For nearly 10 years, Derry Presbyterian Church in Hershey, PA, has supported educational needs in Pakistan through scholarships and building fund campaigns. In November 2019, a group of 12 traveled from Derry to Pakistan to witness first-hand the ministry of the Presbyterian Education Board of Pakistan (PEB).
Beginning in the 1860s, Presbyterian missionaries were involved in educating Christian and Muslim children in Pakistan. Today, PEB has a critical ongoing need for adequate classroom space for the students who want the quality education provided under the PEB umbrella. Classroom space is especially needed for boys, who often are educated by the Taliban after fifth grade, when boys and girls must be separated by Muslim law.
The Derry travelers visited one of PEB’s boys’ secondary schools in Sargodha to learn how these schools transform the boys’ lives, the community and the nation. Veda Gill, executive director of PEB in Pakistan, said, “The school is open to children of all faiths and it seeks to build bridges between the different communities. Christian children from humble backgrounds who would not be able to afford an education in a good school are given the opportunity to receive a good quality education at an affordable price, preparing them for a better future.”
Currently, the school has one completed new wing. Over the years, the school has gained a reputation for providing a quality education at an affordable price. This means that more and more children want to attend, but there is not room.
Before leaving Pakistan, the group reviewed building plans for another new wing and was challenged to fund the second wing of the Sargodha Boys’ School. “The new wing will allow the school to take in more students,” Veda explained, “giving more families the opportunity to receive a good quality education at an affordable price.”
Upon their return, the group from Derry evaluated the proposal and unanimously and enthusiastically decided this was a challenge Derry should meet together. So far, Derry has pledged $400,000 towards a needed $475,000 to build the new wing of the school in Sargodha.
Presbyterians understand the power of education to change the world. Education has always been a pillar of Presbyterian worship and mission. Building a new wing of the school in Sargodha is an opportunity to make a lasting and life-changing difference for children and communities in Pakistan that has the potential to spread around the world.
Derry Presbyterian Church has chosen to partner with this mission as part of its larger goal to proclaim God’s word, share God’s love and practice God’s justice. Derry invites other congregations and individuals to partner with PEB and them to provide the gift of a great education for Christian and Muslim boys and young men in Pakistan. If you are interested in learning more, contact Debbie Hough at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker at email@example.com.
On a related note, the “Friends of Presbyterian Education Board, Pakistan,” which provides educational opportunities to the poorest children in Pakistan’s Punjab region, is in the middle of a scholarship campaign. A Scholarship Shares Proposal has been created that congregations and presbyteries may be interested in. More information is available by clicking here.