Fees Must Fall

There is a lot of talk in the world right now concerning free college education.  In the United States, politicians like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have declared from their political pulpits that college education should be free for most, if not all, of those living in America.  In South Africa, the call does not seem very different.  Students across the nation are protesting on college campuses and at government sites declaring the now familiar mantra “Fees Must Fall.”    Putting aside the merits and/or detriments of such demands, it does highlight a common sentiment that young people from different corners of the globe share.  They all are looking for what they feel is the easiest way to secure their futures.

It is easy to get caught up in an outcome.  The Western world conditions us for it.  The fact is that the South African educational system has lowered its standards so that more students can gain access to college.  The “Fees Must Fall” movement tries to manipulate the tuition structure despite the economic reality of the country.  The economy of the country remains such that few jobs are available even with a degree, and the cost of that degree continues to rise due to inflation and other economic factors.  As the number of trade schools remains low and a broad-based investment in youth development is still lacking, the country seems fixed on producing a particular outcome that is unrelated to each student’s individual need.

We started Goshen International in response to a call from God to simply provide students with opportunities.  In the fourteen years that I have served in South Africa, I have learned that it is a fine line between providing opportunities for students and ensuring a certain outcome for them.  We too had a pretty narrow approach to what success looked like for our kids.  But over time the Lord showed us that He has a unique plan for every person’s life.  That seems like a pretty obvious statement, but in practice, it is difficult to fully grasp.

The truth is that He is the great prize!  He is the only outcome that measures success.  The Lord prepares us and equips us to do whatever He has called us to do as we draw closer to Him.  We don’t have to worry about college or careers or the future if He is the focus.   The familiar scripture rings true today as it has at every other time in history—“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  At Goshen, we know that our educational program is just a tool or platform to disciple, engage, and strengthen students in their walk with the Lord.  We have learned that there is no “outcome” that each student must possess other than a strong relationship with their Creator.  When that happens, tuition fees and college admissions are taken care of if a degree is necessary to fulfill His purpose.   Obstacles are removed if we are on the path that glorifies Him.  So whether the future involves college, a trade, family life, or missions, the one truth remains that if He is the center, it will be a life worth living.


Botswana

Earlier this year, I had the awesome opportunity to visit the country of Botswana.  It was a big deal for me because I have spent the last 14 years as a missionary in South Africa, having never traveled to another African country.  To go “up in Africa,” as the South Africans call every other African country, was a journey into the heartland of the continent and a unique contrast to what I had become accustomed.

I visited the large town of Maun, which is called the gateway to the Okavango Delta.  Nestled in the Kalahari Desert, the landscape is flat, sandy, and dry.  Since I arrived at the end of the dry season, we were still awaiting the arrival of the waters that typically flood the delta region.  When I stepped into the airport, I immediately entered the 1940s, something reminiscent of Casablanca or the early Tarzan movies.  It was literally the oldest and smallest airport I had ever seen.   Yet, the true mark of the town of Maun that I will always remember is the uncountable number of donkeys that loiter along the roadsides.

I went as a guest of Love Botswana ministries, which is both a vibrant community church and a community-based organization in Maun.  The church and leaders there have made a strong connection with the local people and  have a huge influence in the community at large. The leaders are from Texas, but Botswana has been their home for over 30 years.

The ministry also oversees a school where I spent most of my time.  The Botswana students were very intriguing.  They welcomed me openly and I was able to observe several classes.  Before I knew it, I was teaching Bible and English classes, as well as leading small groups, which of course felt natural.  I  happily fielded not only questions about America, but also about the Bible and life issues from a Biblical perspective.  Of course, it made me long for the school we want to birth in South Africa, but I made a lot of connections with young people that I will always cherish.

I could go on and on about the many experiences I had from making friends in the deaf community to tasting cuisine from around the continent to ministering at the local prison (oh to hear those prisoners sing again!), but I can’t go any further without talking about Botswana’s wildlife.  In South Africa, I have been on many safaris and have had my fair share of run-ins with animals—including staring down a monkey trying to enter our house.  However, I was not prepared to share a highway with an elephant—correction, several elephants.  I know that you have to be alert as a driver, but I never thought that I would have a road rage challenge with a pair of zebra.  To be in a boat and have an elephant literally emerge from the water a few feet in front of me was a thrill!  However, sitting in an open vehicle with a large, male lion staring me down from five feet away was both a thrill and a horror.  Add to that the opportunity for brief visits to the neighboring countries of Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe culminating with a trip to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls—bucket list checked!—then it would be hard to fathom how incredible of a time I had.

