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Heaven's Family Magazine
September 2011 Issue

Future Valedictorian

The Education Fund at Work in Kenya

CJ McDaniel, Education Ministry

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Six-year-old Vionah Wanyonyi

Early one morning in January of 2003, at the doorsteps of thousands of simple school buildings across Kenya, more than a million children showed up for school who had not attended the day before. The reason? Kenya’s newly-elected government had abolished school fees for primary school children. Impoverished parents were thrilled that their children would now have an educational opportunity that had previously been denied them.

Kenya’s schools, however, were not prepared for the influx of students. Eight years later, Kenya’s average primary school classroom has 98 students, and some schools are reported to have a student/teacher ratio of 300-to-1. Consequently, many children fall between the cracks and are left behind academically.

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A crowded public classroom in Kenya

One little girl who quickly became a number in the crowd was Vionah Wanyonyi. Just six years old, Vionah was slower to learn than the others in her class. Vionah’s overwhelmed teachers did not have the time to offer her the personal attention she needed. Her parents are poor subsistence farmers, and they could not afford the required textbooks and school supplies. When they learned that Vionah was failing in school, their hopes for her to receive a primary education began to crumble. They looked to the Lord for help.

It was not long after when their pastor announced that Heaven’s Family was helping him to open a private Christian school that would offer significantly-reduced (or even free) tuition for very impoverished children. They enrolled Vionah.

In just six short weeks at Heaven’s Family Academy (the school name given by the pastor), Vionah soared to number one in her class of ten students. She is benefitting from the individual attention of a Christian teacher who not only cares about her educational needs, but also her spiritual needs. Every morning the students begin with worship and Bible instruction.

Vionah’s teachers say that she is very hardworking and has a bright future ahead of her. What a contrast to her previous prospects! Thanks to gifts to Heaven’s Family‘s Education Fund, 40 other children like Vionah are benefitting at Heaven’s Family Academy in rural Kenya.

THE BIGGER PICTURE:

Heaven’s Family Academy has received funding for school books, desks, supplies, and a simple tin-walled school building that is two-thirds completed. Some classes must still meet outdoors, so those classes are suspended when it rains. Only $1,135 is needed to complete the final third of the school building. Heaven’s Family Academy has a four-year plan to become completely self-sufficient through student tuition. Thanks for your gifts to our Education Fund that make these and other educational blessings possible around the world.

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This Month's Articles

Parting Shot: Kids are the Same Around the World

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Nicolae Ilues is an Romanian orphan who is supported each month through our Orphan’s Tear division. As I took his portrait, he couldn’t resist showing me about ten of his funniest facial expressions. Above are three of my favorites. — David