could come back to help us clean up and repair things here at Maisha Na Maji because they want to show their gratitude in a meaningful way. The picture at the right is of the six students that graduated last May, but as you can see from the blurry photo, the number is shrinking due to the increased cost. We are in such desperate need of teachers here that in primary school if you have passed fourth grade, you can teach second grade. It’s that bad. The children deserve better. We will work with the One Book Foundation board to see if we can free up any other funds, but giving is still tight—all over. We are open to any ideas anyone may have on how to assist these wonderful, Christian, but poor students who so want to be teachers. They asked God to bless me this morning, but it is the ones who want to be teachers so badly who need the blessing. This is truly a gift that goes on giving for years and years. All who have given in the past have been truly blessed as they have blessed others. Please pray that we can find the money to continue this program as it is one of the best things that we do.