Help us fight child abuse in schools

Help us fight child abuse in schools

The threat of abuse is very real for pupils in many Ugandan schools. You can help by getting your church to pray for our child protection work.

Imagine a classroom with 100 or more primary age schoolchildren in it. Put aside how crammed it might be and concentrate on this: more than two thirds of the children in front of you have been sexually abused by a male teacher, according to a Unicef survey. The percentage of children who have been caned is even higher, yet their abusers get away with the abuse, free to inflict suffering on a child in a place every child should feel safe: school.

The survey on the prevalence of abuse in Ugandan schools shows that people are aware of the abuse – but it still continues. Do not think it is going completely unchallenged though. Ugandan officials are making strides. And, with your support, BMS World Mission lawyer Linda Darby is working tirelessly in Gulu, northern Uganda, to change attitudes towards child protection in schools.

BMS mission worker Linda Darby guides teachers in child protection policy work
Linda Darby’s mission to tackle abuse in schools begins with training future nursery teachers about child protection.

Backed by local government, Linda has so far taken 21 schools through training on how abuse can be identified, reported and prevented. And the message of protecting children from sexual and physical abuse is not restricted to the school environment. Community leaders also attend the training, alongside the school’s senior staff – and ends with a school developing a child protection policy. With your prayers, we hope even more schools in Gulu will develop more effective child protection approaches.

“At first, people can be defensive, but as we explain the types of abuse, especially sexual, they realise it is happening and they are more open to listening,” says Linda. “This work is important because it is helping children thrive in school, and that will improve their circumstances in life.”

A BMS project worker helps teachers identify signs of child abuse
We’re helping teachers and community leaders in Gulu, Uganda, identify signs of child abuse.

The work Linda does in Uganda couldn’t happen without your prayer support. We encourage you and your church to please pray today for:

1. More local trainers to come forward to help Linda in her work. Pray for the right people, with the right skills, and with huge hearts to protect children from harm.

2. Energy, wisdom and strength for Linda in her work. Pray that she knows the encouragement of your prayers when she talks to schools about why child protection policies must be developed and put into practice.

3. The children who are being abused. Please pray for the abuse to stop, and that the children sense God’s love for them in their lives.

4. The adults who commit abuse. Pray that they understand the darkness of their actions and are guided towards a new life in which they never hurt a child again.

Through your prayers today, we believe that even more schools in Gulu will take child protection more seriously. We know it’s possible. You can play your part today in protecting children you will never meet.

Please pray.

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You can change a child’s life by praying today

You can change a child’s life by praying today

Extreme poverty, war and discrimination are denying children their right to an education as you read this. Your generous gifts to BMS are helping us to confront this injustice. And today, we’re asking you to support our education work with prayer too. Please read, pray and share this article so we can help more children in the countries featured below access life-transforming education.

Lebanon

Syrian and Iraqi refugee children in Lebanon are getting an education, thanks to you. Children who have had their lives shattered by conflict are being given hope for the future. Not only are they being taught, they are being treated with the love and respect that every child deserves.

• Pray that these children are able to concentrate on what they’re being taught and feel safe in their environment. Pray that they would love learning.

• Pray for wisdom and energy for the teachers, as they work with children who have suffered unimaginable trauma.

Children sitting at desks in school raise their hands to answer a question
Refugee children are back in the classroom in Lebanon after fleeing the horror of conflict in Syria and Iraq.

Bangladesh

Preschools across rural, very poor parts of Bangladesh are being supported by you. Boys and girls are being taught about letters and numbers, with BMS worker Louise Proctor training local teachers to give great lessons using free or cheap resources. We’re also helping to educate the children of mission workers at a school in Dhaka.

• Pray that the preschools will be a springboard to enable children to keep attending school, and that the children will be encouraged by their parents.

• Pray that the teachers will be equipped to provide stimulating lessons for the children, and can access all the resources they need.

Children sit in lines in a shed in Bangladesh. They are all staring at a teacher who is taking the lesson.
Children in rural Bangladesh are captivated as BMS worker Louise Proctor helps with a school lesson.

Kosovo

Underprivileged children and adults from marginalised and minority people groups in Kosovo are being given the chance to learn English thanks to your support for BMS teachers. More than 50 per cent of young people in Kosovo are unemployed and 30 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.

