One family makes a huge difference for a village in Zambia

By July 5, 2011

Zambia (MNN) — A rural
community in Zambia is inches way from seeing a dream realized.

A team of
six adults and three students from Dowagiac, Michigan joined with Wordwide
Christian Schools
and their partner, Reformed Open Community Schools (ROCS) to do what no one else
would. They're building a school, says
Steve Geurink with WWCS. "It was
initiated by one family, their pastor and his wife, and their missionary
daughter (she's an adult that's a missionary in a neighboring country), has
also joined this group."

Without their stepping in, Geurink thinks it unlikely that the isolated, rural
community would be chosen for such a project. That made it a perfect fit for
this team. The vision of ROCS to open
schools in under-privileged areas of Zambia. They take care of providing
national teachers and making sure the school is in operation. Geurink explains that the funding that
launched the project came from a memorial gift from  the family's grandfather who had a ministry
with African peoples.   

For the
region, education is the key to a future. The initial $20,000 phase will provide a three classroom school and
office, but there are hopes to expand as funding comes in. Excitement over the project had quite a lot
of sweat equity invested before the team ever set foot in Mwalubemba. Geurink explains, "They're
actually making the bricks by hand. This is a clay brick building. The local
community was already started on this process before the team ever arrived."

Building
preparation started a month ago, and construction is moving forward. Says Geurink, "We are hoping that this
project will be done in a month or two. We would love to see the roof on before
this team departs from Zambia." 

Even more exciting, "This team decided to drill a well for the
school, so not only is the school going to have a three-room structure, they're
going to have a well which services the school and the community, too." The well project is done, but funding fell
about $1,400 USD short of the goal. Still, a clean source of water means open
doors.  

Marlon Phiri, ROC
Executive Director wrote of one community member reacting to the drilling:  

"'Praise
the Lord,'
shouted the
old lady in disbelief. Tears could be
seen in her eyes. 'It's like am
dreaming. God must bless the people who have given us the water.'"

Once completed, Geurink says, "We should easily be able to
handle at least 120 children. Right now, they have roughly 90 children that are
meeting in a one-room church building." The school is
teaching children from pre-school to grade 3. Notes Phiri, "By next year, the school will
reach the 4th grade, and the numbers are expected to be higher than they are
currently."

Most importantly, "People are drawn to schools and
opportunities like this when there's an opportunity to have an education," says
Geurink. Since the Bible is a central
part of the curriculum, "When we put in
a school and work with our partners, this just allows the Gospel to be taught
to children, which then affects their families."

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