|This year, we have welcomed four new team members to the Edify staff in the Dominican Republic. They are working to deepen, expand and improve Edify’s relationships and impact in Christian schools. Our mission statement is coming alive—to improve and to expand SUSTAINABLE, AFFORDABLE, CHRIST-CENTERED education in the developing world! Leandro Peguero joined our team in July as the Christian Transformation & Training Officer. He oversees training efforts and implementation of training principles. It is one thing to offer training on the integration of Biblical principals in your school or effective financial management of a school, yet it is entirely different to walk alongside schools, helping them to implement what they have learned and effectively improve their schools. This is the work Leandro does. He is exceptionally interpersonal and models Christ in his relationships with school proprietors, teachers and our local partners. Prior to Edify, Leandro spent eight years working as a Program… Read more »|
Expanding the Edify Team in the Dominican Republic
|The Dominican Republic is a country of incredible natural beauty. It is home to countless endemic birds, amphibians and flowers, some only found on the island of Hispanola. Its fertile soil produces cacao, tobacco, sugar as 30% of the country is suitable for agriculture. Pollution and deforestation threaten the island's biodiversity and green space. Tourism and eco-tourism initiatives offer opportunity for environmental stewardship but also sometimes trample on natural resources. Multinational corporations offer much-needed employment, but sometimes at an environmental cost. Certainly, there are macro-economic forces at play here, as in any country. Students today will be the leaders of tomorrow who will make decision regarding stewardship, justice, preservation and growth. It is imperative, therefore, that they are instructed in how to care for their environment, sow seeds, fertilize soil and teach others to do the same. We pray that they sow physical seeds and fertilize tangible soil, but that they do the same in the lives of those around them, too. The… Read more »|
|Today, the buzz about mobile technology in the developing world is not limited to development and technology circles. As more and more US school districts aquire tablets for their classrooms, a wide audience is asking, "how could mobile technology help solve the global educational access and quality problems?" How can mobile technology help where there is a dearth of teachers or where learning content is limited? Sugta Mitra's experiment with student-driven learning in India has gotten many excited about the "quantum leap" such technology could provide to self-motivated students in the developing world. Juarez Correa of Matamoros, Mexico similarly inspires with his innovative and successful pedagogy in a low-resource school. Edify is implementating TeacherMate, an application that focuses on English phonics and is tailored to the speed and progress of each student. Our model is to equip and empower English teachers to use student-centered-learning approaches and to engage students in the process of learning. As humble students ourselves, there… Read more »|
Teacher Mate Holiday Club
|Claude prepping his 'Teacher-station' lesson. Students know exactly what to do in each of the 3 stations. We are in the middle of the school break in Rwanda. The students have recently finished writing their exams, and are on holiday until the new year. At Imena primary school, many students in P1-P3 students were upset to have to take time off from the Teacher Mate Literacy software. They have been using the software (loaded onto I-pods touches) daily in their classrooms for the last year. For those of you who are not familiar, TeacherMate is a differentiated reading software that focuses on building early literacy. Edify, in collaboration with Innovations for Learning, has been piloting the technology in Rwanda and Ghana ( after it's great success in schools in the US). It's difficult to paint a picture of what the program looks like… Read more »|
|In the book of Exodus, YHWH gives His name: I am that I am (alternatively "I will be what I will be". Exodus 3:14) He points to His auto-existence. He defines Himself by His being. In the Gospel of John, Jesus also offers many "I am" statements: I am the Living Bread (6:51), I am the Light of the World (8:12), I am the True Vine (15:1). Surely, our God's definition of Himself points to an order of being first. The doing comes from that being. We do not become worthy or beloved by doing. This truth should cause us to walk differently through life than our societies would have us. This self-identity of being points us towards rest, towards assurance in Him and in our creation in His likeness. He gave us the Sabbath to be still. He gave us community to be embraced. He gave us creation to be surrounded. To receive these free gifts, he didn't require that we… Read more »|
November – School-Based Training
|As the school holidays get up and going, we are trying something a bit new in Rwanda. Rather than bring teachers or school leaders to a large training facility, we are going right to their space, and conducting school-based trainings. In the past 2 weeks we have facilitated 4 half-day trainings, at 4 client schools. Our main focus has been on 'learning and teaching in English'. This is a topic that is often requested by school leaders and is an area of HUGE need as the country continues to struggle with the transition to English as the language of instruction in schools. Virtually all students are learning in a language that is not their mother tongue (and more than likely not ever spoken at home) and teachers are expected to teach in a language foreign to them. The changes have occurred very quickly and almost everyone is finding it difficult to keep up. The school-based training is quite simple, it provides an… Read more »|
|In Spanish, "the street" is used to communicate a figurative and physical place of commerce and errands. It is used in contrast to "being home"--for which the connotation is usually safety and family. It is used in phrases such as "Jenny isn't home, she's still in the street" or "Fausto works all day in the street and still makes barely enough to pay rent." The "street" culture--that is, what happens as students walk to and from school, run to the store to buy cooking oil for mom, or sit on their porch as the sun sets-- is often in direct conflict with the teachings of God's love and plans for them. I believe there is hope for redemption of our culture, but world-wide, there are macro-cultures that speak of consumption, gratification, selfishness and power that battle daily with our call to community, stewardship and denying of self. Ruth Delgado, director of Colegio Cristiano Mundo de Saber ("World of Knowledge") shared with us… Read more »|
Edify is on the Move!
|Edify is on the move! This summer Edify began pilot projects in two new countries in Africa: Liberia and Burkina Faso! We are so grateful for our partners in Liberia and Burkina Faso who have blessed us with enthusiasm and local expertise to help expand and improve Christ-centered low-fee schools. Here’s a quick snapshot of our progress to date in Liberia. Liberia ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world (174 of 186 on the UN Human Development Index) and the Liberian people suffered greatly during a fourteen year civil war that ended in 2003. Since 2003, the affordable private school market has doubled in size. Low-fee, good quality proprietor owned schools have been encouraged by the current President of Liberia, Madame Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. When our partner, Foundation for Women – Liberia awarded the first schools loans, the Vice President of Liberia was in attendance to… Read more »|
Glimpse from the Field
Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
|This past month, Edify sponsored 20 participants from 10 partner schools in Rwanda to attend the 2nd annual ACSI roundtable conference. ACSI stands for the Association of Christian Schools International and is a Christian educational organization that supports the personal and professional development of Christian educators. Further, they "provide vital support functions for Christian schools, encourage Christian values in Christian schools and focus on developing the child spiritually" (ASCI webpage,2013). The Edify Rwanda team sits on the planning committee for this annual event. The idea of an integrated Christian education is fairly new in Rwanda, and the content of this conference extraordinarily relevant. The schools we work with are largely made up of committed owners who want God to be honored and students to hear the Truth in their classrooms, but require support to fully realize this goal. The theme for this year's event was " Filling our Schools with God's truth", inspired from Habakkuk 2:14. The main topics at the conference… Read more »|