My time in Botswana was remarkable.  It is always a delight to enjoy a different culture and language and people.  Botswana is the northern neighbor of South Africa, and many similarities exist between them.  Yet, the richness of the culture, the allure of the wildlife, and the kindness of several of the people that I met, created a unique and valuable experience for me.  Overall, this was a life event that I will always treasure.


Watching Them Grow

I have worked in Africa for over 15 years.  When I think about what I have accomplished, I feel like I just arrived yesterday.  When I reflect on the lessons that I have learned, it seems as if I have been in Africa for a lifetime. My life is peppered with the struggles, mistakes, and grace that living in a culture different from your own can bring.  However, I am never reminded so much of my age as when I meet with and see my former students.  When I first arrived in South Africa in 2001, I was confident and ready to take over the world!  I figured I could make my impression on South Africa in a few years, then move on to bigger and better adventures.  I did not understand then that South Africa had a lifetime of lessons still to teach me and more gifts to give than I could carry with both hands.  I’m glad that I stayed around to learn those lessons and to receive those gifts.  I doubt that I could have learned them any other way.

What is most surprising is that although time seems to stand still for me personally, I see its passage most in the development of our former students.  I can hardly contain my pride as I watch them become teachers, lawyers, mothers, fathers, pharmacists, carpenters, and the list goes on.  When I come across them around town and they tell me of their own adventures and the ways that they are going to take over the world, I cannot help but bristle with pride.  Pride, not because of any particular mark that I made in their lives, but in knowing that the Lord could bring a rather unremarkable girl to a small village in the middle of nowhere to witness what only He can do in the lives of those who seek Him.

I still stand in awe of Him.  I see the Lord in the faces of these new adults as they talk to me about how differently they are bringing up their own children.  I hear His voice when they speak about how they still love and serve Him.  I’m humbled by His grace when they confess their wrong thoughts and actions as if we are still teacher and student and reference a Bible lesson I once taught them so long ago.  Yet, all in all, I know that they are the ones who are going to change this country.  Perhaps not in the one great revival I had hoped for, but certainly in the incremental changes that comes with being a witness in their own right.  They are defeating the demons of alcoholism, racism, and sexual immorality that plagued their parents.  The battle to create a Kingdom culture in their communities is a difficult one filled with bumps, pitfalls, and pain alongside success and victory, but it is a fight that they are still waging.  I am honored to have served them.  I am privileged to see what they have become.  I am grateful that the Lord allowed me to walk beside them in their journey.  To God be the glory!


South Africa’s Quest for Mediocrity – Part 2

class dismissed

This is part 2 of Listie Anne Kamm’s commentary on education in South Africa.  Listie Anne Kamm is one of our first students in the Kurland Learning Center.  A graduate with honors from Stellenbosh University, she is deeply concerned with the political, education and social future of her country.  Like her fellow South Africans, she prays for a better healthier country for her children to grow up in.

The problem with education in South Africa does not begin in high school.  It begins well before a student enters his high school years.  This problem impacts not only high school students, but primary school students who cannot read, write or add. It then infests first year university students who do not have a clue as to how to write a paper. I will never forget my tenth grade year at Wittedrift High School, which is the best school in my area and happens to be a predominantly white school. I came from a township school, where I was one of the top students in the entire school. My first week at WHS was probably the worst in my entire school career. I went from being the top student at The Crags Primary to one that had to struggle to get and maintain good grades. I had no clue what the word “algebra” meant. I had never heard of a periodic table. I’d never felt dumber in my whole life. I was failed abysmally by my teachers and government. As if that was not enough, the department of education  dumbed the system down even more when the government implemented Outcomes-Based Education (OBE).  In my opinion, OBE is just a dumbed-down egalitarian scheme that stifles individual potential for excellence and achievement by holding the entire class to the level of learning attainable by every child. This sytem of education discourages competition and according to the Phyllis Schlafly report, fast learners are not allowed to progress, but are given busy work called “horizontal enrichment”or told to do “peer tutoring” to help the slower kids , who are recycled through the material until the pre-determined behaviour is exhibited. Basically, a student’s current performance is compared to their own prior performance rather than their performance relative to their peers. So, in a nutshell, it is impossible for a student to fail.

