|I bet we all can remember a formative child playmate: a neighbor, a cousin, a sibling, a best friend. These early relationships are where we explore our self-identity, often from where we draw our self-worth and the context within which we adventure more and more into the world. During school hours, students relate with each other in a multiplicity of ways: as classmates, as co-learners, as competitors and as playmates. In the recent years, we've become more collectively sensitized to how bullying can affect a persons' entire life and be the impetus for a life of insecurity and pain. We've also began to make greater strides toward intervening in what was in earlier decades considered "childish fun" or "harmless teasing". I can put myself back on that playground and remember when the girls didn't want to let me swing with them because I ate lunch with Tori and they didn't talk to… Read more »|
Play with me?
The Greatest Threat To Private Schools In The Dominican Republic
|If you ask a school proprietor in the Dominican Republic what is the greatest challenge they face as a school owner/director there is a good chance they'll tell you, "Parents that are late or never end up paying their school fees." When schools don't get money on time it makes it tough to pay the bills, the mortgage and most importantly teachers. In a recent survey Edify did, the majority of schools said that they never even end up collecting 15-20% of the students tuition revenues. When a school is charging a mere $10-20 dollars per month the loss of those much needed dollars can be hugely detrimental to their operations or even cause them to have to close their doors. Furthermore, the amount of time and energy that school directors spend trying to collect late fees pulls them away from their primary role of building a functioning, sound… Read more »|
Edify’s Mid Year Report
For Edify, the start of summer signals a ramping up of activity. As school lets out in Africa and the Dominican Republic, it is time to build! June and July are our busiest months for loan activity to fund expansion and physical improvement of the schools. Training ramps up as well since the proprietors and teachers are out of school. Edify builds into the lives of these wonderful teachers and proprietors both spiritually and professionally by helping them to become better at their craft.
I would like to encourage you to look at Edify's Mid-Year Report to see what God has done so far this fiscal year. In the report, please don't miss the link to the short video about Teresa's school. She is a wonderful woman that is making quite an impact on her community. Over the last few years she has become my friend. I'd also like to ask you to pray for Edify as we Build On!
|This month included a weeklong visit from Edify’s CEO, Chris Crane. While he was in country, we were able to visit several of our partner schools and share some of the progress being made. Being able to engage with local proprietors, teachers and students on their own turf is one of my favorite parts of working with Edify. It’s almost always inspiring, challenging and provides great insight into why and how I can do my job better. I’d like to share a little bit about one of the schools that we visited with Chris. Rise to Shine is owned by Beatrice Bamurange. Beatrice is a woman that exudes confidence and radiates faith. After becoming a Christian, she felt God’s calling for her life was to serve others, to “bring hope to the hopeless”. As she showed us around her 3-room schoolhouse she told us of when she first visited this remote space in search of the location for her school. There… Read more »|
Fear and Self-esteem
|I think fear might be the source of true “self-esteem” for children. It’s a counter-intuitive idea, for sure and maybe a little counter-cultural as well. Schools in the developing world, as well as the ones in my neighborhood, have adopted in various ways notions of child development that find their basis in psychology. Many of these concepts are helpful as we consider ways to address children’s needs in a developmentally appropriate way. I’ve seen inspirational phrases painted on the walls of classrooms and schools that promote a positive self-image. As seen in the pictures here, these phrases are often right along-side a painting of Winney the Pooh or Fred Flintstone or a Bible verse. It’s an amusing mixture! Solomon was the wisest man to ever live and he had a lot to say about fear in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning… Read more »|
Education, A National Context
|It is difficult to walk into a Dominican public or private school without seeing Juan Pablo Duarte’s* portrait prominently displayed. Many schools begin their day with a morning ceremony where students lead in raising the flag, singing the national anthem and praying for the day of classes. I have witnessed school directors take the opportunity to give their children context, saying things like, “This year is the Bicentennial of Juan Pablo Duarte, what does this mean for us and how we should live?” Students generally understand that Duarte is to be a model of bravery, compassion and love of country. After all, every morning they sing a song directed to the flag: “as long as there exists a school to sing of your greatness, you will wave with the soul of Duarte, you will live on with the soul of God”. On the… Read more »|
First Aid Lessons
|We held our first pre-school training here in Rwanda, and it was such a blessing to be a part of. Pre-schools in Rwanda are almost all private schools. The government, being focused on ramping up Education for All initiatives, has mainly left the pre-school sector to the private market. We started to realize what potential there is in these Early Childhood educators, and wanted to plan something to support them. Two nurses volunteered their time to conduct training on basic First Aid. The nurses were very professional, and we were able to offer the training to over 30 nursery schools in two days. The topics included basic wound care, choking, nosebleeds, burns, cold and flu prevention, and basic CPR. The best part was watching the participants “in action” as they practiced the concepts. One session included skits, where participants worked in groups to develop skits of the correct way to respond to a given situation and an incorrect way. For example, one… Read more »|
Body and Soul
|Students at recess eating their snack at Colegio Evangélico Efraín (Ephraim Christian School) in Santiago, a school dedicated to nourishing both body and soul. Edify has been working with Efraín since July 2012 when the director, Josefina, and 5 teachers attended the AMO training hosted by Esperanza. We have been providing follow-up visits to Efraín in an effort to support the implementation of AMO in their classrooms, which they have done with excellence. Through AMO they have greatly improved the Christ-centered education they offer, now with a firm commitment to nurturing the heart of each student. Efraín is now also walking alongside us as we plan the next training in Santiago. The director has offered her school for us to use to host upwards of 30 other Christian schools in the area for a breakfast later this month. There we will present the AMO program and extend… Read more »|
|Matters of measurement within the development field and more specifically within Christian ministry have often been the focus of many unsolved arguments. Opinions vary greatly as to whether or not we should try to measure the impact or outcomes of our well intentioned efforts to serve the orphan, the widow, the hungry, the oppressed or the "other". Two excellent arguments against measuring the true outcomes of ministry efforts; 1) This is simply the work of the Lord that is creating internal change within an individual. You cannot measure the way God changes someone's heart. 2) By taking measurements of our desired outcomes, we are asserting our own agendas and attempts to control rather than allowing God to guide the process and the outcomes. While the arguments above certainly have some merit, the good that comes with impact measurement far outweighs the bad. Jonathan Mitchel works with Concentric Development and offers, "We cannot measure… Read more »|
Education in the Neighborhood
|While I knew a few of my neighbors well growing up, I never had the neighborhood experience of club houses, multiple mother figures or pick-up soccer games. In many parts of the Dominican Republic, in contrast, the neighborhood is often still as or more important to a child's formation as his or her immediate family. Neighbors are not like family, they are family; they share food; they watch each others' kids; they keep an eye out. When I think about the education of children in the Dominican context, I think of how important it is to have a challenging school, involved parents who reinforce behavior and skills at home and finally, a community of people who want the best for the children's future. For me, the ideal neighborhood is one where there is space for good conversations, accountability, resource sharing and belonging. That's what I love about schools that Edify works with; they often have this same vision for their neighborhood. They… Read more »|