By Paul Sullivan
A Cam Newton jersey, weekend at a beach condo, and Nativity sets made in Africa are some of the items that will be auctioned on May 4 at a fundraiser for a children’s school in Kenya.
The dinner and auction will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Frazer Church.
About $40,000 was raised at a similar gathering in 2018, said Charlotte Robertson, president of Mescal’s Children’s Center of Hope (MCCH), Inc., which runs the school in Luanda, Kenya. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at https://help-build-hope-frazer-memorial-united-methodist-church.pushpayevents.com/booking/attendees/new.
The east Montgomery congregation has been involved with efforts to help children in the Kenyan community for six years.
Construction on a Christian school for children in kindergarten to first grade will be completed in the fall before a planned January opening, Robertson said.
“The first floor (phase 1) of our school is under construction and scheduled to be complete in October,” she said. “The Kenyan school year begins in January, so we are planning to open then with pre-K, K, grades 1 and 2, each classroom having 25 students.”
She added that community leaders Frazer works with said a school should be a priority in the church’s work to help youth.
“Our leadership team there in Kenya has told us that the greatest way to make a long-range, positive impact on the very poor community there would be to provide a strong academic Christian primary school for them,” Robertson said. “The public-school system there requires children to attend school 10 to 12 hours per day. There are 60 to 80 students per classroom, often with Muslim teachers and only academics are pushed with no regard for individual talents and students who do excel academically. Critical thinking skills are not taught in the public system, which will be a strong component of our school.”
Robertson said Ruth Owuor, founder and director of Mescal’s Children’s Center of Hope, was a member of Frazer while she lived in America. She was the sole supporter of an orphanage for several years before returning to Kenya in 2012. Her support for the ministry led to Frazer’s involvement in the community.
A similar event to Frazer’s 2018 dinner was held in Clay County. The benefit generated about $40,000 for the school. The money joined donations already raised the previous year to fund phase 1 of the project, Robertson said.
She said completion of the first floor and operating costs for one year were about $180,000.
About 200 people attended Frazer’s 2018 dinner. A timetable on phase 2 of the school initiative has not been finalized, but Robertson said about $85,000 is required. The need in the community, and Kenya, is infinite, she said.
“Our school will teach a Christian worldview, including Bible classes for all students and weekly convocations. Only Christian teachers will be employed,” she said.
The first floor of the school includes four classrooms, a library, and administrative offices. It measures about 8,000 square feet.
Phase 2 will include a second floor, with the same amount of square footage, and seven classrooms for grades 3 to 8.
Local Christian teachers will be employed and hopefully some Americans will come to teach, Robertson said.
She said children already involved with Mescal, poor children from the community, and small number of paying students will be attending classes. “We already have a waiting list of 50 because of the reputation of our leadership team there, who are well-respected educators and members of the community,” she said.
Several groups from Frazer have visited the ministry in Kenya, and Robertson said she is looking forward to her eighth trip there in June.
“While Frazer is a strong supporter of MCCH, we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and have support from other churches and individuals as well,” Robertson said. “MCCH incorporated in 2012, when we served 30 children and had four staff overseeing the orphanage. Today, we serve approximately 260 children and adults, both in the residential orphanage and in community programs. We are most excited that the school will allow us to reach many more with the hope of an excellent education and the gospel of Jesus Christ.”