Inclusivity is one of the core 'Accompaniment Values' that shape our companion synod relationship with the Iringa Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. It requires self-reflection and honesty about our communities, our relationships, and the work that we do. It asks us to intentionally look to see who is absent, identify the reasons why, and to commit to changing community structures and habits that exclude people without any deliberate intention.
As Dr. David Klevan explains below, this type of critical self-reflection led the BKB Scholarship and Education group to expand our efforts to include secondary students from non-partnered Iringa Diocese congregations.
The Iringa Diocese has 38 congregations that lack a paired congregation in the Saint Paul Area Synod. As a result, the young people in those 38 congregations did not have access to scholarships for secondary school. In response, the Iringa Committee has created the 'Scholarship Equity Fund' to provide scholarships for them. In 2017, the equity fund was able to offer One Million TZ Shillings (approximately $500) to each of those congregations.
We would like to offer more.
Please consider including the equity fund in your 2018 scholarship pledges this November. Already we are seeing differences. On visits to secondary schools to meet sponsored students we are starting to encounter more and more students from across the diocese like those pictured above... The waste of a young mind is a terrible thing and more equitable support for education provides a wonderful opportunity for all.
Wondering how to generate support? One congregation increased their BKB scholarship funding by 5% and asked their Iringa Diocese partner congregation to also contribute 5% to provide funds for the BKB equity fund and post-secondary scholarships. Others have used accrued balances in their scholarship accounts to make targeted gifts at the end of academic year. Individuals and other groups are welcome to contribute directly to it as well.
Dr. David Klevan
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Saint Paul
On behalf of the BKB Scholarship & Education Committee