23 February 2016 // Articles & Stories

Serving the community in Mayotte

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Christoff & Sarah Power share about their work in Mayotte and the hope they have that in working with the community, they can demonstrate the love of Jesus.

Greater demand for helping children

This island is a little slice of Europe in the middle of African waters. All the schools officially follow the French curriculum, with the Baccalaureate being the end goal. And yet, even with all the experienced teachers and the money that is poured into the system, the vast majority of island children are lagging far behind their French counterparts.

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Not yet ready

Mary helps in the centre with Christoff & Sarah Power. This is her story. Please pray for her…

Mary, was raised by her single mum, with siblings from a number of different fathers. Life was a real struggle and even relatives used to mock them because they were so poor. Her mum was caring and kind, but from a young age Mary has seen several different spirits manifest through her. In recent years, her mum has turned against her and one of her brothers has attacked and threatened her and her husband.

Mary has a lovely four year old boy and is desperate for more children, but has had several miscarriages. She notices a lot of hypocrisy in the people around her and is often brave enough to speak up in moments of injustice. Mary likes to hear stories from the Bible. She believes God loves her and will help her through her difficulties. But she is not ready to say whether she can follow Jesus.

Partly due to the schools being overcrowded with the large influx of immigrants, partly due to the parents not being educated themselves; there are many complex factors contributing to the children’s poor academic performance.

We returned to the island two years ago, planning to run English courses. We quickly found that while there is a demand for English, there is a much larger demand for helping children learn to read and grasp basic maths concepts – in French.

It started with tutoring a 12 year old who couldn’t remember the alphabet. After a few months of working with him, using material I had for my own pre-schoolers, he was reading simple sentences. Then two sisters started arriving for homework help. We realised that we could set up a Centre to help more children like this on a more full-time basis as well as have a more convenient place to run our English courses from. God opened the doors with agreements from our landlords and money from project funds and the Centre was born!

Greater than academic progress

We have a lot of teenagers, mostly from our immediate neighbourhood, coming for English one evening a week and an adults’ English course once a week too. However, English has really taken a backseat to the other sessions we run. We are now open for four afternoons, tutoring primary-school children in small groups. The children are excited to come in, be allowed to use paints and look through books in our small library.

As well as the relationships being developed with these families, three ladies from the local community whom we’ve known for years have been able to help us in various ways too. It has been a joy to be able to work together.
There is so much room for expansion and improvement – we’d love to add more classes and clubs – but at the moment, not enough workers. Pray for people to join us in lovingly serving the island community through this Centre, people who will care about more than just the academic progress of the children and who are focussed on something other than “Le Bacc” as the end goal.

Christoff & Sarah Power

We live and work among the unreached Shibushi people. We run an English and School Support Centre in the community for children and youth. We share our faith as we participate in community life and through relationships with people around us.

Find out more…