It's back-to-school time for
Mitendi Primary School! Lord willing, it will be our final year of squeezing
330+ primary school students into three classrooms at the Mitendi Women's
Center building each day. Amazing to think that by this time next year, our new
school building will be finished, and there will be enough space to educate
more than double the number of students we currently have!
While meeting with the primary
school director, Tata Bienvenu, we looked over some photos from last year. When
he saw this photo of the 4th grade girls, he said, “Oh! You don't
even recognize “Sabine” (not her real name) anymore.” I said, “who is Sabine?”
He said, “our deaf/mute student. She's in her 4th year with us now.”
How could I have forgotten
her?! I only vaguely remembered Tata Bienvenu telling me the story about meeting
her and her father in the nearby village and that her father begged Bienvenu to
let Sabine come to school. Bienvenu explained to him that we have no expertise
to meet her needs. Her father pleaded, since we are a christian school, couldn't
we find some way to help her? Sabine, at that time, couldn't communicate with
anyone except her father (she has no mother) and was completely isolated. Her
father feared that that would be her whole life. Bienvenu, as well, couldn't
bear the thought of leaving her in that state and agreed to give her a try at
Mitendi Primary School.
I asked Tata Bienvenu how
Sabine is doing now, 4 years later. He said they don't really understand how,
but she has learned to read and write at about a 3rd grade level and
can do basic math. I asked if they had used any special teaching methods with
her. He said they worked with her a lot one-on-one, at first, but results were slow
in coming. After that, she learned like all the other students: by observing
and participating in class as much as she can. He said, though she still can't
speak, if you ask her questions, she can read your lips and writes down
answers. Amazing! According to Bienvenu, is she's no longer isolated in her own
world. She has a group of friends with whom she communicates through
lip-reading and their own form of sign language. He said Sabine's friends watch
out for her and they go everywhere together.
As we talked about "Sabine”, it
was easy to see how proud Tata Bienvenu is of the impact that Mitendi Primary
School has had on her life. He mentioned how grateful he is for our scholarship
program that allows “Sabine”, and children like her, to go to school. I said to
him that Sabine is a special case. He laughed and said that Mitendi Primary
School is full of special cases. He said our children live with “unimaginable
realities”, but at least they are getting an education, which can transform
their entire future!
Our fund-raising for the new
Mitendi Primary School Building is going well. Out of the $168,500 needed to complete the entire project (including furnishings), we've already received $109,500! That's 65% of what we need. Once we reach 80%, we can begin construction. Boy are we eager to get started! I have faith
that we'll get there, but we need all the help we can get! Please pray with us
that God would touch the hearts of people to contribute to this desperately
needed project. Maybe that includes you?
I'm thanking God for you all
right now! It's through your prayers and financial help, in partnership with
the Congolese Baptist Women, that Mitendi Primary School is able to transform
the lives of children like “Sabine” and give them a chance at a real future!
May God richly bless you for your sacrifices on behalf of children that you'll
never know, but have reached out to in God's love.
You can contribute to the
Mitendi Primary School Building project through the following link: : https://internationalministries.org/projects/255
If you'd like to contribute to the Mitendi Primary School Annual Fund which provides scholarships for families who are unable to pay school fees, you can do so through the following link: https://internationalministries.org/projects/257