International (MNN) — Around the world, 71 million school-age children are being kept out of class. The reasons vary, but one thing is true across the board: these kids are being denied a fundamental human right.
Worldwide Christian Schools has been giving children access to an education, and most importantly, the Gospel, since 1987. Their ministry has mostly involved “direct service:” construction projects, teacher training, fundraising, etc. for the past 28 years.
But in 2015, Dale Dieleman of WWCS says, they’re trying something new.
“We have embarked on something we call the ‘Justice Fund,’ and what we’re looking for there is to receive grant proposals from some of our traditional partners, as well as newer ones,” he reports.
“If they received X number of dollars, what would they do to help the marginalized children in their community have a successful Christian education?”
Helping children discover God’s love is at the heart of it all.
“In the guidelines, it specifically states that we are interested in proposals that help children discover their God-given potential,” says Dieleman.
The Justice Fund
After reviewing and analyzing their ministry this fall, Worldwide Christian Schools found that by focusing and re-directing their efforts, they could become more effective. Part of that “re-direct” meant equipping nationals to find solutions, rather than bringing solutions to the field.
“Those solutions really are in the local community itself,” Dieleman observes.
“We want to encourage and empower schools, or local organizations, to really come up with some innovative, new, fresh approaches [regarding] how to tackle some of the issues.”
Obstacles that prevent kids from attending school vary widely, but common challenges include gender, ill health, disabilities, family economics, religion, and racial or ethnic discrimination.
Worldwide Christian Schools believes workers confronting those challenges day-in and day-out know the best ways to solve them. They just need a little help bringing their ideas to fruition. That’s where the WWCS Justice Fund comes in.
As stated on the Worldwide Christian Schools Web site, “The WWCS Justice Fund inspires creative solutions to educate children who are marginalized.” It basically provides seed money and/or training for a community-driven, sustainable project that provides learning opportunities for at-risk children.
“We’re really looking for innovative, fresh approaches that the communities themselves can come up with,” explains Dieleman.
WWCS received 101 proposals from 28 countries last month, he shares.
While the deadline has come and gone for 2015 grant applications, WWCS Justice Fund forms can be submitted year-round for 2016 projects.
“Describe your idea, describe what you’re looking for, and we’ll get back to you as to whether we want to walk with you that second mile,” Dieleman says.
“We’re trying to be ‘applicant-friendly,’ in that regard.”
Got an idea that would help “the least of these” get an education? Apply for a WWCS Justice Fund grant here.