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Humanitarian Efforts Support Education Projects in 74 Countries

The Church of Jesus Christ gave books, desks and chairs; built latrines and classrooms; and collaborated with other organizations to promote education in 306 projects worldwide

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Mary Richards, Church News

In Mozambique, students were trying to learn in a makeshift mud classroom that flooded every time it rained. Children, teachers, government and tribal leaders had been praying for help in Malawi as they met for lessons outside under a large mango tree.

Children in Peru didn’t have enough space in their classrooms nor enough desks. Frequent typhoons in the Philippines knocked out power and cut off internet access for students.

After The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints got involved, things changed. In these schools and many others around the world, the Church built new classrooms, donated furniture, gathered supplies and collaborated with local organizations in other ways to improve educational opportunities for tens of thousands of students in 2022.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé explained to the Church News in the recent Inside Church Headquarters series how collaboration with organizations and planning with Church areas makes more outreach possible.

“We want to reach out to the most vulnerable populations, people that really are in need anywhere in the world, regardless of their nationalities, their race or their faith,” Bishop Caussé said. “We have developed relationships with a network of organizations, good organizations, that we can trust in every part of the world. And so this enables us to reach a higher scale.” 

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, noted that each of the Church’s 23 geographic areas has a five-year humanitarian plan based on needs in that part of the world. “Then we work together to meet the needs that are real, everywhere in the world,” he said.

One of those areas that does a lot with education is the Africa Central Area, where Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, General Authority Seventy, serves as area president.

“One of the sweet things about being in the Africa Central Area is the tremendous opportunity to lift and help others to lessen suffering,” Elder Carpenter said.

He said the Church identifies schools that may need repair or have other barriers to education.

“In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Kenya and in other countries in the area, the Church coordinates with local education departments to put in latrines at schools, refurbish classrooms and provide desks and school supplies,” Elder Carpenter said.The Church also works to improve childhood literacy and provide teacher training. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Church provided funding and partnered with a Catholic organization called Don Bosco to train teachers and teach literacy to children who could not afford the fees to attend school.

“In one particular town, we had 400 children who had dropped out of school. They came to our Church buildings five days a week for nine months,” Elder Carpenter said. “They were taught by members of the Church who were hired by Don Bosco to be teachers.”

At the end of nine months, more than 80% of the children passed all of the country’s literacy exams.

“We see this as a pattern we’re looking to extend beyond this one city, going throughout the country and likely throughout the entire region. This program is consistent with our humanitarian objectives to help many of God’s children in need,” Elder Carpenter said.

Principal Gabriel Jura talking to the invited guests at the handover ceremony in Nyabondo, Kenya on 15 June 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Other Educational Efforts in Africa

On February 1, 2022, children celebrated the completion of four new classrooms at their school in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The Church worked with the Build-a-School Initiative in Africa and Coafrica, the Africa Classroom Coalition.

Children and teachers at the Badiadingi Institute in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo received an almost completely new school in May 2022 after refurbishments funded by the Church.

A latrine block collapsed at Kenya’s Catholic Nyabondo Boys’ Secondary School in February 2022, and the Church built new, safe facilities which opened on June 15, 2022.

In June 2022, the Church partnered with nonprofit organization Windle International Uganda to upgrade six schools in the refugee settlement of Nakivale, Uganda. The schools received classrooms, desks, chairs, textbooks and vocational training materials.

By the end of June 2022, the Church and the nonprofit organization No Poor Among Us replaced makeshift classrooms in underprivileged schools in Mozambique with brick-and-mortar buildings.

Children in front of the newly built classrooms at Magude Primary School in Maputo, Mozambique© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


Students and teachers at Mvindeni Primary School in Kenya received desks, remodeled classrooms, latrines and showers, in addition to copies of the Bible and the Quran on July 14, 2022.

At the Waya Primary School in Chimbwi, Malawi, in September 2022, the Church funded the construction of eight new classrooms and teacher preparation areas, and provided new desks and textbooks.

Heavy rainstorms destroyed school buildings and property in Buyanga and Buwagi, Uganda. The Church, school administrators and community leaders broke ground at three schools in November and December 2022.

In December 2022, students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo received a new donation of desks, tables and chairs at the Camp Major Vangu Elementary School.

Children learning under a tree at Picoco Primary School in Maputo, Mozambique.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Education Projects in Latin America

An agreement signed by the Church in Honduras in July 2022 meant the Food Bank of Honduras would be able to provide food to the Francisco Morazán School — giving the students the food they need during the day to improve their performance in school.

On July 21, 2022, the Church donated fully equipped kitchens to three public schools in Palencia, Guatemala. The kitchens include industrial stoves, freezers and dishwashers, as well as two containers and a room to prepare the food.

Seventeen schools in the Ucayali department of Peru received new supplies including kitchen utensils, folders, shelves, blackboards, tables, chairs and prefabricated module classrooms on September 17, 2022.

In November 2022, the Church donated materials and labor to help finish three schools in the Orange Walk and Cayo districts of Belize. The donations included desks, whiteboards and paint.

That same month in Guatemala, the Church donated hundreds of desks, tables, chairs and blackboards for 12 public educational centers in Petén.

As part of an effort to improve literary practices and promote cultural development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Church made donations to 46 libraries on November 29, 2022. The donations included books, computers and electronics.

In December 2022, the Church donated materials and supplies for water purification and filtration systems for three schools in Guerrero, Mexico, working in conjunction with World Vision Mexico.

Students in Ecuador faced challenges due to deterioration of school furniture. On December 16, 2022, the Church delivered new furniture for 15 educational facilities in Quito.

The Church donated specialized furniture and equipment for young children learning in special education centers and early childhood programs in the Pasco province of Peru on December 22, 2022.

In the Piura area of Peru on the same day, representatives from the Church delivered furniture and various items to the Rosa Carrera de Martos educational center. The items would help more than a thousand primary and secondary students at the school with their learning.

School Donations in Pacific, Asia, Europe and other Areas

Children in schools in remote areas of the Philippines have struggled when storms knock out electricity and internet access. The Church in September 2022 distributed 24 new portable and battery-powered servers from World Possible to several schools.

The small island of Moorea in French Polynesia only has one library to support reading in seven schools. In October 2022, the library received an upgrade and a donation of books from the Church.

Volunteers in Auckland, New Zealand, helped the organization Pacific Assist on December 3, 2022, by loading desks and chairs onto a shipping container bound for schools in Fiji. Local school communities can use the furniture to improve educational experiences for children.

Other educational efforts in 2022 included giving 1,500 elementary school children in Lebanon each a backpack filled with pencil boxes, rulers, notebooks, sharpeners and erasers. The collaboration between the Union of Relief and Development Associations and the Church aimed to help children be better prepared for school.

The Church worked with the Center for Youth Integration in Serbia to provide two drop-in gathering places for Roma schoolchildren in 2022. The Church financed school and hygiene supplies, office supplies, transportation and outdoor activities for the effort.

Following the Example of Jesus Christ

The Church of Jesus Christ gets involved because it is what the Savior taught, explained Bishop Caussé.

“Helping others and reaching out to the people in need is really at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We wouldn’t be the Church of Jesus Christ if we did not follow or strive to follow His example every day,” Bishop Caussé said.

Bishop Waddell expanded upon the commandment to love one’s neighbor.

“Who is our neighbor? Everyone is our neighbor. … We reach out to everyone, whatever their circumstances may be, wherever they may be from, whatever race or religion,” he said. “We’re here to bless everyone that we can bless.”

Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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