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The challenges of going to school

With the ongoing restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are dealing with how best to handle the education of the children in our family – whether to let them attend school despite the risks of contracting the virus, or keep them at home with the challenges of online schooling. It has led to nationwide debates and a great deal of frustration and concern.

But recently I came across a very moving and even heart-breaking documentary about what children in many parts of the world have to face as they make their way to school every day – and it certainly helps us put things in perspective and count our blessings!

I heartily recommend watching the free YouTube documentary series “The Most Dangerous Ways to School” – via this link. The first episode of Season 1 shows some of the dangers that face children walking to school in Kenya. Other episodes show what other children all around the world have to face just to get a very basic, minimal education – and it all brought tears to my eyes!

For those of us who follow and support the amazing children’s ministry of Michael Mwanikha and his family in Kenya, this first episode is particularly enlightening. On my visit with Mike in 2006, I visited a number of schools with him, and can immediately confirm that the schools depicted in the documentary are identical to what I saw. Rural schools in Kenya (as in many parts of the world) can only provide the bare minimum of an education – a blackboard, cramped desks and virtually no textbooks! The children must learn by repetition, with few illustrations and far less fun! The film shows the extremely difficult journey many of the children have just to get to school, and yet all the children are happy and eager for the opportunity to learn!

I pray for these children now, that God will protect them and help them attain the goals that they so innocently dream of. And I pray for our own nation that despite the problems, we will all remember how precious education is, and that our children will begin to appreciate it more and more and so be able to overcome the comparatively minor problems facing us at present.

Shirley sharing at a rural school in Benin
Shirley sharing in a rural school in Benin 2008
Shirley sharing with schoolchildren in Kenya
Shirley sharing with schoolchildren in Kenya 2006

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