Burma (MNN) — For the first time in 45 years, the government of Burma is allowing private schools to operate. Worldwide Christian schools is jumping at the opportunity to open 3 private schools.
"In 2008, WWCS provided seed money for three schools, and those schools are already self-sustaining," said Scott VanderKooy, president of WWCS. Now they want to start more schools. "Just since we started the campaign in October, we've already raised enough money for one school. And we hope to create the seed money for three more schools in 2013."
WWCS is looking to raise $33,000 dollars per school as seed money. This will help the school toward financial self-sustainability within 3 years. "That's one of the wonderful opportunities of Christ-centered schools. You're creating something that eventually is going to be self-sustaining and will be able to grow on its own. Its impact will go on for years and years and years," said VanderKooy.
The schools will start out as preschools, and each year a class will be added, all the way up to high school.
"We're setting these schools up as private schools and staffing them with Christian teachers," said VanderKooy. "As long as we're very careful about how we share the love of Christ, these schools will be accepted. They certainly are enjoying great local support, which is really key."
75% of children in Burma drop out of school before they reach 5th grade, said VanderKooy. "I think the reason is: the education system in Burma has been severely underfunded by the government; it has very poor reputation."
The schools partnering with WWCS will open on June 1, if the funds come in by March 1. "These schools offer a brand new and more credible option for the Burmese population. This is a population that is starting to grow economically, they love their children, and they want the best for their children. That creates an opportunity for really good quality; Christ-centered private schools in the country of Burma," explained VanderKooy.
"We do want to certainly integrate Christ in every subject matter," affirmed VanderKooy. "But I think our objectives are simply to provide real, lasting, genuine hope–not only hope for a better life and more income, but more importantly, the life-saving knowledge of your Savior."
Sharing the Gospel in Burma can be tricky. "It's very important for us to work with people that are already valued locally. Often that means that these people already have some type of appreciation or relationship with government officials. Without that, they do experience a lot of persecution," stated VanderKooy. "Often in a place like Burma, that means that the leader has enough credibility even with government officials so that these schools can operate and flourish."
WWCS is on the way to building the three schools. They have already received enough funds for one school. If you would like to be a part of this project, click here. Funds for two more schools are needed by March 1.
"Pray that these schools are recognized and valued by the community, including the government officials," VanderKooy said. "These schools are often used by God to ignite change in the hearts of people, because they not only see it in their own children, but maybe they see it in the neighborhood kids, or a nephew or niece. And that's really what we're praying for: that not only are we affecting the lives of these children, but their families and their relatives as well. "