International (MNN) — It's back-to-school time across the globe. Parents are buying their kids new supplies, backpacks and clothes. Students are dusting off their brains to resurface the knowledge they acquired last year. Teachers have prepared their classrooms for new minds to mold.
That's the experience of a lot of families in the West. But in many developing nations, kids are unable to return to school for lack of money for tuition or uniforms. For others, their schools are packed and deteriorating to the point where learning is rendered unattainable.
Whether families are struggling to come up with funds to buy a uniform, or families are eagerly buying their kids closets full of back-to-school clothes, they all have one thing in common: a desire for education. This year, Worldwide Christian Schools hopes to bring these two groups together.
WWCS does not own or operate schools, but they work through nationally-led partners to establish, maintain and expand Christ-centered schools wherever they are needed most–primarily in the developing world.
WWCS uses a three-pronged approach to create these transformational schools. Dale Dieleman with WWCS explains, "[These] are the three areas that we really want to address with a particular school: How are you doing in terms of your environment? How are you doing in terms of being able to keep the school doors open? How are we doing in terms of helping those teachers that never get an opportunity to go to a Continuing Education or an in-service like most teachers in our country?"
As WWCS creates a Christ-centered environment, helps fund schools to keep them going, and trains teachers to become better and better at their jobs, they also build schools that become deeply involved in the communities in which they serve, whether in India, Dominican Republic, Uganda or another developing nation.
"The school really becomes not only known to the community, but an essential part of that community." Dieleman says WWCS encourages the schools to build better relationships with parents, small businesses and churches. As they do, the school becomes lifeblood to the society around it.
"We hear stories of how [school has] really impacted the whole family, then getting them connected with a local church; or through the school, the child goes home with a new way of looking at the world," explains Dieleman. By using the three-pronged, holistic schooling approach, families and even entire communities are slowly transforming for Christ.
As WWCS continues supporting and creating these life-giving schools, however, they know that more than just kids in developing countries have the chance to be transformed. Through their Student Hope program, WWCS claims a policy of "Two Lives Changed."
Kids, families, even entire school classes or Sunday school classes can participate in changing a life–and being changed in return. The Student Hope program is a sponsorship program. $32 a month "covers [a child's] tuition, their books, and some of the basic essentials," says Dieleman.
In return, sponsors not only get the opportunity to change a life, but they can even meet their child and engage with him or her via Skype. As the relationship grows, two lives are changed.
It's the start of a new year, with new lessons and subjects to learn. Why not take this school year to start teaching your child about generosity, the joy of giving, and the importance of sharing Christ's love with others? To learn more about how you can provide a student with the hope of an education and the Good News of a Savior, visit twoliveschanged.org.