Many people take education for granted. I know I did. I thought it was just something that I HAD to do. This isn’t so in the Marshall Islands. Education is a privilege; not one that every child gets to experience.
I found this out as we got to know the neighborhood kids on Ebeye (pronounced EE-by). Ebeye is the most populous island of the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. There are approximately 15,000 people living on this island that share 80 acres of land.
60% of that 15,000 are under the age of 18. Out of that population, there are over 2,000 school-aged kids that don’t go to school and who aren’t getting an education.
When we moved into the house we are living in on Ebeye, there was this boy name Jikko. He would come around to say ‘Yokwe’ (hello) and see what we were up to. His contagious smile made us want to get to know him better. We invited him to our ESL (English as a Second Language) class where we were teaching kids who weren’t attending school, how to speak, read and write English.
He wasn’t attending school at all, explaining that his parents couldn’t afford private school and that the public elementary school was full. This really tugged on my heart because he was good at writing his name and had mastered some of the more simple tasks that we were teaching in our class. I asked him if he would like to go to school and he said, “Yes, I want to go to school and become smarter”.
We prayed, wanting God to show us how to help kids here that are struggling financially, to get an education. We were lead to seek help from our friends living on the neighboring island of Kwajalein, which is a military base. The congregation of Island Memorial Chapel had started a program where they sponsored kids education on Ebeye.
We were more than happy to assist them in the day to day details as they provided people who wanted to give to the kids. This made for a great partnership and is still going strong today; sponsoring over $23,000 in educational scholarships. This program has allowed Jikko to go to school for the first time in over 3 years.
Education is such an important part of a child’s life. At Changing Focus Ministries, we believe that all children have a right to an education, no matter what their financial deficiency may be. We are doing whatever we can to get the children of Ebeye into schools and to get an education.
We can only do this with the help of those who support us and the ones who partner with us. We continually see God’s blessing poured down on his children. It’s something we love being a part of.
Changing Focus Ministries