• Pray for BMS’ education work amongst marginalised people in Kosovo.

• Pray that young girls would have equal access to education, and that our workers would have the resources to help them.

• Pray for God to guide BMS workers Rose* and Robert* as they serve in education in Kosovo.

Albania

We’re working to help children from Roma and Egyptian communities access education. These children are shunned by Albanian society and live in abject poverty. We’re also helping further God’s mission in Albania by providing education for mission workers’ children at GDQ International Christian School.

• Pray for the children who want to learn, but are stopped from attending school regularly because of reasons out of their control. Pray for a sense of hope for them.

• Pray for the children who struggle in school because of extreme poverty.

• Pray for increased resources for the science department at GDQ in Tirana, and pray for renewed energy for BMS mission workers Chris and Debbie Carter, Mat and Suzanne Gregory, and Jill Morrow.

Two girls sit at a table, drawing pictures on pieces of paper
You can help children in Albania know what it feels like to have a happy, fulfilling education.

Peru

Children from poor families attend an after-school club at the BMS-founded El Puente Baptist Church in the city of Cusco. They’re helped with their homework, learn about God, and play games.

• Pray that more children attend the club, and see the value in an education.

• Pray that other members of the church get involved and use their blessings to help the children.

• Pray for Denise and Melany, who run the club. Pray they would feel encouraged by the difference they are making to young people’s lives.

Children sit on a stage in front of musical equipment. They are smiling and waving at the camera.
These children have been learning and having fun at a BMS-founded church in Peru.

Nepal

BMS is working to transform children’s lives by improving teaching in Nepali schools. Teacher training written by BMS worker Annie Brown is being rolled out across the country. We do this work in partnership with the Kathmandu International Study Centre (KISC), where mission workers’ children are taught, with BMS support.

• Pray for the Nepali teachers receiving training, sometimes for the first time. Pray that they would go on to transform the lives of the children in their classrooms.

• Pray that poverty won’t stop children in Nepal attending school. Pray they would have all they need to learn.

• Pray for the students preparing to sit exams at KISC, and for the KISC staff as they settle into the school’s new site.

Two girls sitting at desks look at a school book
Children in Nepal have been learning through new teaching methods, thanks to your support for school teachers in the country.

Guinea

Boys from deprived communities are learning formal rules and structure through a football club set up by BMS mission worker Ben*.

Summer classes have also been set up by Ben and his wife Isabelle* – who is a teacher – helping not only the boys, but other children, too.

• Pray that the boys would continue to be inspired to learn and develop, and that education and football would give them a great sense of self-worth.

• Pray for Ben, that he would have the resources, time and energy he needs to help the boys who come to him.

Players of the Blessed Boys Football Club in Guinea train and play a match.
Boys in Guinea are not only improving their football skills thanks to your support, they’re being helped with their schoolwork too.

China

We support teachers in China, helping students at a nursing college improve their English language skills.

• Pray the students would feel encouraged in their studies, and form strong friendships with their classmates.

• Pray for energy for our workers, in both their teaching and in their personal relationships.

India

Street children in Kolkata are learning reading, writing and arithmetic through the BMS-supported Street Servants team, led by our worker Ben Francis. Our team is working hard to set up a second school, which will give more children a chance to learn the skills they need to change their futures. We also support other education initiatives in India.

• Pray that children at the street school would have an incredible appetite for learning. Pray they would sense God’s presence in their lessons.

• Pray that the children’s parents would understand the importance of a good education, and would continue to allow their children to attend the school.

A girl walks towards other children standing under a bridge in India
This is where the street school takes place in Kolkata, underneath a bridge.

Mozambique

Young children from poor backgrounds are being given the best possible preparation for school through the PEPE preschool initiative started and supported by BMS. Children are being taught important lessons like colours, numbers and the alphabet in creative ways.

• Pray that the children enjoy their preschool lessons and want to keep learning.

• Pray for the resources to help more children from disadvantaged communities.

• Pray for BMS worker Liz Vilela, who has been training new PEPE teachers in child protection. Pray that Liz would find ways to overcome any obstacles she faces in her work, and that the teachers put into practice what they’ve learnt.

Children in Mozambique pray during a school lesson
Children in Mozambique are not only being given a preschool education, they are also learning about Jesus.

