Since our first visit to Congo for Christ (CCC) we have been concerned about education for our orphans and the children of our church members. We also noticed so many school age children surrounding CCC who did not appear to be in school. We learned that everyone has to pay to attend public school. If parents are unable to pay the fees, the children do not go to school. Even some of the Pastor's children have not always been able to attend school. As we discussed the situation with Pastor Jeremiah he shared his concerns with us. He told us of the poor and unacceptable quality of public education in Congo. Many times the teachers simply don’t show up for school and teachers have gone so far as to solicit money or sexual favors from their students.
In 2011, we began funding the long process of securing government approval to open a school. In 2012 Mango Tree School was officially licensed to open at CCC. While we did not have the funds to open the school last year, we have continued to seek ways to open a school at CCC. Once again this year, it did not look possible until we presented to Pastor Jeremiah the idea of using two of the dormitory rooms as well as two small houses on the campus for the classrooms. Previously these rooms have been used by the Bible college. Three weeks before the school term was to begin the decision was made to proceed with starting up Mango Tree School with the first four primary classes and adding an additional class each year.
As you can imagine, it was a scramble to get everything in place to open a school so quickly. They hired a principal, Ali Mashimango, who went right to work organizing and preparing for opening day. We knew 24 of our orphans would attend the school and expected a total of 80-100 children in the four classes. Pastor Jeremiah decided to allow children in the surrounding community to register as well, and when Mango Tree School opened on September 2, 2013, they had a total of 208 students! One class has 43 students, and the other three classes have 55 students each.
Global Outreach has provided the initial start up costs and agreed to provide the monthly salaries for six employees for one year. This amounts to $800 per month in addition to the $3,500 needed to maintain the orphanage and Bible College. With such a large number of students many additional and urgent needs have arisen as well:
$2331 - toilets for the school
$3350 - desks (3 children per desk)
$100 - Congo flag (government requirement)
$1778 - textbooks and teaching materials
$169 - English teaching materials
$530 - fence
$570 - school shoes for our orphans
To make this new school a reality, sacrifices have been made by all. The school meets from 7:00am to 1:00pm, six days a week. Then the Bible College uses the same rooms in the afternoon and evening. The orphans remain in crowded conditions until we are able to build a classroom building. When this building is completed, our orphans will be able to use the complete dormitory which will alleviate the current crowding. The new building is estimated to cost $14,029.
While it seems this has all happened very quickly, it has been in the planning stages for three years. We thank God that all of the teachers are committed Christians, desiring to provide a quality education for the children. Along with their academic subjects, the students receive Bible lessons each day. English classes and weekly Chapel services will be added soon.
Please join us in prayer for this new school and the lives of 208 precious children who will be impacted by this step of faith. Please pray that many of the students from the surrounding community will accept Christ and lead their families to a saving knowledge of Christ as well. Please pray for the school principal, teachers, Pastor Jeremiah and Daniel as they work to bring about a quality education in an environment where they are taught to love and serve the Lord. Pastor Jeremiah expressed these thoughts in his report to Global Outreach:
"We want to thank God for enabling us to start Mango Tree School with four classes. Despite all the challenges that we are going through, but God is always on our side. CCC and the community at large are really blessed by the start of this school. So, all the support given to this ministry is changing the lives of many people in Congo and mostly in our community."
The success of this school depends on partners like you. Please pray about donating to finance one of the needs listed above. Perhaps your church or small group would adopt one of these projects to fund. Your love and support makes possible a brighter future for these children.
Learn more about the Global Outreach ministries in the Congo:
To make a donation to Mango Tree School please visit our donation page:
To see more pictures of Mango Tree School please download our October 2013 newsletter: