It's time to announce all the details! 

As many of you are probably already aware, we have started a new pre-primary and primary school called Neema Christian Academy.

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A letter from Jeff Bys our Kenyan ministries director:

In Kenya Pre-primary in Kenya is made up of 2 classes, PP1 for 4 year-olds and PP2 for 5 year-olds. Then the primary classes begin with age 6. We have begun with Grade 1 up to Grade 5. We gave the reason behind our desire to open a school in general terms in the official announcement, but thought we could and should go into more detail with our supporters who are praying for this work and/or are supporting it financially.

We have been praying about the possibility of opening a new school ever since we had to separate from the Kenyan ministry we first came to Kenya to work with. AFM had supported that ministry for about 7 years, and supported a school through that ministry for about 5 years. We built Mercy Home in Kaya directly across the road from that school. Soon after moving here, Steph and I began to realize that there were some things about that ministry and that school that should not be, including the leader of that ministry misappropriating funds. We also had issues with the harsh environment for the students of the school, due to the methods of discipline being used there.

Since then, we have had our kids in two other schools in nearby villages and have found harsh discipline to be prevalent in both of them as well. We have had our children come home saying they were caned, but not have any idea what they did wrong. We have had children caned for not answering a math problem correctly. We have seen teachers walk around with a stick, whacking kiddos who were scattering, trying to get away. Also, all of the public schools in our area have been taken over by the Catholic church and want all the students to attend mass. We have also come to realize how much schools in the villages struggle. Public schools are underfunded, as the government just doesn’t have the funds to employ enough teachers and maintain the correct curriculum. It is not uncommon for a teacher to have 80+ students in their class. In a class that size, they are fortunate to have 5 or 6 books for each subject. As a result of this, village schools tend to under perform. Under the current education system, schools and teachers are rated according to test scores. This has created an environment whereby most public schools demand their kids to report by 6 am and most do not get to leave until 5 or 6 pm. They also demand the students to come on Saturdays 8 am to 5 pm. Of course, there is a fee for that extra “training” as well. To make up for the lack of teachers, they will charge fees in order to try to employ another teacher or two. The teachers then are forced to become debt collectors. If a student has not paid their fees, they will have to harass the family to pay. If they can’t pay, then the student will be put out of the school until the fees are paid. Many of the families cannot pay, so many children in the villages do not finish school. It is not uncommon for people to go no further in school than 3rd or 4th grade. To complete high school, unfortunately, is way too rare in the villages. For those who do manage to complete high school, due to the poor learning environment, it is difficult for them to score high enough to qualify for university.

On top of these challenges, the children of Mercy Home have additional challenges. Our kids are mistreated because they live with Wazungu (white people). Furthermore, some locals (mainly false teachers wrapped up in prosperity gospel theology) have decided to make themselves our enemies. They try to use corrupt officials against us. For instance, we had decided to take our children to a different public school this year (The school year here starts in January) than last year, due to far too many problems with the school they were at last year. We had arranged with the principle of the new school to enroll our kids. The next day we sent our social worker to officially enroll them and pay the fees, when she was told they could not be enrolled. I went to meet with her, where she told me that she had been told some bad things about our kids and would need to meet with the management board of the school for them to decide whether or not to enroll our kids. She then expected what equates to a bribe in order to make this happen. What’s even worse is she said it would take about 2 weeks before the board could meet. We are certain that if we just waited, that whoever is trying to frustrate us would be reporting us to the Children’s Department Officer for not having our kids in school.

After much prayer and facing all these issues and concerns, we felt the best thing to do was to start a school of our own, thus Neema Christian Academy was born (NCA). Neema pronounced neh-eh-mah, means “grace” in Swahili language.  We have hired 7 qualified teachers and a teachers’ aid, along with an Assistant Administrator for NCA, Mercy Home and our church ministry. He is also a trained teacher. We have been purchasing curriculum and have started construction of the classrooms. We also brought in an expert on the new curriculum that Kenya rolled out last year for the pre-primary grades and grades 1-3. He has been training us on the proper implementation, designing schemes of work, and designing lesson plans. I am so excited about this new curriculum, called Competency Based Curriculum, or CBC. It is designed to shift the Kenyan education system from being content focused to being competency focused; from being rigid and prescriptive to being flexible; from being primarily focused on competition to being balanced, formative, and substantive; from an emphasis on schooling to an emphasis on education; from an emphasis on teaching to an emphasis on learning. But as the facilitator has explained to me, even though the Kenya Department of Education has rolled out this new curriculum, it will take time for the schools and teachers to accept it and utilize it correctly. However, we feel we are in a position to do this right. Giving the correct tools for our teachers to do their job, while keeping class sizes to a maximum of 25, and having directors who believe in the CBC, we believe we can set a very high standard thus giving our little community a chance at a high quality education. NCA will not only benefit the children of Mercy Home, but we are opening up to at-risk children who come from very poor families. Initially, we are including 35 kids from our community that are the most likely to not finish primary school if we don’t step in and change their situation. We believe this is yet another way God will change this community and get glory for His great name.

Obviously, starting a school takes much prayer and funding. We ask that you might be praying for this new work, and perhaps ask your church or small group to pray as well. We have construction costs, curriculum and supplies costs, as well as salaries that must be paid. If NCA is something you desire to contribute towards, please go to aboutfacemissions.com/donate for details on how to give.
Blessings,    Jeff & Steph and Family
— Jeff Bys,AFM Missionary Director, Kenya
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Now just a word on finances right now.  As Jeff said above this is big step of faith that God will provide all the financial resources for us to build up the minimal needs for us to get this school up running.  We were blessed with about $6000 in extra funds of year end giving, so by God's grace we have been able to pay thus far for $750 of the needed $1000 for the curriculum, and have been able to use the balance of the extra funds to build some needed fencing, a new entrance gate and buy the materials to build all the school classroom walls and foundations:
So on top of another $250 needed for curriculum, We need around another 15 bags of cement, sand, lumber for roof, iron sheets for roof, and labor. For that, we are looking at probably around $2500. That does not include windows and doors, and desks. Windows and doors can wait, we can move into the new classrooms once the roof is done. Even if we don't have the $2500 now, the next 2-3 days would be masons building the walls. For that we need $70 in sand, $140 in cement, and about $100/day in labor. They work quickly so if we had donors send in Neema School donations right away to cover construction costs, we could be done in 7 or 8 days! 
Pray about making a onetime sacrificial Gift as soon as you can to help us get the classrooms ready to be used at some level. If not we will need to meet in various places inside Mercy Home or under shade trees...and you know how much it rains in Kenya!  
Visit AboutFaceMissions.com/donate for various ways to give and simply memo Neema School to designate. Big or small gifts are very needed!

Thank you!  May the Lord help us bless these little ones with quality education and discipleship, and may HE use you!
  Click button below for direct online giving for for this need now. 

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