“I can’t see you tomorrow, Mary, I have to baptise 60 new Christians under a tree.”
That’s the response that the EdAid board member, Mary Rowan, received on one of her visits to the many international projects being funded by the New Zealand-based charity. She tells us that the people being supported by the Educational Aid for International Development Charitable Trust, or EdAid for short, are hungry for education and hungry for Jesus. The person responsible for the 60 new baptisms then went on to confirm 40 people the very next day. Two of the newly confirmed had lost their mother just days before, but were so eager to pursue their Lord and Saviour that nothing could stop them from being confirmed.
“There are all sorts of instances [among the schools that we build] that tell you that they are living their faith. They grab hold, and never let go,” says Mary.
This, from a charity whose origins are in our own diocese. When Bishop Tom visited the Diocese of Kagera in Tanzania and received a request for help to build a school, he put out the call for donations – and Mchungaji Mwema (Good Shepherd) Secondary School (MMSS) was built as a result. Last year, the school opened two new boarding houses so that students didn’t have to walk the 5km each way to go to school each day, and now the school is seeking NZ$100,000 of donations to build a school hall, which has been ordered by government as a requirement for the school remaining open.
EdAid has now expanded, and is eyeing the future with a sense of excitement. But to move forward with momentum, Mary tells us, the charity is seeking a fresh injection of “new blood.” The board is full of experienced members who have been with the charity for a long time, but as they look forward, they know that they will need more Christian people with a heart for overseas mission and education to step forward.
There is so much underway, says Mary. EdAid has become a place to go in order to raise funds to build schools in countries where there is a distinct lack of educational facilities. EdAid is currently involved with projects in Mombasa, Kenya; rural Pakistan; Tanzania; and a new international Christian school in New Delhi, India which will train up students and send them out to low decile schools to help make education even more widely available.
There is so much need for EdAid’s work. When Mary first visited Tanzania, 70 percent of the population were under 30 years old. “They need education!” she exclaims. The work in Kagera, mentioned above, is just some of the projects that EdAid has been sought out to provide assistance for. “Essentially, we’re always after more donations. There will always be more needs that we can help supply, and they’ll always think of us,” Mary says.
Photo: Courtesy EdAid / Construction begins on the dining room and school hall at MMSS, Kagera, Tanzania.
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