Today I has such a privilege. I got to take 13 of our children who placed in the top 10 students of their grade levels last term out for an all out party of soda and cake! And if you know me- you know I LOVE a good party! Here are our top students (save one who escaped the camera) from last term. I am SO proud of these guys. They have worked really hard to say the least.
Part of being mama to a multitude is ALOT of meetings, especially at report card time. We like to do one on one meetings with all the children to encourage them how important learning is and how gifted they are. And in many cases where we would like to see them to try harder. We think they are positively brilliant and we want them to know it! One of our girls in the photo above failed second term and after a simple meeting to say hey we believe in you- you can do better than this- pulled her scores up to 6th place in her entire grade level the very next term! You GO girl!
But report cards and meeting time rolled around again this week with some disturbing finds. Some of our girls who are too advanced in grade level for our Iris school go to a local school in town. When we discussed one of our girl’s failing marks with her, we found out she was accompanied by ALL but one or two girls in the entire class who failed. The teacher seemingly arbitrarily decided since so many girls were “pregnant” none of them should be passed… and in an elementary level grade at that! All of the girls in this particular school were subjected to systematic pregnancy testing (ie their abdomens and chests were felt and prodded which of course is a very accurate way to test for this condition) and those deemed pregnant were not allowed to continue in their exams. Unreal!
I was livid. You don’t mess with my children. We will be meeting with the county education office Monday and asking a full investigation be launched. The incident was alarming enough but even more disturbing were the potential underlying sentiments it reveals that are still in many people’s hearts here concerning women.
Please be praying we get to the bottom of this and it is dealt with in an equitable way that truly brings freedom and transformation for all involved. Our girls will be going to a different school next year and we will be on the look out for gender discrimination from the outset.
On happier note, I found out that several of our kids flunked out purely from boredom. So we have a double dare going on- if you get 90% or above in all your subjects first term (unheard of here- passing is 50% and at 60% you are getting kudos) we will test you and see if we can bump you up a grade level. The self esteem and honor at a worthy challenge lit up more than one face this week.
One of my great joys here is to see our children excel. Not for the sake of a grade or an award, but for the sake of stepping into every gift and ability God has put in them. For those whose gifts are less academic in nature (but equally magnificent and worthy of celebration!) we will be discovering what they are and begin to cultivate them. We tell our children all the time- YOU have so many gifts Jesus has given you to change the world around you with. And YOU are a gift of His love in our lives and to your nation.
Mindsets will not be changed in a day or even a year. But one interaction at a time, one term at a time, one choice at a time change will come.
When we went around the crowd of our children who were in the top 10 list and asked them their dreams they responded: pastor, mother, doctor (we have several of these), teacher and politician (like Malik above who is enjoying his Sprite and cake). I looked at them and I knew I was looking in the face of the future of this nation, a Sudan who knows how to spread her wings again, catch the wind of God’s greatest dreams and fly.