On Monday, August 24, the wall at Sahel Academy that held out the floodwaters of the Niger River broke and water poured into the campus completely flooding it, as well as that of a neighboring Bible school. Located in Niamey, Niger, West Africa, these campuses were more than schools – they were home to 16 missionary families, 11 of whom were staff members at the school, as well as many more Bible School and university students. The suffering extends beyond the school to its neighbors who have lost their homes and to those who tend their gardens just outside the school’s walls along the river’s edge. They have lost their sole source of income.
Since a very similar flood occurred in 2012, flooding has been an annual concern. At that time, SIM, the owner of the school, invested in building berms to protect both campuses from future floods. Last year, the wall barely held despite record-high waters. This year, God wrote a different story for those serving at Sahel Academy.
Thankfully, prior to the breaking of the wall, the staff had six hours in which they were able to work to together to put school materials as high as possible. Recovery efforts began almost immediately. In the two weeks following the school’s flooding, teams of individuals waded and boated in to the murky, contaminated waters in order to recover school materials, furniture and vehicles as well as personal belongings from the homes of those living on campus.
Sahel Academy planned on a September 1 start date. With the entire campus under water, the start of school has been postponed until a new site can be found and prepared for students. It is no small task to find something suitable for a school of 140 students.
Niger is home to many resilient people, including missionaries who desire to see the gospel take root in the hearts of Nigeriens. They are living in one of the world’s hottest and least developed countries, surrounded by the threat of terrorism from Islamic groups, yet holding to the hope that the country remains safe enough for them to continue to work and share the good news of salvation through Jesus. Our TeachBeyond members teach the children of these missionaries along with many others. This school is vital to the spreading of the gospel in Niger and surrounding countries.
Your prayers are coveted. Pray for the strength and the health of the people who have worked and waded into the water to recover materials that could still be salvaged from the school. Pray for the staff and students who are grieving the loss of their campus. Pray for God’s provision of a suitable site for relocation and the ongoing financial provision for this unexpected cost. Pray for those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by the floods. Pray that God would make Sahel Academy a light in this difficult time.
Donations are also needed to help Sahel Academy in their relocation and rebuilding efforts as they seek to begin the school year as soon as possible. Your gift can help Sahel Academy continue its ministry of transformational education in the weeks, months, and years to come.