Students and teachers at Mvindeni Primary School on the southeast coast of Kenya were dealing with overcrowded conditions, flooded classrooms, insufficient latrines and few reading materials — until The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came forward to help.
The school’s head teacher Matano Yusuf explained the challenges.
“Our students were sitting on the floor. They lacked scriptures to study during religious lessons. They lacked sufficient latrines. Their classes were flooded,” he said. “It was even hard to train the younger ones to write since it was hard to do so from the floor.”
Hassan Suleiman, the area chief of Mvindeni Location, Kwale County, says Yusaf approached him with a request for more desks, but he didn’t know where they would be able to get them.
“When the head teacher reached out to me and requested desks, I boldly told him that we would have desks. This was purely by faith since I had no idea where we would get such a great number of desks,” Suleiman said. “Then out of nowhere, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered 100 desks.”
Not only did the Church deliver the desks, they also donated five remodeled classrooms, 20 newly built pit latrines, new showers, 100 Bibles and 100 copies of the Quran to the school, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
The student population of 1,700 is half Christian and half Muslim. The scriptures will be used by the students in their religious curriculum, and the remodeled classrooms will help ease overcrowding.
The Church’s Mombasa Kenya District President Alex Maina said he appreciates the level of religious tolerance in the community.
“We acknowledge both Christians and Muslims and we are so grateful to be here,” he said. “Apart from students having their lessons, it’s a government directive and a patriotic duty for these classes to be used as voting centers, hence students, the community, and the country will benefit from this project.”
On the day of the official donation, parents expressed their gratitude to the Church. Denis M. Mukasa, the Church’s self-reliance manager for the region, told them that the funds for the project came from donations made by Church members.
“We follow the counsel in Matthew 22:39 — to love your neighbor as yourself,” he said. “That’s the foundation of our work, to spread the love of God as much as we are from diverse backgrounds.”
Said Yusuf that day: “I promise next time you come, the school performance will be better. We really appreciate your help. It’s God who sent you here.”