Big Little Box

August 19, 2012 by Diana Coombs

When I was visiting our school in DR Congo, I was introduced to this little box:

Written on the box in French is:

Welfare for the students of the ELI School

Inside the box were pieces of paper folded up. On each piece of paper is the name of a child in our school who is unable to pay school fees. Our teachers and any visitors who come to the school are able to draw a name from the box and contribute fees for that particular child.

While ELI pays most of the fees for the children to attend school, we do ask that parents pay a small amount in order to create a sense of ownership. We found that when parents didn’t contribute towards fees, they didn’t take much interest in the development of their children. However, when we started to ask for parents to contribute towards school fees, they began to take more interest in their children’s welfare and in the school. Our school fees are amongst the lowest in the area even though we rank among the best schools. We cater to the poorest of the poor who would not be able to pay for their children to attend school. So, while school fees are $3-7 per month per child, some of the parents still are not able to provide that.

When I heard the story behind the box, I was blown away to know that our very own teachers and people in the community were giving some of their own money to pay for their students’ school fees. Their generosity towards these children is humbling. Those who don’t have much were giving what they have. It reminded me of the poor widow in the Bible who gave all that she had, which, in the eyes of man was not much, but, in the eyes of God it was a huge sacrifice and gift to Him.

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Categories: DR Congo Vulnerable Children