March 14, 2017

Uncovering the Image of God at San Pablo Christian School

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How do children see themselves? Do they see someone who is dirty and worthless or someone who is powerful and loved by God – full of dignity and value?

Guillermo Yan, the Program Director at COCREF – EduDeo’s partner in the Dominican Republic, recently shared a story of a visit to San Pablo Christian school located in the materially poor community of La Pared de Haina.

“On a visit to San Pablo, we observed that many children had their school uniforms very dirty,” Guillermo said. “The school playground and outside walls were all in very bad shape. I thought to myself, that explains why our students’ uniforms look so dirty. Maybe they get dirty when playing on the unpaved playground.”

The dirt and disrepair was not limited to the playground. The schools classrooms, walls and furniture were equally neglected. This lack of care carried over to the students.

Guillermo met a little girl who attended the school. He asked her how she was feeling. “Very well,” she replied, a beautiful smile on her face. Guillermo then asked her how she felt about her clothes. 

“Dirty…” the girl said.

“Do you like how you look?” Guillermo asked. 

“No,” she said, tears in her eyes. Her beautiful smile had disappeared. 

Guillermo shared this story with the principal. He asked how they could help create a space that elevated children’s self-esteem and encouraged them to feel proud of themselves and their school. That question marked a turning point in San Pablo’s journey of transformation.

Staff created a plan that included improving the playground, creating gardens, painting the school walls and fixing the classroom furniture. 

They taught students about their responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation.

The results were noticeable. “The students no longer came to class with dirty clothes,” Guillermo said. “Teachers and students took care of and improved the school furniture. The walls were washed. A volunteer team helped improve the playground by pouring a concrete patio where the children play.”

San Pablo’s outward transformation revealed a significant lesson learned by its students, teachers and community: That we are all caretakers of this world. Through our work, we affirm the beauty and value God has placed in all of us, inside and out.


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