Thriving slum school needs school bus

By April 15, 2011

Kenya (MNN) — Mathare Valley is a Nairobi, Kenya slum completely overflowing with about half a million people.

"It's compact, it's dirty, there's no sanitation. Imagine in your mind just where you'd never want to live, and that's what Mathare Valley is like," says Craig Dyer with Bright Hope International.

Kids go hungry and have no schooling. Brokenness is everywhere. There is, however, one brilliant light shining.

"In this dark patch of the world is a light: a single church that is sharing the Gospel, is loving people, and is working their tail off to help the needy–especially young kids," says Dyer.

Mathare Community Outreach is transforming the lives of children in the slums with a thriving school. The school provides slum children the opportunity to get a quality education and two meals a day. 1,425 elementary children currently attend.

"It's kind of like an oasis. It's a chance for them to get a meal, some teaching, and for somebody to really show that they care about them," says Dyer.

The school's approach to education and the Gospel is clearly working, too. "Kids are coming out of the slums, going to college, and moving on from the slum community because of the school."

This amazing community has had its share of suffering. A fire in December caused some damage, and other needs are significant with 64 teachers on payroll and 1,400 mouths to feed. One of their biggest needs, however, is actually something quite ordinary: a school bus.

"One of the things that they've desperately wanted is to be able to take some of these kids and get them out and take them into the rural areas of Nairobi and of Kenya–to just show them nature, and to give them an experience other than an urban, city, slum setting."

Many children know nothing of the world outside of the slum. This could open up their eyes to God's creation, providing them with learning and growing experiences mentally, but spiritually as well.

Beyond the obvious allowance of the occasional field trip that a school bus would provide, a bus could actually help generate income, as well. The school plans to rent out the bus when it's not in use to help pay for teachers' salaries, making the school less dependent on aid from outside sources.

Bright Hope wants to raise enough money to buy a bus for the school. The cost is $40,000, and the ministry has already raised $18,903, so they're almost halfway. For the final push, Bright Hope is asking you to consider a small $10 donation today to bring joy to the hearts of these 1,400 kids in Mathare Valley.

The donation process is no more difficult than sending a text message. Simply text
to the number 85944. The $10 will be tacked onto your phone bill, and the donation gets sent right to Bright Hope.

If texting isn't for you, click here to give even $5. Consider sacrificing a few cups of coffee this week for this simple, kingdom-building project. Children may be interested in helping as well.

As you give, pray for the children the bus will benefit for years to come.

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