Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
In the village of Kager there is an education system overflowing with the hope and potential of 900 young minds being trained “in the way they should go.” Scattered among three primary schools and one secondary school, these 900 eager students are the privileged community children whose parents or benefactors have somehow arranged to pay their school tuition. Nyanza Province, where Kager is located, has the highest rate of poverty and HIV/AIDS in all of Kenya, and more than 60% of Nyanza’s population is classified as impoverished according to reports by Kenya’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
In collaboration with village and school leaders, the Jubilee Village Project is committed to expanding the educational services in Kager and positively impact not only the lives of hundreds of villagerchildren, but also their families and the entire community. JVP’s Education initiatives include a variety of programs focused on both primary and secondary schools
Jubilee Scholars: Begun in 2008, this program provides tuition, boarding fees and textbooks/supplies for a small number of students to attend secondary boarding school (grade 9 to 12) away from the village. Program participants are chosen based on their academic merit, character, commitment to community development and financial need.
Secondary School Start Up: In September 2009, four Global Partners from Indiana traveled to Kager to build relationships and work on a variety of projects. Intent on getting to know and understand the needs of Kager’s villagers, it was inevitable that many parents of schoolchildren would seize the opportunity to voice their frustration to the JVP partners that their children had no school in Kager to attend after they graduated eighth grade. Although opening a secondary school was not on the radar in the first few years of JVP’s work in Kager, the need was compelling. The team returned to Indianapolis for continued discussion and much prayer, and in late 2009 we began working with Kager’s community leaders to open their only secondary school, God Kado Secondary School. In February 2010, the secondary school was opened with 42 students in its first Form 1 (Grade 9) class and the vision to add a new grade each year for the next three years. With a firm belief that the community must take ownership of their children’s education — while continuing to move toward self-sustainability — JVP focused on assisting with infrastructure (furniture, books, school uniforms, water tanks) while the people of Kager village supplied all the funding for the teachers and staff salaries. Taking this ownership has had positive impact within the village, as committees of parents and leaders have begun to find their own solutions to community problems.
School Uniforms and Shoes for Orphans: In Kenya, schoolchildren are required to wear a school uniform, making it impossible for most orphans to be educated. It’s a simple and inexpensive problem to fix! A heartwarming outreach of JVP has been outfitting orphans with necessary uniforms and shoes so they can attend school. There is no shortage of orphans – we are limited only by the funding we can raise for this outreach. A side benefit of this outreach is that a JVP-funded microenterprise, a seamstress, makes the orphans uniforms. She can pay back her loan more quickly, and the benefits to the village continue.
Textbooks and Supplies: This program is designed to help meet the basic needs of each of the primary schools in the village: Heartspring Academy, Oneno Primary and God Kado Primary. These needs include school room supplies, text books, encyclopedias, reference books and exam materials.
Freedom For Girls: One of the obstacles to learning encountered in all of Kager’s schools is absence due to illness. This issue is being addressed in a holistic manner through collaboration with JVP’s Health & Nutrition sector. One program currently being implemented in Kager schools is HEART Africa’s Freedom for Girls Program. Through this program, teenage girls are provided with undergarments, sanitary napkins and hygiene education. If not for this program’s assistance, many girls would be absent up to five days of school a month due to lack of protection during their monthly cycle. As part of this program, each girl visits the JVP Community Center once a month to pick up her supplies, at which time she meets with a village woman trained to provide valuable information the girls would not normally receive. Basic hygiene education and training to teach the girls how to “just say no” to having sex provide great potential to producing the next generation of empowered women in the community.
School-to-School Partnerships: Finally, one solution which is currently being sought is the creation of long-term school-to-school partnerships between Kager’s schools and schools in the United States. The Jubilee Village Project desires to establish a long-term relationships based on Kingdom principles and developing one-on-one dialogue globally at a teacher-to-teacher, student-to-student and principal-to-principal level. Our vision is a relationship based not on fundraising, but on awareness raising, collaboration and equal sharing . We strive to create a worldview among all involved that glorifies our Creator while addressing specific issues of performance, achievement, access and quality in schools.