Lindi and Amari — Equipping Disadvantaged Children to Hope for a Positive Future
Two ministries located in different parts of the world: one in the Kibera Slum in Nairobi and the other in the Amari Refugee Camp in Palestine, serve the children of the poorest of the poor. Both ministries, Lindi Friends Nursery and Primary School in Nairobi and the Amari Play Center in Palestine, create an environment of love and safety that provides a place for healthy childhood play and learning in the midst of extreme urban challenges. Out of the despair of poverty and oppression, children in both places are rising up with hope for their future and with an experience of deep self-worth gained through the ministries of Friends’ education.
Amari Refugee Camp, on the outskirts of El Bireh in the Palestinian Territories, is grossly overcrowded with third and fourth generation Palestinian refugees who have no property rights and little opportunity to earn a living. They continue to be completely dependent on the United Nations for their daily needs, 66 years after they fled their homes. The seeming hopelessness of the refugees’ situation fuels violence and political radicalism. Yet each day, several dozen 5-year-old refugees arrive at the tiny Play Center (analogous to a preschool) and greet their teachers with a hug. Each day, these children receive a nutritious meal, thanks to the United Society of Friends Women International. Each day, they sing and play and learn and laugh. Each day, they are touched by God’s grace and filled with hope for themselves and their community. Each year, a new group of five-year-olds joins the school while a group of six-year-old graduates proceed to primary school emboldened with the life-changing knowledge of God’s love for them individually and as a vital member of the community.
In Nairobi, Kibera Slum is notorious for its crime, squalor, poverty, raw sewage, unhealthy living conditions and, surprisingly, for its creativity and vibrancy. Within the slum, communities assert the dignity of their humanity even under such inhumane living conditions. Lindi Friends Nursery and Primary School is staffed and administered by slum dwellers, for the sake of their children and their community. Lindi Friends believe in the persistence of life and hope, and instill those values in the students every day. Lindi graduates go on to strong academic achievement in high school, and to vocations that will allow them to raise their families out of poverty. Lindi is known as an oasis of hope within the Kibera Slum.
Each ministry provides a daily dose of God’s love and peace to thousands of the poorest of children. As the children are embraced by the very testimonies of love and peace, they are strengthened to reach toward a better future and are equipped to know they are beloved by God.