How Far Can You Reach to Make a Difference?
What one local school is doing to make a splash in the pond of poverty abroad.
Is it possible today for students in an Atlanta suburb to really have a chance to personally address poverty in Africa? Will they even care? Is it all just viewed on screens? Can anyone imagine that something can be done?
Imagine there is a K-8 school of over five hundred students who hear about a need for houses for widows in a small African village and along with their parents raise over $25K to meet that need! Imagine that they support and send their teachers to the same village’s school to train African teachers, who, sadly, get very little training! And even some of these students have been privileged to go with their families to that village to minister to those very children.
Imagine that! And then realize that school is Perimeter School in Johns Creek, GA. We know that there are hundreds and hundreds of groups around the country that may be doing this same type of work. We are thrilled to be a small part of this large body of servants, many of whom are motivated by the love of Jesus, hoping our experiences will spark a movement to look beyond where you live, work, or play.
Every year our 6th grade students read the classic book, Where the Red Fern Grows. After immersing themselves in the life of Billy and his coon hounds, the students and their teachers re-create “Grandpa’s General Store” from the book. They spend hours making crafts to sell, buying candy, making costumes, and gathering props…all to transform an area of the school into this General Store for a day. Staying true to the book, all items are no more than $0.25. All the other students in the school come to the store to purchase bracelets, candy, handmade ornaments, candy, handmade bookmarks, and did I mention, candy? All the proceeds go to our Missions Fund, which is used primarily for school supplies for the African school. This year the students raised over $700.00!!!
As a teacher at Perimeter School I have been blessed to travel four times to our partner school in Karansi, Tanzania. When Perimeter first began their partnership with Karansi, the village was rife with crime and prostitution, few children attended school, and hopelessness permeated the people’s hearts. Over a decade later, crime is virtually non-existent, the school in the village ranks at the top in the country, and people have hope.
Sometimes families from Perimeter will choose to go to Tanzania and minister through medical clinics, visiting and encouraging widows by bringing gifts, planting trees, etc. An added bonus is that many of them will get to travel to meet the child whom they sponsor through our Project Child organization, an opportunity to financially support a child for food and schooling. What a joy that is!!
This is just a very small taste of what God is doing through Perimeter School in Karansi, Tanzania! Lots of hugs, grateful hearts, developing classrooms, cared for widows……..and big smiles.
On more than one occasion the traveling teams have been told that just coming all the way from America gives them hope – even if we did nothing else while there. They just need to know that we remember them and that someone, somewhere cares for them. And after all, isn’t that what all of us desire?
Author: Leslie Sams teaches 7th grade Life Science at Perimeter School. In addition to visiting Tanzania with PCS, she has spent a total of 4 months (over two trips) living in the bush of Zaire (DRC), showing the Jesus Film. She loves to talk to others about Africa and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to check out how you can sponsor a child at http://www.projectchildtz.com/