Christian education in Africa
• Christian higher ed comes of age in Africa
• Building Africa’s future at LivingStone International University in Uganda
• Pondering development and dependency at African Christian College in Swaziland
If you grow up in Africa and are able to attend a college of any kind, you’re one of the lucky ones.
In the East African nation of Uganda, each year tens of thousands of academically qualified students are unable to enroll because of a lack of facilities, according to the founders of LivingStone International University
, which opened its doors to its first class on Jan. 16, 2012.
Here are a few snapshots of campus life:
Barbra Nandudu endured abuse from her stepmother and feared interactions with others before she came to LivingStone. “This university has reformed me completely,” she says. (PHOTO BY EMILY RENKEN)
LivingStone shares space with Messiah Theological Institute. The school’s partners have purchased 56 acres of land in Mbale and plan to build a permanent campus there.
Johnson Balye, a third-year Christian ministry major, acknowledges that he was a bit disappointed when he saw the campus. But he quickly gained a love for the small, close-knit family of faith. His sister attends a large university in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and has never met her university’s vice chancellor.
Bayle sits next to his at lunch.
David Ojera survived the terrors of the Lord’s Resistance Army before he enrolled at LivingStone. (PHOTO BY EMILY RENKEN)
At LivingStone, many students were orphaned at a young age. Some have overcome addiction or survived war.
David Ojera came to LivingStone from northern Uganda. His father had two wives and was killed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel force led by Joseph Kony that turned boys into gun-carrying killers. Ojera grew up hiding from the LRA and eventually moved to a refugee camp. There he sat outside a crowded classroom, trying to overhear as much of the lessons as possible. He persevered and now is a workstudy student at the university.
“I have learned what being an orphan is,” Ojera says. “I pray God will raise me purposely to stand for the needy.”
Zechariah Manyok Biar teaches “Life of Christ” at LivingStone. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)
Instructors at LivingStone bring real-world experience to their jobs — including battlefield experience.
Zechariah Manyok Biar served as a chaplain in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army during the decades-long conflict with his country’s predominantly Muslim north. Educated at Abilene Christian University, he worked as a government official for the new nation of South Sudan before moving to Uganda.
“He’s a professional,” says one of his students, Musa Wanyoni. “I have really been inspired by his testimony — the hardship he has gone through in South Sudan and his heart for Christ.”