I am the Revd Sister Veronica CSC and the Provincial Sister of the Community of the Sisters of the Church in the Solomon Islands. I am the only ordained female in the Anglican Church of Melanesia, because I received my training and was ordained in UK before coming home.
Last year (2017), I returned to my home country to take up the role of Provincial Sister. Sometime later, I was asked by some local mothers living near our Community to start a school for their children. There is no school for these children and the nearest is not safe for the little ones, because the road is very busy with logging trucks carrying logs and making it too dangerous and dusty.
As I reflected on what this school should look like, I realised that we needed teachers first. Fortunately Br Samson SSF was looking for a school in which to teach. I asked him to do the teaching for me with the help of our two Novitiate members, Jacqueline and Brenda. So Mother Emily’s Kindergarten School was started in the kitchen with 30 children and the number grew in June 2017. By August, we needed more space and another area was built on the ground floor of our house, which was blessed in January 2018. This year, we have Br Samson and Sr Neslyn teaching full time. We see this as a vital part of our mission. The teachers are not paid.
If this school had not started, these children would be treated as child labour. They would carry on helping their parents to harvest coconuts and cocoa, because they live in the plantation, which has been left unattended after the ethnic tension we had in the Solomon Islands from 2000 – 2003. The children would not have a good future. However, there is a brighter future for them now and I am very pleased to see them enjoying their school and having a space to learn like any other children.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, because the kingdom of God belongs to them” (Matthew 19:14). Most of the children come to our Sunday School and they encourage their parents, but especially their mothers, to come to Church. It is really amazing that children encourage the adults to come to Church. From time to time, we have baptism services as well.