Christianity begun as a relationship with Jesus Christ. When it went to Athens it became a philosophy. When it went to Rome it became an organisation. When it went to Europe, it became a culture. When it went to America it became a business.
Great news to hear that UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has come to the rescue of some 250,000 primary school students’ education in Zimbabwe with a £10million fund injection. This works towards fulfilling one of the UN’s Millennium Development goal (MDG 2005) to eradicate poverty by 2015. Unfortunately for us our Zimbabwe Basic Education Assistance Module ‐ BEAM had failed to carry the baton as promised.
The seemingly perpetual haemorrhage of ‘aid’ to African states including Zimbabwe, has left me curious about the relationship between the modern day church and social justice, in particular driving education among orphan and vulnerable children in African states. The focus of the article is on an observation of the modern day church’s active involvement (or lack thereof), with orphan and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe.
Rev Canon James Ndyabahika of the Anglican church avers that
money is a symbol of Gods created world.. a medium of exchange. It is important to life and without it life is miserable
From the outset, therefore, the author is not begrudging the ownership of money by the modern church, but the distribution of it. The question at hand is what is the position of the modern day church on orphan and vulnerable children’s (OVC) right to education? Why do these groups find it so difficult to access education continuously without dropping out?
A good number of modern day African Church coffers are lined with juicy dollars from desperate people seeking deliverance or some sort of breakthrough or indeed healing.
Forbes magazine with a focus on Nigeria reports Pastors flying around in private jets, costing several millions to fuel and maintain annually. Competition on visible financial asset possession among pastors is rife; and unfortunately this overshadows the populous educational needs of orphan and vulnerable children in their communities.
Sadly, this goes on while the local orphan and vulnerable children in the same pastor’s church congregation and community fails to get $20 apiece to pay a terms fees. Some of the children we fund in Voice of The African Child (VOAC) actually belong to some salubrious churches and it’s a travesty that we get not an ounce of help. The work is left to would be benefactors or NGO’s. NGO’s emphasis should be rather on partnership with churches to work together to help these children
The church needs to lead NGO’s and not the other way round. For too long the African debate on poverty has been colonised as was the African continent by non African Western nationals. While aid is helping in the short term, we need to be wary of the insidious seduction of aid. Aid provides temporary relief but leaves you worse off, killing any initiatives left in you and crying out for more…; much like the alcoholic’s beggary dependency and slavery to alcohol. .
In the words of Dambisa Moyo, the notion that aid can relieve systemic poverty is a myth. In Africa millions are poorer today because of Aid. Aid has been and continues to be an unmitigated humanitarian and economic disaster. This is why Africans alone should step up and the church leadership must raise its voice in theory and in practice, raising the bar to the education for all African orphans and vulnerable children. There you have it.
Guest post from VOICE OF THE AFRICAN CHILD