Nine kindergarten students run into the brightly painted classroom, eager to begin another day of learning. Teachers who will pray for and with them warmly greet them. Their parents are thrilled to see the shelves of beginning-reading books, interesting pictures on the walls, and child-size tables and chairs.
This may look like a typical kindergarten classroom in many countries. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, this delightful environment for learning is unlike the bare classrooms in other area schools.
More than four years ago, the Alliance of Churches in the Congo (The ECC), an organization representing over 4,000 protestant congregations, asked TeachBeyond to help start a Christian school in Kinshasa, the nation’s capital. Years of prayer and
discussion, searching for and renovating the right building, and selecting and training a school board and teachers culminated in the opening of FATEB Kinshasa Academy in September. (FATEB is an acronym for a seminary in Central African Republic.)
Tamera Peters, TeachBeyond’s school start-up advisor, and Christy Ware, a teacher-trainer, were TeachBeyond’s ongoing contacts with the start-up, and poured their lives into training the Congolese teachers.
Parents Seeing Transformation
“The parents are thrilled. They already see transformation in their children,” Tamera says. “A student who had been hitting other children has settled down and stopped hitting since he has been in our school. One of the girls has a disability in her leg, and her father, who is on the school board, said he has seen progress in her motor skills because she’s playing with other children. In her community other children would ignore her because of her disability, but in our school the other children are helping her and interacting with her.”
“We hope this first school is an encouragement to the other Congolese schools. It is a warm, fun, inviting atmosphere for students and we hope we are an example for them. We will continue to train teachers and ACSI is setting up a training program,” Tamera says.
The school can accommodate more than nine kindergarten students, but it is a good start for the new teachers. They have no previous teaching experience, so Tamera and Christy followed the Congolese standards for teacher training while adding the dimension of Christian education that is the cornerstone of transformational education. FKA expects more students because it is common in the Congo for parents to enroll their children throughout the school year, Tamera noted. Next year they plan to add first grade.
Projects Need Your Support
FKA is open, but finances are needed to help with operating expenses for a couple of years and for some remaining projects. The school needs outdoor playground equipment, funds to create a guest apartment in the school building for the teacher-trainers, and for a school van. A scholarship fund has been set up for children whose families cannot afford the tuition. All schools in Kinshasa charge tuition; there are no free schools. Click on the following link to donate. http://give.teachbeyond.org/support/fka/