Jairus Wanyama could not read this sentence. That’s because he attended a public school in Kenya where the student-teacher ratio is 100 to 1. Although Kenya provides all of its children with free primary education, the government can’t afford the number of teachers that are actually needed. Consequently, many students like Jairus are lost in the crowd and left behind.
Because of the acute need for more adequate education, many private schools have sprung up in Kenya. Only the wealthy, however, can afford them, and the children of the poor are stuck in ineffective public schools, which only helps to perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
Noting this common problem, Heaven’s Family ministry partner, Kenyan pastor Cleophas Makona, came up with an idea for an affordable private school for the poor in the region of his village. It would be a Christian school where the gospel would be part of the curriculum. If everything went as planned, the school would be self-sufficient in three years. We liked his idea enough to provide initial funding, and Heaven’s Family Academy (the name Cleophas gave to his school) opened its doors in 2011.
Cleophas didn’t stop there, however; he prayed for a computer lab to equip the academy’s students with highly marketable computer skills. We liked that idea, too, and thanks again to gifts to the Education Fund, the Heaven’s Family Internet Café (the name Cleophas gave it) was born earlier this year. On weekday mornings and afternoons it’s a computer lab, but after school hours and on the weekends it’s a money-making internet cafe. For a reasonable fee, local residents now use the Heaven’s Family Internet Café to conduct business and send emails. They previously had to walk three hours to access the nearest internet connection. A closer connection will doubtlessly help bring some prosperity to their very poor rural community as well.
Of course, the income from the café supplements the cost of the school, so that very poor local families can afford a better education for their children. Those children now have a much brighter future. One of them is Jairus. He can now read and write, and he ranks third in his class of eight!