A Student at Belen

“Kimberley, will you start reading at the top of page 24?” her teacher calls out in her grade 8 classroom at Belen in the Dominican Republic. Kimberley clears her throat and starts reading the paragraph in clear Spanish, but soon comes to a difficult phrase and has trouble sounding out the words. Feeling her face flush, she looks up from the page to her teacher. She needs some help. Her eyes meet her teacher’s smiling face, who is more than willing to stop her lesson to sit with Kimberley and help her sound out the words. Kimberley continues reading out loud with a new burst of confidence in her voice.

Kimberley has been a student at Belen since she was in Kindergarten and has always appreciated how kind and respectful her teachers are. When she has trouble understanding a lesson, her teachers are patient and empower her. Kimberley has three siblings and her mom is the secretary of the parents’ association. Her mom is proud of her daughter saying that she learns lots and that she has fun at school. Even though learning is a bit of struggle for Kimberley, the teachers at Belen make it enjoyable for her and she wants to learn more.

At home, when her mom asks her what she learned at school that day, Kimberley will say, “Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.” In her classes Kimberley memorizes Scripture, like this John 3:16 passage in Spanish, and then shares them with her family. She has noticed how her family has transformed since sharing verses and talking about God became a daily conversation! Kimberley and her family attend a local Catholic church and her favourite times at school are when they study the Bible.

Like many of the students at Belen, Kimberley is of Haitian heritage. She is blessed to be able to go to school, especially a Christian school under COCREF, because most children of Haitian immigrants are not considered citizens of the Dominican Republic, and therefore are not allowed to go to school. Her family makes a financial sacrifice to send her and her siblings to school, but the change that Christ-centred education has brought to Kimberley and her family is priceless!

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