Matriculants today who don’t even achieve 50% in the Senior Certificate (matric) results are being told that they can proceed, and not only that, but that they are entitled to a higher education. What message are we sending our youth? That black and Coloured students are somehow less capable and therefore need these pathetic results to access higher education?

Who is responsible for this culture of mediocrity that we are steadily moving towards? We need to ask ourselves what role we are playing as broader society in ensuring that our education improves. As a society we need to model the behaviours that we want from our learners. That means we need to be models of excellence. We need to inspire our young people. We need to demystify qualitative disciplines such that they raise their aspirations. There are too many kids these days that when you ask them what they want to become, they say dancers, singers, rappers, etc. What happened to aspiring to become doctors, teachers, journalists, presidents? I know too many kids who go to school with no concept of what they can get out of it. These kids go to school because they have to. They go there because there they derive some meaning, whatever it may be, for their otherwise uninspired lives. Thus, we must take on the challenge of being role models. They may not be our kid, but they will become our nemesis should their options remain limited. Our leaders will continue failing dismally at it. Steadily, but surely we march towards mediocrity. We have a choice to make, to be mediocre or extraordinary. What we do with our young people will determine the course we take. We need to teach our youth that they need to try to achieve more than what is expected of them and that good enough is not good enough anymore. Just “okay” is not okay anymore.


Setting A Standard

klc kids workingA few weeks ago an article came out on the front page of the monthly newspaper.  Much to our surprise the kid featured on the front was one of the students we know at the high school.  Wow!  Michael grabbed the paper and started reading the article; then, he threw the paper down in disgust.  The article was about another organization that had a math contest to see who could do the most multiplication tables in a minute.  This 14-year old, 8th grade Coloured boy won because he could do 34.  It made the front page of the local paper.  A local Coloured boy could do 34 single-digit multiplication problems in a minute.

Michael was indignant for quite a while.  He began ranting about how our 5th graders are required to do at least 40 problems in a minute; how we were the first group in the area to even do math minutes; and how we should be getting more publicity for the work we do.  It was quite a rant!  I was upset also, but for a vastly different reason.  First, why would something like this make it into the local paper?  It was embarrassing.  With drugs ravaging our townships, I understood the desire to want to promote something positive, but this was quite a stretch.  Second, how could anyone think that this was front page material?  Then, it dawned on me.  It is not amazing that a kid can do single-digit multiplication.  It is amazing that a kid whose skin color is not white can do single-digit multiplication.  It is so amazing in this town that it is worthy of the front page of the paper.  No white kids were a part of the contest because it would have been unfair.  White kids can obviously outdo a child of color in a test of intellect.

To me this article and its pretend accolades further expose the racism that is still prevalent in South African culture today.  My students and other children of color do not typically have the academic background of their white counterparts mostly because they don’t have their wealth.  Their parents cannot afford for their children to go to school with current books, highly-skilled teachers, and adequate supplies.  Our students are not exposed to anything that could be considered academically rigorous until they pass through our Learning Center doors.  In their regular classes, they are taught to write neatly, but rarely do they have to use their minds to process information and come up with their own conclusions.  Even after 15 years, we are still fighting with teachers about the proper way to divide so that the students consistently get the right answer!

All of this is true, but it is due to a lack of exposure not a lack of ability.  Some white South Africans still think that children with darker skin do not have the intellect to process information, and that is why they do so poorly in white schools when given the opportunity to go there.  I am here to testify that this is not the case.  Students given the opportunity to go to a school of higher learning with greater standards cannot compete without the proper academic foundation.  First, a child’s foundation has to be right, then it can be built upon.  But, to praise a child in the 8th grade for doing 3rd grade work is not the right kind of encouragement; it is demeaning at best.  Someone has to give children of color tasks that are difficult, expect them to do it correctly, then praise good work and critique the bad.  This is the basic formula for any learning.  However, lowering the standard and claiming that easy work is difficult is insulting.

We are here to raise the standard.  One reason we want to start our own school is because we believe in these students.  They are children like the rest.  They have strong qualities and weak ones and need the thoughtful direction of the adults around them to grow in their strengths and build from their weaknesses.  We don’t believe in fair being equal; however, we do believe in giving children the opportunity to try.  Please pray with us that we will be able to build a school that will set the standard and serve as a model for what can be done in education in South Africa.


South Africa’s Quest for Mediocrity-Part 1

boys behind fence

Listie-Anne Kamm was one of the first students in the Kurland Learning Center.  A graduate with honors from Stellenbosh University, she is deeply concerned with the political, educational and social future of her country.  Like her fellow South Africans, she prays for a better, healthier country in which her children can grow up.

