Christian School responds to food crisis

By February 5, 2009

Kenya (MNN) — On January 16, the Kenyan government declared a national crisis as the number of starving Kenyans doubled in only three months, quickly reaching over 10 million.

The food crisis in Kenya has mainly been caused by drought, which was followed by a 99 percent crop failure; but other factors have also played significant roles. As a result of post-election attacks in 2008, the country lost at least 20,000 acres of maize cultivation. Assets such as corn are being used for biofuel internationally, instead of food. Overall, food staples in Kenya have risen about 44 percent in price, the most basic of nourishment (millet flour) rising 56 percent.

Although the government now is offering lower prices on seed, distributing extra soil and importing 5 million bags of maize to assist its people, the aid is not enough to immediately quell the crisis. Vice President of Kenya, Kalonzo Musyoka, is calling on the church to fill the gaps, asking church members to show "commitment to helping the government through prayers."

Worldwide Christian Schools has responded to that call not only in prayer, but by diving head-first into the chaos. The WWCS-supported Kameris Christian School in Alale, Kenya has become a physically and spiritually sustaining oasis for over 600 students. WWCS created a campaign called the Kameris Food Fund to raise money for the school now that its main financial priority has been to feed its students.

"Most of the money today that the donors are sending is being used simply to underwrite their food program," says Dale Dielman with WWCS. "If you're living on the margin, and you're trying to feed 657 kids now enrolled at that school, it becomes a colossal challenge."

The school has now been forced to pay less attention to places its money was previously allocated, including school fees for children who couldn't afford it and teacher salaries. WWCS is especially driven to reach the needs of Kameris' exceedingly selfless and compassionate staff.

"They see their role as being multilayered, or holistic" says Dielman. "They are there for the children and for the community. They want to be the voice in the wilderness. They want to represent Christ –His compassion, His love, and His concern for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of people. This school is really going way beyond what is expected of a school."

The teachers have taken on the responsibility of their students' physical nourishment, often times denying their own needs to better provide. But they have also allowed the school to become a rescue center for those who are not even enrolled. Kameris is now harboring 20 girls who have run to the school to escape involuntary tribal rites of passage, in fear of mutilation as well as HIV, which is often passed through such procedures. The school is committed to reaching out in Christ's love to these young women. But it also needs to find the funds–amid an already-extreme crisis–to support the health and nourishment of an extra 20 people.

Dielman says WWCS needs your help in two specific areas. "[We need] direct support, in terms of helping them financially so that they can feed these children even with the rising food prices. But we also need prayer support." Your prayers are essential to bringing hope to these suffering children, and to support and encourage brothers and sisters who serve at the school.

If you can help Kameris Christian School or other WWCS schools hurting from the global food crisis, please act now. Click here.

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