Zambia (MNN) — GEMS Girls’ Clubs is committed to equipping girls to passionately live out their faith in Jesus.
The ministry now has over 900 clubs worldwide and is continuing to expand into new countries. But in one African country, GEMS has taken their mission of equipping a step further by opening a day school for both girls AND boys.
Kris Palosaari, GEMS Girls’ Clubs Executive Director, says it all started with a club–and with North American and Zambian women working together. Watching the growth of GEMS Girls’ Clubs in Zambia, “They started to understand a little bit more about the challenges that the Zambian girls and generally children overall face: the cycle of poverty, the lack of education, and the lack of resources.”
The idea of building a special school for orphans and vulnerable children became a reality due to the kindness of the chief of the Chongwe village, who donated 25 acres of land for construction. “The chief of that particular community really saw the GEMS Girls Clubs’ impact, and he wanted so desperately for the children of his tribes to be able to have education and to have Christ. So in 2009, the Esther School was a seedling of an idea; and by 2012 it opened its doors to preschool and kindergartners.”
The Esther School partners a North American educator with a Zambian educator in each classroom. Kris says the collaborative teaching environment offers unique benefits for the students. “They teach biblical principles and reveal God in every subject, while also giving the students the best of Western culture and the best of Zambian culture.”
The Esther School currently serves kindergarten through second grade and hopes to add a classroom each year until the campus is complete. There are also plans to make the school fully self-sustaining, and plans are in place to add gardens and orchards, barns for raising livestock, an irrigation system to reuse waster water, and to fully incorporate solar power.
There is a greater goal for the school as well, one that we’ll share tomorrow in Part 2 of our story. There are many ways to get involved with both GEMS Girls’ Clubs and the Esther School, from partnering in prayer to starting a club, visiting the school in Zambia, or becoming an educator. Learn more by visiting GEMSgc.org.