A few weeks ago, while visiting some family in Kurland, I asked my 16 year old cousin if she passed her June exams. She smiled and said, “Yes, of course.” I told her to bring me her report card so that I could see her grades. Without hesitation, she went into the room to retrieve it. As I opened it, she knelt down beside me looking on as I scanned the paper in my hand. What struck me the most was not her poor grades signified by a 40% average, but the look of pride on her face as if she had earned an A+. I asked if she thought her grades were good, which she obviously did by the look on her face. To make matters worse, at the bottom of the report card where the principal is supposed to write his remarks regarding her high school progress, I read: “Well done. Keep up the good work!”

That is the standard that South Africa is setting for its children today. Our society, schools and universities have adjusted expectations downwards, especially in relation to black and Coloured students, which is dangerous in a country with so much promise for excellence. My cousin has been taught that learning less than 50% of her work is acceptable. The message being conveyed to young people is that it is fine to be an underachiever, and that we will applaud them for doing less than is required. Will my cousin strive to do better than 40%? I don’t think so. Indeed, she is being handicapped by the very system that is meant to equip her, as well as tens of thousands of other learners.

Slowly we are digging our collective graves as we fall into a sinkhole of mediocrity from which we are unlikely to emerge. We make excellence sound like a ‘white thing’. Behind a massive wave of populism and in the misguided name of “regstelling” (setting it right), we give young people new levels of access to resources and universities without exhibiting the hard work necessary to achieve these privileges and to succeed once there. Of course, you are labelled a racist if you question this kind of mindlessness. How else can a politician defend himself against the critics of mediocrity in an election year?

 


War of the Worldviews

township laundryOne of our former Learning Center students recently told me that he is applying to the Royal Marines in Great Britain. As one of our favorite personalities from past classes, it was reassuring to hear that he wanted to dedicate at least this portion of his life to defending democracy and justice. Regardless of whether or not he’ll be accepted as a part of England’s naval forces, his choice prompted a conversation concerning the desire to travel so far to serve as a soldier. The conclusion was simple: South Africa does not have any real enemies. He would probably never have to fight in a war here.

As I pondered this probability, I thought about how false the statement actually was. South Africa is in a war and has a very real need for soldiers in this hour. Although there are no guns pointing at South Africa, its people still live in fear. Crime statistics in certain cities in the country make Chicago, one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., seem safe. Although the economy fares better than many other African nations, one in four South Africans live on a dollar a day. Education is also a major issue. Last year it was reported that only half of the students that started school 12 years ago actually made it to graduation, and only a percentage of that number passed the national exam in order to graduate. Further, recent assessments have found that a majority of the students in the country cannot read or count. There are certainly many more issues that South Africans have to deal with on a daily basis, and there are no real solutions in sight.

The war that South Africans are fighting has to do with, in my opinion, the roots of the problems outlined above. They include corruption and ignorance. National leaders steal money and look out for themselves while having no clue as to how to address the ills of the nation. Businesses pay extraordinary taxes which limit the number of jobs they can create. Some individuals feel that their poverty permits them to rob and kill as the police force looks the other way; others sit idle, unskilled, uneducated, and unprepared to take control of their lives.

South Africa is locked in a war within itself. If corruption and ignorance are the main enemies, they can only be defeated by truth and knowledge. Hearts must change. Souls must be converted. The will of the nation must shift from demanding entitlements to working to build a nation that cares for itself. Corrupt leaders must be replaced with noble men and women who will stand on principle with courage. Students must be given access to quality education so that they can possess the promises of tomorrow. The very way that people think has to be altered. Worldviews must change. This is the goal of Goshen International. This is what we are doing…one child at a time.


Roxzane’s Story

RoxzaneThis year, we have asked out students to write their stories.  We are going to periodically post them for you to hear from them in their own voice. They want to be heard!  For some, we have changed their names to offer them some degree of anonymity.  Thus, we have noted these stories with an asterisk (*).   For others, they do not mind you knowing who they are and the struggles they have endured in becoming who God has ordained them to be.  You will hear from students in various phases of our program.   The grade levels are evident in their writing, but we did not want to take away from the authenticity of  them explaining themselves in their own words.  This is Roxzane’s story.

