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ACSI partners to take ‘School In A Bag’ to South Africa’s AIDS orphans.

By January 24, 2005

South Africa (MNN)–One in nine South Africans, more than five million people, are infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

Those who die are frequently parents, which results in hundreds of child-headed families. Many times, these children are unable to attend a conventional school because they are locked in a struggle for survival.

Rather than perpetuate the cycle of poverty by allowing these children to go uneducated, the Association of Christian Schools InternationaI took a bold step.

ACSI’s Dr. Alan McIlhenny spearheads a non-traditional education project. “The normal sort of literacy program has pictures of teddy bears and ice cream cones, so it’s not appropriate for use with nine, ten, 11-year olds who are living on the streets and have seen the reality of life. That’s why we’ve decided to write our own basic curriculum.”

The key components of the project include resource centers for the Christian community serving the at-risk children, training, delivery, and the curriculum itself.

McIlhenny says they’ll be field testing it next month, along with new resource centers, in the hopes that the whole project launches by June. “We are training volunteers to take what we’re calling a ‘School In A Bag’ to the children, and bring an especially designed basic education course to the children based around a curriculum we’re calling ‘Count Me In’ that deals with the reality of living in a broken world, and then point the children to the hope they have in a God who loves them and wants them to belong to Him.”

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