The Village Education Project (VEP) that was begun in the C.A.R. by the Lutheran Church in 2000 has witnessed great success in the past five years! Despite the difficult situation in the C.A.R., the schools have remained open and enrollment is soaring. Without schools established by the church, these children would have almost no way of attending school.
In the 2004-2005 school year there were 15 schools operating and 27 teachers. There were 1673 total students! In one school alone there were 337 first-year students. Each year a new grade is added in each school, so this year the oldest students started fifth grade. The schools will only go up to grade six. Five new schools were slated to open fall 2005. As of 2008, a totlal of 20 schools have been established so far.
In 2010, two of the schools received high awards for student achievement of which they are very proud.
Student fees are $3 for the entire year. Some assistance is available through the church. The children come from a wide variety of faiths, not only Lutheran, but also Catholic, Baptist, Brethren and Islam.
The VEP trains its own teachers. The candidates, usually high school graduates, go through an initial three-month training course, and then go back for additional training three times a year and two weeks every summer. The teachers receive about $30 per month and are provided room and board by the parents. In the past, the teachers have always been men. This year the first woman applied.
The goal of the VEP is to assist communities in creating and sustaining elementary schools by encouraging active parent involvement. The goal is for the community to eventually support the school on its own. However, currently ELCA partners still contribute 95% of the funds and the parents contribute 5%.
The students have to take a final exam each year in order to continue to the next grade; and in 2004, there was an 81% pass rate.
Besides opening new schools, the VEP plans to construct permanent concrete structures in place of the thatched roof shelters where the schools currently hold classes. The thatched roofs leak and ruin blackboards and materials. They hope to build the first five structures during the ’05-’06 school year.
The amount needed for the Village Education Project is $40,000. Donations should be sent to the Synod Office (1703 32nd Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103) and clearly be marked "C.A.R. Village Education Project."
Several people from our synod have visited the C.A.R. and several missionary families are now living in the Fargo area. They are willing to come and speak to your congregation to share first-hand experiences of life in the C.A.R.. To schedule a speaker, please contact the synod office (701-232-3381).
The synod resource center also has videos and other information about the C.A.R., which are available free of charge.
Download the C.A.R. Village Education, Girl's High School and Church Roof Project Fact Sheets (download .pdf file) to share with your congregation.
EaND Synod Office
1201 13th Ave N
Fargo, ND 58102
Toll Free: 877-895-4598
Mon-Thurs: 8 am - 5 pm
Fridays: 8 am - 3 pm