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Update from Debra Merrill, Christ Church on Hope Educational Centre

This is a post from Debra Merrill regarding a new scholarship Christ Church is starting for the graduating students of Hope Educational Centre. The purpose is to ensure that deserving students can continue their education beyond the 8th grade level. See the original post HERE (in the Christ Church Community Update)


News from Hope Educational Centre

The roof is on and the building is almost ready for use! Our missionary partner, Roberta Peterson, reports, "Just a few things to finish--toilets, install windows and doors, put up a temporary office, build steps, install gutters for water catchment, and clear the ground. Then we'll carry our tables, chairs, desks, books, etc. down the road to the new school!"

Nine years ago, a team from Christ Church met the folks who had a vision for this school and a passion for providing a quality Christian education for the poorest of the poor in a Kenyan village called Sakwa, about 7 hours' drive northwest of Nairobi. Through our church's generosity, we have helped to buy supplies, pay teachers, obtain government certification, provide medical care for the students and improve the conditions of this school that met in dark stick and mud structures on rented land. We knew, however, that the only way that the school could be assured a solid future was to make sure that the building and land could not be taken away from them, as often happens in impoverished, poorly regulated areas such as this. So we made a pledge to make sure that our kids in Kenya had a permanent school home and we tithed 10% of our Last Mile capital campaign to make that dream a reality. Between the $50,000 tithe and other savings that we had reserved for Kenya, we purchased 5 acres of land and contributed nearly all the funds needed to build the structure you see below. This is just "Phase One" as we know that more classrooms will be needed to accommodate the growing school; however, we give thanks and praise to God for stirring the hearts of our congregation to make this dream a reality!

Our students are raising their own roofs academically! The results are out for the final Kenya Certificate of Primary Exams for Standard 8 pupils and our very own Hope Educational Centre performed amazingly well! The national mean score for public schools in Kenya is 180.87 and for private schools is 230.14. Our 20 pupils had a mean score of 349.30! Join the school's board and teachers and the entire Sakwa community in congratulating our students for their hard work and dedication to their studies! Below is a picture of our graduating Standard 8 class.

Now what? The school is flourishing; the students are working hard and achieving the grades they need in order to continue to the high school phase of their education. However, their path is not clear. Pastor John and I received this message from Roberta this week and our hearts sank:

"Two of our graduates at Hope had interviews with Equity Bank for high school scholarships and reportedly received them. As part of 2,000 [scholarship applications] nationwide, they were chosen to receive complete four-year scholarships. This was great news and we were so excited for these two boys and for the help it would give their families. That was last week. Yesterday I learned that they no longer had the scholarships as theirs and others had been bought by wealthy and powerful people for their children! Greed and corruption! My righteous indignation is over the fact that these people could have paid to get their children into any school because they have the money, but they took away scholarships from those truly needing. Please pray for Kenya and for our graduates who are struggling to further their education."

Just as Christ Church decided years ago to build a location that couldn't be stolen, it is on my heart that we can help provide an education that can't be stolen either. I have since learned that it costs approximately $3,000 USD per student to provide all 4 years of their high school education. It is my prayer that Christ Church can form an ongoing scholarship fund for Hope's qualifying top students. If you would like to join me, go and use the GiveNow link or your own myChristChurch account to contribute. Choose "Kenya Mission Outreach" in the Give To field.

Asante sana ni mungu akubarik,

Thank you and God bless,

Debra Merrill, Executive Director


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