PEPE: educating the mind, body and soul
Children who attend one of the many pre-school education programmes (PEPE) in Mozambique are being given a well-rounded education, reports a BMS World Mission worker
'I never thought my son would change his bad behaviour, but he is a living testimony that going to a church pre-school, where children are taught the value of life, is worthwhile,' said the Mozambican mother of a pre-school education programme (PEPE) student. More and more families are enrolling their children in PEPE and getting similar results.
Fiona Welsh, BMS World Mission’s Mozambique Team Leader, reported a 23 per cent increase in students this year when enrolment shot up from 2,700 to 3,500, including Muslim families who have chosen a PEPE education for their children. 'The main objectives of PEPE are to prepare each child by providing an environment where they can develop socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually,' says Fiona. 'We are preparing them to enter the available schools with confidence.'
Before PEPE began in Mozambique, many children entered primary school not knowing how to hold a pencil properly or without the ability to sit through a few hours school. 'Kids are used to running around, so to sit for a few hours at age six is difficult for them,' says Fiona. Some also enter school without knowing the importance of hand washing or being fed. 'The nutritious snack they receive from us is sometimes the only big meal they’ll have for the day.'
At PEPE, the children grow to enjoy sitting through their classes where they learn the alphabet, how to write their names, colours and more. The children are also taught in a loving environment to value one another. 'They learn that God loves them,' says Fiona.
This message of God’s love is taking anchor in their lives away from school. During home visits, the children and teachers are able to share this love with the families by praying during the meetings. One day, a mother, who had never come to a service before, was asked who invited her to church. 'I’m here at the invitation of my son,' she said, 'he studies in this pre-school.'
Fiona and the rest of the PEPE staff are hoping to change more lives by reaching other rural areas and opening additional teaching sites. New sites mean more chances that a little boy or girl will invite their parents to church. The dedicated PEPE workers in Mozambique are changing the lives of students and their families. These children graduate from PEPE with a brighter educational outlook and parents who are happy with the results.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission