The Mission House Academy exists to provide otherwise unobtainable education in poor communities. It offers courses that equip people with the basic skills to live their lives as well as earn a living.
Apart from giving people the opportunity for a more complete education, there is another important reason that The Mission House Academy has come into existence and that is to provide local (i.e. Malagasy) leadership for The Mission House.
We have ambitious plans for engagement in community development and that requires people who speak the language and are totally familiar with the culture, i.e. local people.
The vision of The Mission House is to change lives through the transformation of individuals and communities.
As well as past, present and future community enhancement projects, one of our key strategies to achieve this transformation is through the provision of education.
As well as technical and academic skills, education should also equip a person with life skills. These teach a person who and what they are and equip them with the understanding to move forward with their lives.
The commitment to establish the Academy was made in early 2009 and under the supervision of the Principal, two core courses were prepared that form the foundation of the Academy’s curriculum.
The courses then had to be translated from English into Malagasy, staff recruited and if necessary re-located, premises acquired and the courses marketed.
Staff training took place from January to end of February 2010 and on March 1st the doors were opened to our first class of 31 students.
The foundation course is the Life Skills Course. It is open to anyone, but is aimed at young adults and apart from a small charge for a workbook, the course is offered free of charge.
The emphasis is on attitude. Students have to be eager to learn and grow to be a new person but even though students know that The Mission House is Christian, the lectures are kept secular.
The Life Skills Course
We have some amazing testimonies from students about their lives changing for the better but perhaps the best endorsement comes from a local company. One of their staff did our Life Skills course and because of the changes seen in the individual, the owner of the Company asked us to provide the Life Skills course for the rest of his staff.
The course is forty hours over one month and as well as the classroom content includes service to the community as part of a Mission House project.
It leads students through a process of examining their personal world and includes Vision and Goal Setting, Worldview, Healing of the Past, Volunteering/Community Involvement, Leadership, Relationships, Finances, Job Preparation Skills, Motivation/Self Esteem, African Renaissance, Personal Health, HIV/AIDS, Conflict Resolution, and Personal Development/Self Leadership.
Life Skills for Community Development Course
The follow on from Life Skills is the 12 week Leadership for Community Development course. It is promoted during the last week of Life Skills and interested students may apply for admission.
Acceptance is by invitation only and successful students must be able to fully fund or partially fund themselves for the twelve week duration. This presents a real challenge to people earning a dollar a day or less, and we welcome sponsorship to cover the costs of students who cannot find the funds to attend.
The course content is very similar to Life Skills but includes reference to scriptures where appropriate and most of the students who have been through the course have come to faith at some time during the course.
After the initial six week residential period, students rotate through projects, assist on the Life Skills course and go into new areas and villages to promote the Life Skills course. Thus the whole process is self replicating. The last week (week 12) is residential and is for reporting and reviewing. This is the time when anyone wishing to continue with The Mission House as a full time volunteer makes the commitment. Again this is by invitation only.
The goal is for a self sustaining institution on its own property with revenue from an on-site social enterprise and chargeable courses.
Some of the chargeable courses will be:
- English Language Training.
- Computer Training in a fully equipped computer laboratory.
- Business Management Training.
- Micro Enterprise Initiatives.
- Metal and Woodworking Skills Training.
- Small Scale Agricultural Production.
- Poultry Production.