Connecting students in Chad and Pennsylvania

LMS students expand their worldview through MCC school kits

group of students and teacher in Chad

While students from Lancaster Mennonite (LM) School were packing MCC school kits during World Changer Week in March, Rebecca Burkholder, MCC U.S. director of International Program, was visiting schools in Chad that would receive school kits  

“I visited three schools in the North Kanem area, which is in the Sahel region, near the Sahara Desert,” Burkholder said. “The children walk to school. Some may come by donkey or even camel.”

The students were very engaged in their education, said Burkholder, who had come to Chad to see MCC’s projects and to support and encourage MCC’s staff and partners. “When we visited one school, they ran to the blackboard to show us some of the things they were learning. They were having an English lesson, so they were reciting a poem, and they were reading off the blackboard.” 

group of students in Chad
These children attend a school run by MCC partner Association for the Promotion of Education (APE) in North Kanem, Chad. (MCC photo/Wawa Chege)

While she was there, she corresponded with her friend Sheri Wenger, who is a teacher at LM, a PreK-12 school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Wenger recognized the opportunity and told students what she learned from Burkholder about life in Chad and the positive impact the school kits have on other kids around the world.

The school kits, which include a drawstring bag, paper notebooks, pencils, pencil sharpener, pens, ruler, eraser and colored pencils, are important because these educational supplies are hard to find in Chad, and they are too expensive for parents to purchase locally, Burkholder said. Except for the blackboard and chalk, the school rooms she saw lacked basic supplies.

Three students and two teachers gather around a table with supplies for school kits.
Lancaster Mennonite (LM) School teachers and students work together to get supplies ready to pack in MCC school kits. (Photo courtesy of LM)

Lancaster Mennonite students in first, second, third and fifth grades helped pack the school supplies in cloth drawstring bags, which are commonly reused as backpacks. The youngest students were assisted by 11th grade buddies. Seventh and ninth graders went off campus to the MCC East Coast Material Resources Center in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, to pack kits and assist with recycling. More than 450 school kits were assembled.

youth packing school supplies in bags
LM School students pack MCC school kits as part of a service activity during the school's World Changer week. (Photo courtesy of LM)


The students participate in acts of service for the community throughout World Changers week. Serving is part of the school’s core values of seeking Jesus wholeheartedly and living compassionately, said Aubrey Kreider, LM director of Marketing and Communications. “It teaches students a Christ-centered, holistic way to serve others like Jesus.”

Are you up for the challenge?

The School Kit Challenge is coming! keep reading...
The School Kit Challenge is coming!
It is a meaningful and fun activity for everyone, whether it's with your family, a group of friends or with Sunday school and VBS students.

Burkholder says the connection between students in the two countries is valuable.

“When students, like the ones at Lancaster Mennonite, volunteer to pack kits, it’s a connection to other children in the world. They are supporting children and families who don’t have access to some of the things that we have access to. Children in other places will be told these things are coming from other people and children who care about them. The children are expanding each other’s worldview.”

If your family, church, Sunday School or VBS group would like to help kids around the world receive the gift of school supplies, join the School Kit Challenge. This summer, we’re collecting 24,000 school kits to help 24,000 kids get an education. Read more about the School Kit Challenge and learn what goes into a school kit.