Helpers at work (3): committed to education
Making dreams come true is the goal that the thirteen New Apostolic aid agencies have set themselves. One way to achieve this is through education. In 2023 some aid agencies have made great strides in this regard.
Around 300 people in sports gear run across the lawn despite the wintry temperatures. They have one goal: to run as much as possible in order to raise as many funds as possible. At the beginning of August 2023, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider visited Perth in Australia. The aid agency of the Regional Church, NACare, took advantage of the attention around the international Church president and the invited District Apostles and organised a Move-a-Thon. A Move-a-Thon is an effective event-based fundraiser. Typically, participants commit to an activity and ask their friends, family, and co-workers to sponsor them. Many families came to share in the day of fellowship and fun and to help raise funds for the Solomon Islands Early Childhood Development project.
The Solomon Islands are one of the poorest countries in Oceania. Ethnic conflicts and extensive damage to the infrastructure impact the population. The relief organisation of the New Apostolic Church Australia has been supporting a project for pre-school children here since 2021, the Solomon Islands Early Childhood Development project. It is aimed at children between the ages of four and seven. The idea is to create an enabling environment for the children to help them achieve the best possible outcomes in life. The aim of the programme is to get the children school-ready. For this purpose, they meet daily in the New Apostolic church in White River, which has been modified into a learning centre, where they receive an early childhood education. The classes have been split into two age groups. The approximately forty children are taught by qualified teachers.
Creating educational spaces
Already in 2023, the Australian project had positive results to report. Additional toilet facilities could be built at the White River learning centre. An unintended but positive consequence of the programme in White River has seen the establishment of a similar programme in the village of Boneghe.
The NAC SEA Relief Fund is also committed to providing money for education. This year, the relief organisation of the New Apostolic Church South-East Asia completed two projects in the Philippines. In the small village of Sitio Putting Bato near Compostela, volunteers built a school consisting of two classrooms, a faculty room, three comfort rooms, as well as a sanitary block. In Sitio Mantukdo near Cauayan, the completed school building with a classroom was inaugurated recently. The NAC SEA Relief Fund received financial support from Switzerland. This is not the first time that NAC Humanitas has worked with NAC SEA Relief.
Learning for life
Despite major challenges, both construction projects were completed even earlier than planned. NAC SEA Relief was not deterred by storms, nor by the fact that the sites of the new school buildings are in remote areas and difficult to reach. The staff were willing to familiarise themselves with new areas of work and acquire new skills in order to complete the project. They received a lot of thanks for this, also from politicians: the official handover of the school buildings was attended by staff from the Ministry of Education. A total of around 230 children now have a new place to learn.
Another NAC SEA Relief project aimed at making a long-term difference is the scholarship programme. Every year, the charity awards scholarships to underprivileged students for their continued education. The number and value of the grants awarded vary from year to year. This year, one hundred young people benefit from grants and are able to attend college. “They can realise their dreams for a better life through higher education,” project coordinator Mabelle Bagtas writes.
Aid agencies work together closely
The aid agency NAK-karitativ is also involved with educational projects. Together with its partner organisation Masakhe Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the New Apostolic Church Southern Africa, NAK-karitativ has, for example, built a training centre in Parkwood, South Africa. In Zambia, NAK-karitativ promotes agricultural training and in Malawi, the aid agency has already financed three preschools. Preschools and kindergartens here are not funded by the state. Only about 62 per cent of the people in Malawi can read and write. Especially children from low-income families often suffer as a result. NAK-karitativ supports the aid agency NACRO of the New Apostolic Church Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in encouraging children to learn and prepare them for school. NAK-karitativ provides balanced meals and teaching materials, as well as financial support for some parents.
You can find further information about the aid agencies of the New Apostolic Church around the world, including contact information and opportunities to support them, on their websites:
- human aktiv (Southern Germany)
- Kumea (East Africa)
- Masakhe Foundation (Southern Africa)
- NAC Foreign Extension (Canada)
- NAC SEA Relief Fund (South East Asia)
- NACare (Australia)
- NACRO (Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe)
- NAK-Diakonia (Switzerland)
- NAK-Humanitas (Switzerland)
- NAK-karitativ (Germany)
- re Charitable Ministry (USA)
- Ser Prójimo (Argentina)
- Stichting Corantijn (Netherlands)
In poor countries, girls are often unable to go to school when they are menstruating because they lack proper menstrual supplies and because they cannot practise proper menstrual hygiene. How NAK-karitativ is tackling this issue will be the subject of the next part in this mini-series.