The year 2020 will remain deeply etched in our collective consciousness. For ANIJA School students and teachers, it marked a time when we experienced God being with us through His provision and protection. Though the year was replete with unexpected changes and surprises we were still continually able to care holistically for more than 380 children and youth, and our staff and children in the program have remained healthy despite many cases of COVID in the community, including the death of some students’ family members.
Some highlights included the amazing ways in which all our staff adapted to function as “relief workers” supporting our children’s families who lost their income during the pandemic; the conversion to online education and spiritual nurture of our children and youth; and the completion of the new cafeteria and multi-purpose building sans Service Teams.
The change was radical: on the eve of the pandemic, half our teachers didn’t own or use computers! Now all use computers and are mastering different technologies such as Google Classroom to educate and disciple students. Finally, in December and early January, we celebrated Christmas and Three King’s Day by providing a special Christmas Eve meal, a family devotion, and gifts for children.
This year we hope to have children return to the school campus in small groups by spring, reaching full capacity by August. Though we have become effective at distance teaching, we know the kids crave the loving and safe environment of the campus over the constant ambient risks at their homes in the barrios further amplified by the pandemic.
This month we have started working with the parents of our 37 new 4-year-old students who begin pre-school (but aren’t allowed on campus) and to restart our high school club discipleship program which was put on hold during the pandemic. We also hope to restart our sports programs in spring. Lastly, we are excited to have our children use the newly built cafeteria and sports court.
For over 30 years, the ANIJA School campus has been a beacon of light in the darkness in the lives of at-risk children, and this has been particularly true during the pandemic.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Que Dios les bendiga mucho (May God bless you abundantly).
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