Fire postpones classes at Christian school in Iraq

By September 1, 2006

Iraq (MNN) — As bombs continue to explode in and around Baghdad, Iraq, Christians in the north are experiencing relative peace and the Gospel is having an impact.

Partners International is working alongside Kurdish Christians. They’ve established three schools and other outreach. Partners’ Francisco Velasquez says one school suffered a major setback this week. “The first day of school a fire broke out in the building. An electrical circuit went bad and basically the building was very heavily damaged.”

With Partners International’s assistance, Christians were already in the process of constructing a new school building on new property, says Velasquez. “We’re talking about property worth more than $1-million donated by the Islamic government in northern Iraq so that we Christians can come and actually (use) Christian based curriculum to teach their kids.”

Velasquez says the government fully supports this work as their children were the first to enroll. He says it’s an American style education, which is a draw. “Learning English, having an English education, by American teachers and finally getting an American diploma is absolutely irresistible.”

The great thing about this is the children are taking their Christian education home with them and parents are seeing a difference in their lives. “They realize that the Christian faith is not a faith of the crusaders, it’s not a faith of the military oppressors, it is actually a faith that can touch a kid, that can make him a better citizen, that and uplift a family. And, they are embracing it.”

This year, up until the fire, Velasquez says Christians did something incredible. “Those schools became financially independent. They bought their own books. They completely covered the salaries of their teachers, through tuition. And, this was the first year, after three years of support from Partners, that they were standing on their own feet. — and then this fire.”

According to Velasquez, classes are being held wherever they can. No decision has been made as to what to do about the old building. However, funding is needed to replace desks, books and other needed materials. Click on the link below to help.

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