FATEB Kinshasa Academy is a new Christian School opened in 2015 by TeachBeyond in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC is a country with a history of conflict. For a whole decade, war has simply eroded the fabric of the national economy. Education, regarded as the fundamental driver of development, is currently at the bottom of the ladder. Children are virtually abandoned to fate. Teachers no longer give of their best because they are totally unmotivated by insufficient pay. Despite such realities, we can never lose hope. For, as the saying goes, it is never late to improve.
In the DRC, TeachBeyond is ushering in a new way of living, an appreciation of what it means to be Christian in all aspects of life. With this firm basis, our teachers enjoy working in the TeachBeyond school in Kinshasa and give their very best.
I love this verse in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV): “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” This is a word of encouragement that God himself gives us for the realities we may encounter throughout our lives. The Lord is always there to guide our path.
Personally, I regard the teacher as a coach leading their team to final victory. Those who are learning—i.e., students—are equipped not only to pass exams but also to succeed in their future lives. They will then grow to become responsible persons in their country. If the teacher believes in his students in the classroom, he should be alongside them at all stages of the learning process and, most importantly, love them. This is what we strive to live every day at school. Writer James Baldwin said, “Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” The teacher who loves his/her students and prays for each of them will essentially succeed in what he or she does.
I often speak to parents who drop off and fetch their children at school. I pray with them. I share with them a Bible verse of the week which has helped me. Parents really feel encouraged and love the school for what we represent—not only for their children, but also for themselves as parents. A new parent said to me, “Mr. Héritier, I am so pleased to drop my children off at FKA. Once I’m in the school grounds, I don’t really want to go home because of the great atmosphere in the school.” Another parent related what her 3-year-old daughter had said. At home the child told her, “Mama, do you know it was God who created us? We should love Him every day for what He has done for us.” The child shared this because she had learned it at school. I am so proud to see and hear how God can do things like this with children, who become little preachers to their parents at home.
It’s precisely the little things we teach children that transform their lives little by little. That is why we must continue to teach children, while responding with the hope that we will see lives transformed to the glory of the Lord.
May my fellow heads and teachers at TeachBeyond schools around the world who have time to read these words, maintain HOPE and persevere. Regardless of the passage of time, transformation is always possible for the believer. FATEB Kinshasa is a small light at the end of the tunnel in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Together we maintain Hope.
To God be the glory!
— Fima HÉRITIER
Translated from French by Clive Phillips