Dear Members of the Elma Family,
I have often reported on the progress of the physical development of the Elma Centre. Today I would like to give you a little information about our schooling program because we try to equip our youth to be able to function as good Kenyan citizens living independently of the Elma Centre and be able to contribute to the Nation of their birth.
During their childhood years we try to give them a good education and teach them the Biblical bases for approaching life. We want to raise them up to love our Lord Jesus, be aware of Bible stories and truths and to have a good grasp of the knowledge that they should obtain in the first eight years of their education. To aid in this we have decided to adopt the Accelerated Christian Education, ACE, method of schooling for the early primary students. We may extend this program to include both primary and High School depending on how it works out for children. At the present we are in the process of setting up this program so that in January, which is the beginning of the school year here, we can start it. We are now teaching our pre-school at the Elma Centre. This program will not incur a huge expense for the children will be living at and will be taught at the Elma Centre.
At the present time we have nineteen high school students attending boarding schools. There is no government high school or private high school in our area, which would allow for day students. The cost of transport and boarding school fees makes our high school budget very high.
Having a high school education does not equip the youth for a job or with the ability to make a living on their own. We find we must send our youth for training in a polytechnic or to a college before they could make it in the job market. Again this means sending those who can benefit away to some government polytechnic or a college. These students live in hostels close to the schools they need to attend. We now have eight students in college or polytechnic. These few students count for nearly a half of the education budget.
Those who finish the polytechnic or college need to find a job. This is not easy in this country. Francis had good marks and had applied for a job in a number of places. He was able to find employment, but was not able to maintain that employment on two occasions. He is now attending special training for a third company. Please be in prayer that this time he will be able make the grade and remain with the company as an employee. We have two others, Jackson and Delvis who are finishing up with computer training so they too can be employed. They have finished their college work, but needed to be skilled in computer use before any company will give them a chance. Please be in prayer for them.
The other factor that complicates the support of our young people is the law in Kenya that does not allow a children’s centre to maintain youth and children in the same compound. When a child reaches eighteen he must leave the compound where those under eighteen are kept. We have only one compound at this point. Therefore all of our youth, those over eighteen must reside with their guardians during the time they are not in school. This is not altogether a bad thing. It helps to establish a family or an adult that they know as an interested party. It is expected that after their schooling the youth could live with the guardian until they do find a job. Youth like Francis do not have a guardian that is able to provide a place for them. Therefore he has had to find a way to work and look after his own needs. That has been very difficult for him, which is why we are asking that you pray with us that this new job opportunity will work out for him.
It is our policy to help all the children finish high school. We decide on an individual bases who we can help with higher education. If we do sponsor one of them to go on with their education they must maintain a Christian life style and they must put forth the effort to obtain good grades. There are a few who decide they want to be on their own and drop from our care at the end of high school or at the age of eighteen. But, most are very thankful for the “family” support and do their very best to become educated, Christian, adults.
Our educational expenses came to over $33,000.00 for the past twelve months. That seems like a lot of money to us. But when you realize that we have been sending nineteen youth to boarding in High School, and eight to college or technical school and have been aiding others while they seek employment it does not seem so extreme. If we did not have such a program and just turned our youth out at the age of eighteen there would be nearly 100% failure rate. They have no families to go to and no way to find jobs. The only future for such youth is the street and the crime that awaits them. We do not feel that is a choice we want to take after spending up to twelve years caring for them. Please continue to pray for us and support our efforts to raise up children in the way they should go.
The Lord has blessed us at this end with good staff, and a good relationship with the different government agencies we deal with. We are very thankful to Him for a good board and a godly manager, Joseph Kamuren, for the Elma Centre. Our social worker, Dinah Kamuren (no relationship with Joseph), is doing very well and has a fine Christian character. Our staff is working together and is loved by the children. Delvis, who was a former child of the Elma Centre, served as the boy’s dorm parent until he finished his college training to become a social worker. He is now doing a computer course in Nakuru and is seeking full time employment. Pray with us as we seek a mature Christian lady who has raised children to come as a boy’s dorm parent. We do have three small boys and a good number of young boys who need a loving mother to care for them. Pray for our pre-school teacher, who is now doubling up as dorm parent and teacher.
On behalf of the Board, Staff, and children, Helen and I wish to express our appreciation and thanks for all that you do for the Elma Centre. Roy.