This week it is my great joy to host African leaders from 8 different countries. In all of my trips to Africa I cannot remember ever seeing a public school. They exist I just have been in places where the church and the school are one. Just as you would expect a pharmacy in a supermarket these days in the US, so is the expectation in the churches in west Africa to also be a school. Heartbreaking are the stories shared about the plight of students in public schools in Africa.
Here is a quote from the ActionAid website, “In Nigeria school age girls are mostly out of school for several reasons including school based violence, cost of education and child marriage/pregnancies. It is confirmed that girls who are unable to pay school levies are made to take the option of having sex with teachers in exchange. A number of these girls get pregnant and drop out of school. Some are forced to get into marriages, thereby miss out on education. Our Transforming the Education of Girls in Nigeria (TEGIN) project and Promoting Rights in School (PRS) initiative are used to address the barriers stopping girls from going to school.”
Praise be to God that Methodism has always linked education and literacy as a primary expression of the social and evangelical gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Methodist Church I have ever been to in Africa is also a school bustling with activity, learning, and hope every weekday. I thank God for this expression of ministry and for all the help for boys and girls to learn well and be affirmed as loved children of God! Thank you Jesus for the opportunity to make a difference in the great gift of education.