* The responsibility lies with the parents or guardians to go to the schools near their house and search for a school with space for their child. The schools here are very over-crowded with an average of 50-70 students per classroom so this is not always an easy task! Some of our boys live with aunts, uncles, or grandparents who are not able or willing to oversee the registration process so the responsibility then lies with us.
* Because most of our boys abandoned school in the past when they began living on the streets, the process of getting them back into school is even more complicated. We have to go speak to the directors personally and explain the role we, as a project, are playing in helping the boy reintegrate into his family and community. Often we have to pay a fine as well for the boy to be allowed back in the school.
* If the boy is starting at a different school then where he last studied, we have to go to the old school and request his grades. This usually takes a day or two so we have to return later to pick it up. With some of our boys, we have had to go to 3 or 4 different schools in his community before finding one with an opening in his grade.
* Many of our boys do not have proper documentation (birth certificate) or if they have it it is at a family members house 2 hours away. Without documentation its difficult to register a boy for school because we cannot prove his age. In these situations, we are usually able to get special permission from the director for the boy to start studying with the promise that we will organize his documents within a set period of time. Other boys have documentation but it's not accurate. For example, we have a 12 year old boy whose birth document says he is 16. We are trying to register him for grade 4 or 5 and having lots of trouble because of the age on his document.
At the end of the day, its worth all of the frustration of going from school to school because we firmly believe that education is an important aspect of our boys being successfully reintegrated into their families and communities. Without education, their are few hopes for a successful future. Without school, many of the boys would end up right back on the street.
Please be praying for our boys as they begin their new school year in the next week or so. After being on the street it is hard for them to discipline themselves to go to school and study. Pray for good teachers who will really invest in them. Pray for the boys to truly see the value of education and the impact it has on their future.