By: Laura Bennett
Education around the world is designed to empower our future leaders, and equip young people with the knowledge needed to be thoughtful contributors to society.Doing this well though goes beyond basic reading and writing skills, dealing with students’ moral compass, and personal self-belief.
In Africa, while the youth provide hope for the next generation, it’s well recognised they need guidance and mentorship particularly through their senior years. Many face issues from a lack of motivation, to dysfunctional home environments, substance abuse, and other activities that put themselves and others at risk of harm.
Wanting to help Africa’s young people thrive and fulfill their God-given purpose, African Enterprise established the Foxfires Youth Program in Kenya 14 years ago. Since then they’ve recruited youth interns annually, who in turn mentor fellow students, providing them with a stable friendship based on godly counsel.
Trained in social psychology, leadership development, youth ministry and career development (among other disciplines), interns show teenagers they can make their life better, and rise above circumstance.
Similar to the Peer Support Program experienced in Australia, interns host weekly sessions with students in school. Teenagers learn life skills, participate in creative art demonstrations, forum discussions, and Christian Union meetings. Students can talk about their concerns in a positive group environment, and socialise with people who show Gods love and care for them.
Caroline Mutheu works with Foxfires and says, “I love the work that I do… There’s nothing as satisfying as seeing my fellow youth transformed into pillars of change [in] our society.”
“Seeing a young person also devote [their] time and life to Christ assures me of one thing” says Caroline, “Christ is fully in control and He cares for young people to be the light to the lost and the hopeless.”
One of those young people is Simon Kariuki.
After being heavily addicted to alcohol and drugs, Simon was the driver in a near fatal car accident that led him to reassess his life.
“Out of that accident,” says Simon. “I despaired to the point of attempting suicide. One day, Foxfires came to our school and preached to us about God giving each of us second chances to make it right in life. From that instance, I heard a voice tell me that this was the time for my redemption. I didn’t hesitate to receive Christ as my saviour.”
“Since then,” Simon says, “the Foxfires team have been walking with me and encouraging me. Out of their counsel, I have joined a partial rehabilitation center which I visit every weekend… I am at loss of words for the great transformation I have encountered through Foxfires in our school.”
As a donor funded program African Enterprise relies on partnerships with other organisations to promote their services, and ensure initiatives like Foxfires can continue.
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) recently chose to work with African Enterprise, seeking to build relationship with Christian educators around the world and see people transformed by the love of Christ.
Serving over 6 million students in 100 countries, ASCI’s Director of International Partnerships Emma Wynn-Jones says, “Collaborative partnerships are vital to the national and global work that we do…”
Find out more about Foxfires and partnering with African Enterprise via www.africanenterprise.com.au/foxfires
Article supplied with thanks to African Enterprise who bring the good news of Jesus to the people of Africa.
About the Author: Laura Bennett is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.