One of the inherent dangers of exclusively working in poverty-stricken areas with materially challenged people is we can sometimes only measure success by the standard of how far we have come, instead of overall excellence. It is easy to allow progress to be the final goal and as long as we are moving forward we can become complacent about the level of progress and the future rate of growth in a particular community. That is the place where New Hope Initiative finds itself now in one of our largest projects, the Kibera New Hope Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya. The progress in this institution has been amazing. We replaced most of the dilapidated buildings, the student population has grown dramatically, we instituted a daily feeding program, the staff has been enlarged, and we have seen a 400% increase in the number of our students who annually pass the secondary school entrance exam. The blessings in Kibera are astounding and we are continually thankful for what we have achieved together with our passionate partners.
However, the future in Kibera is not without its challenges. Will we settle merely for dramatic progress? Or are we going to continue to strive for even greater excellence? You can easily excuse complacency by saying, "it is a slum school and we can only do so much," but we are convicted and convinced that our ultimate goal must be more than progress and nothing short of excellence. We are in the process of evaluating our educational ministry in Kibera. We should have no less expectations for Kibera, because it is a slum school, than we would for any other educational institution in the world.
The past successes have been amazing, but we cannot grow complacent. There is still plenty of room for progress at Kibera New Hope Primary School. The classrooms are too crowded, staff/student ratios are too large, the new facilities deteriorate too rapidly, and 40% of our students per year do not pass the critical secondary school entrance exam.
Our goal is not progress only. We are driven for the sake of the children of Kibera to see New Hope Primary School become a model school. We ask that you would pray with us, and offer any advice or expertise that you might have in this coming challenge. Change is never easy. We desire to change the cultural mindset of an entire community and we are absolutely convinced that we can and will achieve the goals we have set. We will not settle for the subtle trap of being satisfied with progress. We are committed to strive for nothing less than absolute excellence.