There have been many great ideas that many people have had over the years in helping poor countries. There have also been not so great ideas that have actually hurt and enabled poor countries. While Phill and I have been racking our brains for months on what is the best and most sustainable way to help our friends in Kenya, I keep being pulled back to that one simple thing that is the answer. Education.
Education is affordable and essential in America. It is mandatory for your child to go to school. There are severe consequences if you don't. If you cannot afford to send your child to school, then school fees are waived as well as free school lunch programs. I understand that it is part of our taxes that we pay that funds these programs. It is a great system. I value it so much.
Here in Kenya school fees are paid by the parents. If you can't afford to send your child to school then they don't go. I can't tell you how many children I see each day who are home on a school day. When you ask them why they aren't in school they just say no money and put their heads down. They want to be in school. Most families have multiple children. It is common for the families to send the boys instead of the girls. The girls can stay home and help raise the smaller children.
Now there are great organizations out there that sponsor children and help pay for school. That is wonderful. I have heard first hand from one of our closest friends and director of a school we support in Kenya, that many people give just once and that is great. The parents of the kids sponsored then expect that you will follow through and sponsor that child all the way through graduation of high school. While I think there are some people that can do that, it is hard to commit to that long term.
One idea we came up with was to find the balance of the local school fees and pay them off. A student wouldn't know they were being sponsored, but would be able to attend school.
I will be doing a fundraiser in the near future for education. This will include school fees, and sending another friend to college to become a teacher.
I know so many of our friends have already donated and continue to give. I cannot say Thank you enough. This will be our last big project before we go home. Please be praying over this project and I would love to hear feedback and ideas.
I truly believe we can make a huge difference and be a long term sustainable solution by investing in a child's education. That is how we can teach a man to fish.