The last few years as I’ve been more involved with our Child Sponsorship program in Mozambique I have seen the many challenges we face. One of the biggest is having students especially girls continue on with their education as they get older and reach the higher grades. A couple contributing factors are the cultural practice of fathers marrying off their daughters young to collect the lobola (customary bride price) and a very low literacy rate in the rural area where we live. Many of our students come from homes where their parents don’t read and write, so they don’t have the support to learn and stay in school. As a result, education isn’t valued and many only see the future through the cultural norm…getting married, having a family and working the fields. Every year it is so difficult and heartbreaking to see students choosing not to continue on in school or having their parents make that choice for them. We try to the best of our ability to provide opportunities and keep them in school, but many times it isn’t enough and the turnover of students in the program can be quite high. However after all these years of having the program…things are slowly starting to change!
This is the framework for what I’m going to share with you now…the MIRACLE in the midst of these challenges! This past year, our sponsorship program saw our first two students actually complete their Grade 12. We celebrated and recognized them for this wonderful achievement. Both have the desire to continue on and do career training. Neither one was able to get into the government school (which is much cheaper) they wanted to though…so this coming year they were both going to work with the mission and do some other studying.
A couple weeks ago, the father of one of these guys met with us and asked if his son could go to the private school for his training if he helped to pay some of the cost! He said he had cows he could sell to help pay and wanted his son to continue on with his studies this year. He even brought a significant amount of cash with him to the meeting to show us he was serious. My heart was full to overflowing…and it leaked out my eyes as I sat in the meeting. I had to thank him for being willing to sacrifice to see his son have a better future. I was reminded this was a great example of why we have the sponsorship program…because change happens. It may be slow and take time…but this father and son prove it is in fact possible. A MIRACLE in the midst of challenges.
Please pray for more of these kinds of stories as we continue to work to provide an opportunity for each child to reach their God-given potential. You can be part of it…by sponsoring a child! Last year approximately 187 of our 255 students were sponsored…so there’s room for more people to be involved. For more information go to www.samministries.org/Mozambique/child-sponsorship-Mozambique or contact me! I’d be more than happy to partner you with one of the children that is available.
***Just after I posted this blog…we had some more good news. One of our students got into a Mechanic training program at a school in Beira! Beira is five hours away from where the mission is, so it makes the logistics a challenge…but we have a great team here. We are happy to what needs to be done to see our students succeed. It’s very exciting for this young man…but also for us and the sponsorship program…another step forward.