When I was in grade 1, I was very lazy, I did not want to do my work.  I thought that school was for playing and meeting friends; so, I let other kids do my work for me. When I was in grade 3, I decided to be better than the other children. I knew that I could do my own work and I really wanted to try.  I studied harder and to my surprise, I became better and better. I was so happy!  My mom and dad were also happy with my improvement and they were so proud of me.

When I was in grade 1 I felt like I didn’t want to go to school. I was at home a lot of times, but when I was in grade 2, my mind became bigger and better.  I was still wasn’t in school very much, but I did learned and listen even if I wasn’t in school.  I didn’t want to go to school, but I still wanted to learn.

If I wasn’t in school I would ask someone who was in school what they did. Then, I would do it too. When I showed up for school the next day, the teacher would ask me where I got the work. I would tell her I got it from my friend and she would ask me if I copied and I would say no. Then I would say she just told me what work to do. Then the teacher was very happy with me, and she gave me a gold star.  I loved getting gold stars! Then, the other children would be mad because they did not get a gold star and I would put the gold star at the front of my head. I would walk around the school and the children would ask where I got the gold star, and I would tell them about my work that I did in class. Then at the end of the school year, I will pass and go to the next grade and I would also do well and it was like that every day and year. I passed every grade.

Then, an amazing thing happened!  My teachers told me that I should try to be in the Learning Center.  The Learning Center is only for the kids who are the most clever.  I never thought that I could do it!  I took the test.  I was surprised when I passed.  Then, I was nervous.  I had to interview to get in.  I never did an interview before.  So, I went to talk to Michael and Ms. Terblanche.  It wasn’t so scary.  They asked me questions about myself and my work.  Then, I waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, Michael called me from my class and I was in!  It felt good like wearing 100 gold stars on my forehead!

Now that I am in, the work is hard, but it is making me smarter.  One day, I will make my teachers, my parents, and everyone proud of me because I will reach my goals if I keep working hard.


Changes

kids in town 2

I have always been a justice crusader.  If there was a fight for doing what was right, I was first in line.  I guess that is what made it easier for me to come to South Africa than it would be for most.  Now that I have been here for over fourteen years, I realize that what I thought would take me a year to accomplish has taken much, much longer. And now, the rules of engagement have changed.  Somehow, I feel that I am living in Animal Farm, and I don’t like it. Here’s what I mean:

  1. When I first arrived in South Africa, Kurland Village was a forgotten township on top of a mountain far from the closest town and any aid societies reach. As far as I knew there was the school, one Belgian girl and us.  Now, this township is teeming with aid.  Aid workers are everywhere – at the school, in the community and on the streets.  There are Americans, Germans, Belgians, and South Africans all ready to lend an opinion and a helping hand to those in need.  Some people might think that this is a great development.  I don’t.  Unfortunately, while the help is great, it is not the kind that actually helps.  Instead, it has fostered an entitlement mentality in parents who used to be grateful, and other options for kids who don’t really want to work that hard.  I mean why do we have to work when all of these aid workers will come fix my government-sponsored house, educate my lazy children, and feed my family after I have spent all my money on liquor?  So, although more options for aid are available to the people who live in the village, rarely is the decay of alcoholism, fatherlessness, sexual promiscuity, and violence corrected.  In fact, the progress we made against these foes in our early years seems to be in decline in the midst of all this new assistance.

 

  1. We used to be able to point to the white boarding school in town as a beacon of educational hope and academic rigor. We drove our students by teaching them on Saturdays, taking away vacation days, and challenging them to learn two years’ worth of lessons in one.  It might sound cruel to your average American, but our students were grateful because when they finally made it to boarding school they were more than prepared.  Yes, they still had to work hard, but they had the foundation that they needed to succeed.  Now, our students go to boarding school after spending several arduous years with us learning Math, Science, English, History and the Bible, and are bored.  They no longer feel challenged.  Instead of them rejoicing for the break, they become depressed.  Children who are brilliant and score well on all testing inside and out of our program have a hard time managing the lack of challenge at the best boarding school in our area.  For the first time ever, we had a student not pass their matriculation exam.  It’s terrible that any of our students would not pass, but for her, it was tragic. This student, who scored the highest score of any student on our entrance exam while still in the fourth grade, could not manage to pass her matriculation test and had her teachers convinced that she was mentally challenged.

