Niger is a unique country among the nations of the world. According to the most recent United Nations Human Development Index, Niger is presently the world’s least developed nation. (The HDI computes a nation’s educational, health, economical, and political realities) In 2012, the BBC gave Niger the ominous title as the worst country in the world to be a mom since it is a place where 1 in 3 children are malnourished and 1 in 7 will not see their fifth birthday combined with the highest birth rate in the world (by a large margin) with an average of 7.16 babies per woman. The United States, in comparison has a mere average of 2.06 children per woman. In the light of the previous statistic, it may come as no shock that Niger is one of the youngest countries in the world with a mean age of 15.2 years of age.
ROCHE Niger is the ROCK equivalent in Niger and a fully-registered national NGO with the mandate to provide children development opportunities and simultaneously minister the love of Jesus. ROCHE means “rock” in French and is an acronym for Réleve [RELIEF] Opportunité [OPPORTUNITY] Compassion [COMPASSION] et Hospitalité [HOSPITALITY] pour les Enfants [CHILDREN]. Though all the words reflect the vision of the English counterpart (ROCK - Relief, Opportunity, and Care for Kids), we were left with “H” to deal with.
French is the official language in Niger In the end, the word “Hospitality” was chosen on the basis of a couple reasons. First, the opposite of hospitality in a etymology-sense of the word is hostility. Jesus clearly decreed for the little kids to “come” to Him. (Matthew 19:14) He welcomed them to Himself in a culture where children were often left out of social situations. We have not come to Niger to merely deal with children but to welcome them as honored guests. We see children not only as honored guests, but we as honored hosts to have the privilege of serving such members of society, for did Jesus not tell us that if we welcome a child in His name, we receive Him? (Mark 9:37)
Thus, the heartbeat of ROCHE Niger is to passionately show and share the love of Jesus Christ to this generation of youth.
Youth Development Center
The Youth Development Center (YDC) in Niger is designed to equip the youth of the nation to break out of the box of their reality and see the potential in their lives and nation—for time and eternity. Using the arts, education, and agriculture, the staff seek to teach and mold the building blocks of creativity and vision in such a way that youth not only come out of the program with skill, but with a different perspective on life.
Included in the facility are offices, classrooms, a recording studio, and the future preschool. The center is also used for an array of athletics, after-school tutoring, music lessons, literacy classes, and Bible studies. The top floor is reserved as a house of prayer where morning prayer meetings are held. An outdoor amphitheater on the premises easily seats more than two hundred children.
The facility is also used for weekly kids’ clubs and for summer day camps. Kids’ Club are where the children are taught chronologically through the Word of God, using KING of GLORY. These clubs allow relationships to be established throughout the village.
ROCHE PRESCHOOL (COMING FALL 2017)
With a desire to equip children for a life of change, there is no better place to start molding minds than from their early stages. With that in mind, ROCK International is facilitating the opening of a preschool which will focus on using various forms of learning in a bi-lingual academic context to prepare these kids to become change-agents in their culture and country.
The foundation of the preschool is to create a learning environment where every child discovers their intrinsic value as stated by their Creator, learns the stories of the Scriptures, and experiences the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.
Sports is another avenue by which we reach kids with Christ's love, help them develop their skills, and build character through life experiences.
Currently, ROCK International is involved in developing a boys soccer program and in assisting with the national swimming federation. Additionally, volunteers are involved in a local school’s Physical Education program as a means of supporting the local educational environment. Periodically, other sports opportunities are offered (such as volleyball).
You Can Be A Vital Part
Short Term Involvement
The heartbeat behind short-term teams and individuals is that they would clearly see the face of the Lord while they're here and that they build relationships with the people. That can come about in many different ways but the most important way would be through time spent in prayer before, during and after their time spent here. We want to see God give those on short term teams a love for the people in Niger before they even arrive in the country and that only comes through prayer. If those who come on a short term team truly see the face of the Lord while here then we know that the precious lives they come in contact with during their stay (and those they interact with back in their original nation) will also see the Lord and His life in them.
Short-term teams may be involved with the Youth Development Center (music, agriculture, the arts, or athletics) or, their time will be spent on the streets and in village ministering the love of Christ through relationship building. Regardless, the focus on any trip will be prayer. Weekly children’s clubs are a constant, but the bottom line is whenever their time is done in Niger, they will leave the people of Niger and the local team knowing they have encountered Jesus and will leave never being the same.
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Click below to contribute to ROCKids Niger Youth Develpment Center (YDC)