Brick-kiln schools in Pakistan bring joy and hope to poor and persecuted Christian children: your gift will help keep them running
“My parents were unable to afford my study costs. They could neither buy me new books nor pay my school fees. But I had a strong desire to study, so I used to pray to God to fulfil my desire, and He heard my prayers,” said Roshni.
Her parents are poor brick-kiln workers, bonded-labourers unable to leave their gruelling low-paid work because of debts to the brick-kiln owner that were incurred in time of family crisis, which they cannot pay back. It seemed impossible they could ever send their daughter to school. But then a Christian primary school was opened, supported by Barnabas Fund, which did not charge fees and even supplied the books and stationery for its pupils free of charge. When Roshni told her astonished parents, they were very happy that now she can fulfil her desire to attend school. What’s more their debt will be paid by Barnabas Fund later this year, Lord willing.
7-year-old Samuel carries his little sister to school
When a Christian school, funded by Barnabas, opened near his home, Samuel (aged 7) longed to enrol. Like Roshni’s family, Samuel’s family are trapped in the despised, slave-like status of bonded labour. But his father needed Samuel to take care of his younger brother and sister so that both parents could work full-time making bricks. They had a large debt to their brick-kiln owner and they struggled daily to make enough bricks to meet the brick-kiln owner’s targets.
Samuel begged the school organisers to talk to his parents and eventually it was agreed he could go to school if he took his little siblings with him, leaving his parents free to concentrate on the brick-making. “Now I come to school carrying my younger sister with me,” says Samuel, “Thank God that God sent Barnabas Fund.”
33 schools bring joy now and future hope
Barnabas Fund is supporting 33 Christian primary schools in Pakistan, specially established to give a free education to the children of very poor Christian brick-kiln families. Most of their parents cannot read or write, but if their children get an education, they will be able to free their family from the cycle of illiteracy and poverty. The majority have already had their debts paid by Barnabas Fund, thus freeing them from bonded labour.
The schools provide secular education, Bible teaching and sports activities. Many of them do not have a building, so classes are held in the open air, with little equipment apart from floor mats and a whiteboard. This keeps costs down but makes class-time vulnerable to rain, dust storms and excessive summer heat.
Where poverty and persecution no longer hurt ...
Some of the children have tried attending other schools but it is very difficult for them because of their poverty and their Christian faith. Joshua (now 12) used to go to school now and again when his parents were able to scrape together the fees for a month. Not surprisingly, he grew discouraged. Now that his parents do not have to worry about school fees or books, Joshua is regular in attendance at his new school, and keenly trying to work his way up towards first position in his class.
Danish (9) also used to attend a government school, but is far happier at his new Barnabas-supported school: “The teachers over here treat us politely and educate us nicely. We are also taught Bible studies over here, which is very important for our spiritual growth. We are all Christian students here and we discuss about different characters of the Bible.”
Just £1.40 ($1.75; €1.55) per child per month
A total of 1,986 children attend the 33 schools and are taught by 73 teachers, all Christians. The majority of children are in the age range 3 to 12, and there is a special emphasis on encouraging girls to go to school. Most of the schools meet six days a week, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in winter and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in summer. But some have two shifts, morning and afternoon.
These very basic schools, with a short school day, are exceptionally low cost to run. The average funding needed per child per month is just £1.40 ($1.75; €1.55).
Your gift today will help us keep these schools running, bringing joy to Christian children now and, when they are grown up, transformation for their families.
£14 ($17; €15) could pay for a month‘s schooling for ten children
£25 ($31; €28) could cover a typical teacher’s salary for one month
£55 ($68; €61) could provide books, exercise books, slates, pencils and other stationery for 20 children for one year