What does an education mean to you? Are you the student that can’t wait for the next assignment and sits at the front of the class? Or is school a drag and you think your teachers ask too many questions? For Tenson, an education means becoming a better person and the opportunity to have a great future.
Tenson is a student in our Child Sponsorship Program at Arise Christian School and has been a part of the program since July 2018. He is 18 years old and in the 6th grade. Most kids in his class are between the ages of 11 and 13 years old. Tenson admits in the beginning it was really challenging to be the oldest student in his grade. It’s true that no matter our age, we compare ourselves and our progress to our peers, and can miss the goodness of the Lord in our lives. Thankfully, Tenson now feels accepted and treated equally amongst his classmates. He is so focused on getting an education, it feels normal. This is how valuable education is to the children we serve.
In America, children are required to go through schooling. We GET to receive an education. In Zambia, a child’s education is not a priority for most families. They can’t afford school fees and often times, children at a very young age are sent to find work to help provide for their family. This was the case for Tenson.
Tenson moved to Lusaka to live with his uncle and help look after his younger cousins. Like many families in Zambia they have children living with them that are relatives or not even related. And Like many families, older children in the family are given the responsibility of child care at too young of an age. Unfortunately families can only provide for their immediate children and even then it is limited. The cousins, distant relatives, or friend’s children are not cared for as well because of a lack of resources. Tenson watched his cousins get to go to school everyday and learn. They’d come home with new knowledge and speaking English. He also noticed that people in the city were educated, compared to the village he was from. He quickly realized that an education meant more work opportunities and higher chances of doing well in life. He didn’t want a life like the one he had when living in the village. Tenson began to greatly desire to be in school, so he asked his uncle if he too could be enrolled. His family knew he needed an education, but were worried because they could not afford the fees. They didn’t think school would be possible for Tenson. His aunt knew of Arise Christian School and decided to see if there was a place for him there. There was indeed a spot for Tenson because of an American sponsor, and he was enrolled for school in July of 2018.
Tenson had no idea what a formal education would look like and he couldn’t speak English. All he knew was he desperately wanted to learn.
Tenson is focused. He is so eager and motivated every day to work hard and do better. His age is not a liability, but helps him to not take for granted the opportunity he has for an education. He is the best student in math in his class. At no surprise, Tenson’s favorite subject is English and he loves to read. When he finishes school, Tenson says he wants to be an accountant. One of Tenson’s biggest role models is his friend Paniso, who is from the same remote village as him and is currently studying to be a doctor.
Education is a huge blessing and great need for kids in Zambia. We are so thankful for our teachers and staff who pour into each student with love and care every day. We are also so thankful for our amazing sponsors that help make stories like Tenson’s possible. Pray Tenson continues to see God’s goodness and grows in his confidence to work hard and be an example of Jesus to his peers.