We are in the midst of “back to school” season. First day of school pictures overtake social media. We see kids out at their bus stops on our commute to work. Sales for school supplies abound. We find joy in the reality of children learning and playing together during this season.
As we enjoy this season, let’s take a moment to celebrate how the international Salvation Army is part of a very specialized ministry – providing affordable, quality education to their communities. Across the globe, The Salvation Army runs 801 pre-schools, 1185 primary schools, 469 secondary schools, 15 colleges, and 64 vocational training schools. That is over 2,500 educational centers reaching over 430,000 students.
In our partner territory, Kenya East, they have seen the needs of their communities and are passionate about their school ministry. In their territory alone they offer a variety of educational options for their people. In addition to 163 primary schools and 64 secondary schools, they run eight specialized schools – for visually impaired, physically disabled, and multi-disabled young people. They also run two vocational schools that offer training to at-risk young adults so they can find and maintain a living wage.
Howard Dalziel, of the International Headquarters department overseeing schools, recently shared how these schools impact young people, their families and their communities. One example of a nursery school in Kenya is found in Kibera, “a large community that is sometimes referred to as Africa’s largest slum, but is in fact a complex community where people live, work, are educated, raise families, worship and encourage, empower and nurture each other.” An outside, casual observer may see a slum, but a deeper, genuine observation of the area will find a vibrant, caring community. It is there that the Salvation Army has a lively congregation and school for the children of the area.
In Thika, near Nairobi, The Salvation Army runs primary, secondary and vocational schools for disabled young people. Regarding Thika, Mr. Dalziel says: ….” “The Salvation Army educates and nurtures children with varying complex disabilities. We thank students for their aptitude and staff for their dedication and The Salvation Army for support.” This sign pictured is an empowering encouragement to the students and staff. May it encourage us to ‘shake the world’ by praying for our brothers and sisters in the Kenya East territory and challenge us to support World Services Self-Denial through our financial offerings… “In a gentle way you can shake the world.”