Children in Menongue, a town of about 32,000 people in south-central Angola, are excited about the progress of their new school.
Floors for four of the five buildings have been completed, and the fifth building has been staked out, said Darrell Hardy, Angola country manager for Maranatha Volunteers International, a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“If all goes as planned, the floors will be completed on this coming Thursday,” Hardy said, referring to May 5.
The Adventist-operated Menongue School will have 15 classrooms upon completion of the project.
Maranatha volunteers, together with staff from the Adventist Church’s South-Western Angola Union Mission and the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, are working to construct schools in a country that is rebuilding following decades of civil war. More than 50 percent of all schools in Angola were destroyed during the conflict, which lasted from 1975 to 2002.
Efforts are under way to rebuild, but many schools are needed to house all of the children who desire an education. Paul Ratsara, president of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, noted that many schoolchildren presently are attending school in outdoor classrooms under trees.
“The obvious distractions within this difficult learning environment are impacting negatively on the education of students in Angola,” he said. “Classrooms will improve educational outcomes and provide more educational and vocational opportunities in the future for Angolan children.”
Parents also are eager to send their children to a school with walls. Studying outside can make it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork. Students often get bitten by mosquitoes and end up with malaria.
Maranatha is actively building One-Day School classrooms as well as One-Day Churches across the African continent. Over the past two years, its volunteers have raised 355 One-Day Church kits in 270 locations in Angola alone. Last month, Maranatha revealed plans at its Mission Maranatha Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to build 200 One-Day School classrooms and an education and evangelism center in Angola. The organization did not give a timeline for the 200 classrooms, saying only that donations were needed to fund the work.
Ratsara expressed gratitude to Maranatha at the convention for helping “us to introduce Jesus to hundreds of thousands of new members in our division who, through your generosity, now have schools and places of worship.”
“The wide-reaching effects of this work will be known only in heaven,” he said.
He was echoed by Gideon Reyneke, field secretary responsible for coordinating Maranatha projects within the division. He is eager to see the Menongue School open for classes. The opening date has not been set yet.
“Our partnership is important in bringing the love of Jesus to many communities in Angola,” Reyneke said. “We praise God for His love and providence as shown through Maranatha volunteers.”