Thankful to be of Service

Good Sam kids at Window

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Greg Mortenson’s work building schools in remote villages in Pakistan for girls who would otherwise receive no education at all. Mortenson’s story and work are inspiring, indeed. I’m thankful to report that this week I’ve had a chance to participate in some international school-fundraising of my own; as the Missions Coordinator for my church’s Vacation Bible School, I’ve been promoting the cause of an elementary school for children in Africa.

Every year at VBS, we choose a charitable work to be the recipient of the children’s daily offering. This year, the money we raise will go to sponsor the education of several children in Senegal, a former French colony in West Africa. In Senegal, where many families are poor and education can be costly, many children are unable to attend school because their families cannot afford the $20/month it costs to send them. It’s hard to believe that the cost of 100 tickets at Rehoboth Beach’s Funland Amusements or 2 pounds of boardwalk fudge could buy something as precious as education.

The generosity of the VBS children, their parents, and the staffers has overwhelmed me this week! With one day to go of our VBS program, we’ve exceeded our goal of raising $460 (enough to pay for 2 years of school in Senegal!); as of today, we’ve collected an astonishing $610!! I’m hoping that our offering tomorrow will put us at the $700 mark.

Ironic that American children on their much anticipated (and well deserved) summer vacations should be rallying so enthusiastically around the cause of children whose greatest desire is to attend school. And amazing that our meager contribution can go such a very long way.



  1. Lorraine said,

    June 26, 2009 at 2:44 am

    It makes you wonder if deep down our children really do know how lucky they are! My school which is a local state school sponsors 2 children (a boy in Laos and a girl in Africa) and the children are really enthusiastic about fundraising to pay for the children. This year we also had a fund raiser for the Victorian bushfire victims and the response was overwhelming. Considering that many of our families are doing it tough with unemployment or half shifts they were extremely generous. My class is also keen to pack shoe boxes for “Operation Christmas Child”. We’ll do it next term before dieter and I leave on our travels.

  2. scheirmad said,

    June 29, 2009 at 9:10 am

    You know, I think you’re absolutely right. The children may say that recess is their favorite subject and may groan about going to school, but the idea of a 9-year-old child having to quit school and go to work because her family can’t afford to send her really hits home for them.

    Just an addendum to the story–we collected even more money in our final day of Vacation Bible School. We’re sending a grand total of $1,050 to the school in Senegal–that’ll cover a year of schooling for 5 children! It’s by far the most we’ve ever raised!

    Plus, get this. A represtative from a local church that partners regularly with the school invited me to come on a vision trip to Senegal next year! I’m torn, though. Is it better for me to visit, or to take the money that I would have spent travelling and sending it to the school to sponsor more children?

    • Lorraine said,

      June 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      I understand the dilemma. However, if you choose to go you’ll have a first-hand, real-knowledge experience that will then inspire you to inspire others back home which may well result in more than the “airfare” being gifted to the school.
      There’s something soooooo good about sponsoring kids to be at school. St. Vincent de Paul run a “sponsor a student” student scheme which keeps kids at school at all levels.

      • Cheryl said,

        June 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm

        Yes, thanks for giving me another way to look at it. I have a friend at church who is originally from Ghana, and she too is excited about the possibility of travelling with me. I think that an ongoing sponsorship could be a really great project for our family and our church! Not sure how inspirational I am, but I guess I have to trust the Lord for that!

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