Throughout the 2018 school year, we have worked with teachers, parents and students to develop methodologies and materials to improve the quality of education for nearly 3,000 children in eighteen public primary schools. In order to showcase the results of these efforts, we held an Education Fair on November 21st.
The fair was organized by our staff, students, school principals, teachers and parents. Each school prepared a display of the projects they had worked on during the year and the learning materials they had created. Most of the work was done with recycled or local materials, making them easily replicable in other schools.
Although the original idea was to organize a small event with the schools we serve, it soon turned into a substantial affair. There were more than 300 people in attendance and the fair was covered by the local media. Groups of students from each school also prepared songs, dances and poetry for the audience. All in all, it was amazing and historic day for all involved. We will certainly make it an annual occurrence.
One of the most amazing aspects of our work is being able to observe the physical and spiritual growth of the children and young people that we serve. One of the students in our scholarship program that has most impressed us this year is Magdiel Gómez.
Magdiel is eighteen years old and lives in the Nuevo Amanecer neighborhood. She lives with her mother, who works as a nurse in the local health center. Magdiel’s mother is dedicated to providing her with the best education possible, though her salary is barely enough for their basic needs. When Magdiel finished high school, her mother didn’t think she’d be able to afford to support her college education, but she was quickly approved for a scholarship in our program.
We were very pleased that Magdiel decided to study for a degree in Early Education. She is now finishing her second year and has begun to do her community service hours in our Early and Primary Education Program. She has shown a natural aptitude for teaching and is kind and compassionate with children.
In addition to her studies, Magdiel has also been involved in the local Young Life club for several years. She is one of a select group of young people who has been included in a leadership training initiative. She is now helping to lead the Young Life club in her community. We are so proud of Magdiel’s growth and development as teacher and a leader among her peers.
This year, we decided to wrap up our kids discipleship program in style! Well, Middle Eastern style, that is. Our Christian Education coordinator, Martha Cortedano, had the great idea to close out the year by having the kids dress up and act out the Bible stories they’ve learned about all year long, focusing especially on the birth of Christ. We were thrilled to have thirty-seven children and seventeen parents participate in the festivities, and they really went all out.
The theme verse for the day was Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” This perfectly exemplifies the heart behind our children’s ministry program. Through all the silly games, messy crafts, and loud songs, our desire is that something of what’s being taught would stick. We share the gospel with young hearts, teaching them about the character of God and the way that leads to true life. It is our firm conviction that the Word of God does not return to Him empty, and we pray that the seeds planted today will one day blossom and produce spiritual fruit down the road.
It was a beautiful thing to see such excellent coordination between teachers, students, parents, and the Rayo de Sol staff, and we pray that this celebration would serve to more deeply embed all the things the children have learned about God throughout the year.