 

  1. The school where our program is housed decided to free itself of its eighth and ninth graders. I was told that they were a behavior problem.  So, now, instead of the average child in our community dropping out of school after the ninth grade, they drop out after seventh.  Thus, instead of being told to settle down in class, they are roaming the streets of the town with nothing to occupy their time, brains and life.  At the same time, the boarding school in our town, which has increasing numbers of black and colored students, decided to comply with the South African government and LOWER their standards.  If you don’t have to teach the majority of students math, why do it?  Instead, they send children to consumer studies which I call lessons in becoming a housekeeper.  No one has to go to school to learn that; my students can learn “Intro to Housekeeping” hanging out in the township. Sadly, even with these lower standards, the average child in the township cannot pass their matriculation exams which means that they cannot go to college.  So, they are stuck right back in the township where they came from.  The cycle is successfully unbroken and no progress is made!

 

  1. Somewhere along the line, my students discovered television. With it, they discovered covetousness, jealousy, false ideals of beauty, and social mores that work against community and family.  With it, they lost the desire to learn just for the sake of learning, the ability to read, concentration and focus, creativity and the ability to dream of an attainable future.  When I first came to South Africa, boys wanted to be soccer stars and some girls wanted to be singers, but most of the children wanted to be things that would help their community like teacher, builder, doctor, lawyer, police officer.  Now, more than ever, they all have one goal: to be famous.  They want to be famous more than they want to be useful to their greater communities.  I know that there is a wave of people who think that giving every child in a developing nation an iPad and allowing them to watch “educational programming” would solve all academic issues.  Well, I am here to declare that too much media clearly muddles the mind.

 

I know that all is not lost.  My students still have the flashes of brilliance that I long to see.  Their attitudes, although in need of the occasional fine tuning, are still open and loving.  We are constantly blessed by the fact that they still fight to get into our programs and are willing to embrace the difficult tasks we place before them.  However, more than all of that, they show an increasing love for Jesus and willingness to do things His way that warms me.  So, in the midst of all of this challenge, our desire to inoculate them against this so called progress seems to be working, a bit too slowly for my taste, but working nevertheless.  We do know that the answer lies in getting them out of their current environment, and we are working on that.  However, in the meantime, we are still justice fighters and we will not stop until the battle is won.


New Year, Continuing Vision

Children Fun

The new year typically brings a feeling of anticipation and renewal to the hearts and minds of most people. The team at Goshen International is no different. 2015 marks the beginning of the 15th year of our service in and love for South Africa. In that time, we have watched the Lord move in the lives of many people and establish us as a place of refuge for those we reach.

15 years ago, I was sitting in a church conference when my dad stopped in the middle of his message to say these words: “I’m sending my daughter to South Africa.” Those who know me well know that those words did not settle easily on my heart. However, after yielding to the voice of the Lord speaking through him, I planned my trip and charted my course, and a few months later I landed in Cape Town, South Africa. After some awesome moments in ministry while traveling with Sigi and David Oblander, my heart settled in a little village near Plettenberg Bay.

I was invited by a local woman to come help her for a year to feed and minister to abandoned children in Kurland Village. While doing that, I did what I always do—I looked for needs to be filled. After my now infamous conversation with the youth who were insecure about their futures, I decided to start the Kurland Learning Center. That decision not only altered the course of my life, but also the lives of the many children we have reached through the years.

From that faithful step so many years ago, we have taught and mentored a number of students through the Learning Center. In that time, more than 400 students have been a part of the academic program. More than half of those qualified to attend the college preparatory high school where we send students to build a foundation for university. Essentially all of the students successfully graduated from high school, and about 30% of those have gone on to a university, college, or skill school. The remainder went straight into the work force. We have worked with each student from the time they started with us in elementary school throughout their educational career, whether that ended at the secondary or tertiary level.

We have also been blessed to reach hundreds of other children through teen churches and home cells, after-school programs, and other community enrichment activities. We have built, supported, and influenced people while training community members, teaching abstinence and Christ-like character, and affecting the overall quality of education in the area.

We are humbled by the success we have seen, and as we start the new year we look to the Lord for new ways to provide more and better opportunities for these children. We are hoping to remodel the Learning Center as many things have become worn or dated after 15 years. We want to recruit new staff members and volunteers to further the mission. We are increasing our efforts to raise awareness and funding for our own permanent school, Goshen Preparatory Academy, to greater serve the students of South Africa. In all of these endeavors, we need the prayers and support of our partners.

As always, we thank you for walking with us and supporting us through this journey.  We love you and hope that we can walk together for yet another 15 years.