REM: WHERE HOPE BLOOMS

For days on end, all we heard were the praises of a school called REM Secondary School, from two of our colleagues. They had made a delivery of Bibles donated to the school by a donor earlier that week. At first, we all thought it was an excitement of the new experience and so we took it very lightly. But the haste at which they sort to get more resources, funds and set a new date for an official visit, just caught everyone’s interest and curiosity. So we planned for the mission fast because in two weeks, schools would close.

REM High School

11th of March 2021, we made our way to REM, an acronym for Rural Evangelistic Missions. A mixed secondary school located in the rural parts of Ngong town, Kajiado County in Kenya. It is close to the Ngong hills wind turbines, so the area is very windy, and on this particular day, very hot too.

We arrived at 10:00AM. The students were out on break, and the discipline was very clear. The boys were standing on one side of the field, many meters away from the girls who were seated on the opposite side of the field. They are never allowed to mix unless for education purposes. And even so, we later came to know that the classes are also separate. There are classes for boys and classes for girls on opposite sides. Separating the two is the administration block, where we were now received by the Headmaster, Mr. Joseph Wasonga, as we waited for the students to settle in the hall. While we waited, we got the chance to hear the mission of the school and it’s history.

REM School was founded in 2000 by Rev. Shadrack Ogembo and his wife Violet Ogembo (she also serves as the director of REM School), and they are both trained pastors. The vision was to equip every child with education especially those from poor and difficult backgrounds who could not afford or access schools. That is why their focus is on the rural communities. And for that they have several schools around the country.

In this particular school, most of the students are either orphans, from very poor backgrounds or victims and near victims of Female Genital Mutilation and forced early marriage. Most of them come from communities where education is not valued. Girls are circumcised and married off at the tender age of 10. Boys are used as herders. In other cases, life is just hard and everyone’s effort is needed so that houses can be built, enough water can be fetched and the livestock taken care of.

REM is a home and refuge to them. When everyone else was going through lockdown due to the pandemic in the comfort of their homes, they remained in school because most of them did not have a home to go to. Though they were safer than most, you know, east or west home is best. Everyone hopes to have a home, where every need is met without depending on well wishers or donors.

But this is not to make you feel sad for them. In fact, the training these students get, is unmatched. They are trained in all areas of life. Some skills that most of us learn in university or are actually still learning as we grow older, for them it is part of their normal school curriculum. For example, learning Computer packages, is a compulsory for every student there. Baking too. They have their own bakery and they make bread for their every day breakfast. Being a Christian school, Christianity and good morals are emphasized hence the great discipline witnessed.

Joseph, one of the students currently on duty at the school bakery

Rev. Shadrack Ogembo, the founder, gave us a testimony of Joshua, one of their alumni students, who has transformed his community in Magadi, Kajiado County, through the skills and training he got from REM. He mobilized his community to come together and build a community church, he sort funds and drilled a borehole for clean and accessible water for the community, which before that, he had worked with the community to hand dig a 8km road to enable the drilling truck to have access to the drilling point.

It is not a huge facility but it is mind blowing how much impact they are making. Biblica could not be more proud to have such a partner like REM. Changing the present and future of the world, one child at a time. As a contribution to this vision, we donated Reach for Life Bibles to every student, children bible study books for their other primary schools and children orphanages, Bible Study books for the teachers and Christian books for their library. Our outreach team also had time to minister to them through the word of God and encouraged them to focus on what matters most now, being well equipped for the future. We also donated sanitary towels for the girls and soap bars to be distributed to each of them.

Biblica presenting their donations to REM

Alexander the Great once said, “remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all”. It is the responsibility of each of us who has gone before others, to look back and equip younger generations with skills, knowledge and support, which are the foundation and light they need to be better than us. So as the REM school motto says, we all strive to BLOOM WHERE WE ARE PLANTED.

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