Christians help local believers open schools for the poor

By August 31, 2007

Ghana (MNN) — The global war on poverty is being addressed head-on by Christians all over the world. Opportunity International is a part of that effort through their Microschools of Opportunity. It's a new initiative that provides loans to what they call "edupreneurs" who open schools in poor neighborhoods where education isn't accessible.

Opportunity's Director for Strategic Partnerships and Education expert is Mokonan Getu. He says poverty is rampant. Getu thinks he knows one of the reasons why. "The governments have failed to provide school facilities in the remote areas and the poor areas."

Getu says education is poor at best in poor areas. Because of that need, Opportunity International is coming alongside nationals in these areas and providing micro-loans to help establish and expand Microschools. "They are based in poor neighborhoods, in slum areas and in poor communities and mainly provide services to poor students."

According to research by James Tooley, a leading academic expert on schools for the poor, these types of private schools are effective. "He did a test in three subjects and found out that the students from these schools — or these Microschools  — performed better than students in public schools."

However, there's a spiritual side to these schools, too. Getu says, "Many of the local churches run schools because of the demand but also because they see the schools as one way of bringing the Gospel. And we support that."

Getu says these schools reach beyond the children. "Because of the children that have gone to Christian schools, parents have given their lives to Christ. So it works very well."

Mocroschools are now operating in 50 neighborhoods and towns in Ghana in a pilot program. The goal is to expand the program into several other countries in Africa and Asia. Opportunity expects to help educate one million children over the next three years.

Opportunity International needs more supporters who will contribute to their loan program. "Most of the time [the school] needs the capital to build a classroom, to expand from a nursery to a junior primary school, then from a junior primary school to a secondary school."

According to Getu, these schools are important for the physical and spiritual future of these nations. "Children become agents of change. They become future leaders, business people and so on. So, the schools that we're supporting are hopefully there to bring up people of integrity, accountability and God fearing future leaders."

If you'd like to help Opportunity International with Microschools, click here.

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