Education is critical in helping children who are poor, disadvantaged and persecuted walk towards a better life – a life that we know is possible.

Through your donations and prayers you are enabling us to help children access education. Please share this story right now to encourage others to pray.

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Are you a teacher? Come and work with us

Inspired by the education work we do? We’re looking for teachers to serve in countries such as Uganda, Afghanistan, Guinea and Albania.

You can be the person who helps change a young person’s life for the better. Take the first step by clicking here to find out more. We’d love to hear from you.

* Names changed for security reasons

Sleeping on the pavements, studying on the streets

Sleeping on the pavements, studying on the streets:

helping children in India to thrive

Begging, selling alcohol and stealing – this is how street children in India survive and provide for their families. But thanks to BMS World Mission, a school on the street in Kolkata is providing these children with an education, teaching them life skills to help them succeed.

Tens of thousands of children live day and night on the streets of Kolkata. With no access to education or healthcare, begging or selling alcohol and drugs are often the only ways they can survive. Countless families live in absolute poverty, and it can often feel like there is no way out.

A girl walking on the side of a busy road next to the bridge where the street school takes place.
This is where the street school takes place, underneath a bridge.

But lasting change sometimes starts with something small. Underneath a bridge in the bustling city of Kolkata, next to a traffic-filled road, 50 children who call the streets their home are getting to go to school. Because BMS worker Ben Francis and his team have brought school to them. Calling themselves Street Servants, our team teaches the children reading, writing and arithmetic – important lessons from the government kindergarten syllabus. And once they’re ready, the team help get the children into a government school to earn essential certificates. They’re also learning about Jesus. Every day, the children sing songs about God. They learn to read through parables and Bible stories, and they pray.

These children, who have only ever known life on the streets, are gaining new opportunities to learn, and new skills that will set them up for life. And it’s all because of your support for BMS.

Nawab was begging outside a horse racing track when the BMS-supported Street Servants met him. After meeting with his parents, the team invited Nawab to come to the street school, along with his two sisters. He excelled. Thanks to the school, Nawab’s life has changed dramatically. Along with seven other children who were taught by BMS-supported teachers in Kolkata, he’s now in a government school. Sat in a busy classroom of children in school uniform, after a life without much structure, the adjustment has not been easy. But now, Nawab has the opportunity of a full education. A way off the streets.

All 50 children at the street school are learning the skills they need to get into government schools. As well as learning the right curriculum, they’re also being taught wider life skills. “We’re giving them the habit of discipline,” says BMS worker Ben Francis, who helps oversee the project in Kolkata. Street school is preparing these children to sit in a classroom, to listen, and to learn to change their own futures.

Nawab, a serious boy looking straight into the camera. Wearing a cream buttoned shirt.
This serious boy is Nawab. Thanks to your support, he's now in a government school along with seven other children from the street school.

And we aren’t just stopping with 50 children. We want more children like Nawab to receive a quality education, and our team is working hard to set up a second school. “We want to see more children get into government schools,” says Ben. “We want more communities changed, and more families leaving the streets.”

BMS worker Ben Francis smiling into the camera. A man dressed in a long white shaul.
BMS worker Ben Francis, who helps oversee the Street Servants project in Kolkata.

And it really is all about families. The Street Servants team go and meet parents, offering counselling and advice. For many, having their child in school means a loss of income, as they often beg to help support the families. “It’s about changing the mindset of the parents,” says Ben. “We tell them, ‘today you want 40 pence from your child. But if you let them study, some day they will bring back four thousand pounds.’” By getting the parents on board, the children can go to school and become more equipped to support their families in the future.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone in the UK,” says Ben. “You’re enabling underprivileged children to touch love, and helping us show Jesus’ love in the most tangible way that people will understand.”

It’s not just about supporting one child. It’s about changing generations.

Please pray for the street school, for Nawab, and his seven classmates as they continue to thrive in the government school, getting an education that any of us would want for our own children. And you can do something to help them – and people like them – right now. By clicking our donate button and giving, you will give help and hope to people who the rest of the world wants to forget. Do something small today to let them know they’re not forgotten. Click the big red button and give right now. You really can make a difference. As Ben Francis says, “it’s not just about supporting one child. It’s about changing generations.”

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Want to share this story in your church or small group?

Download a PowerPoint with photos below.

Street Servants PowerPoint