SPECIAL MEETING: AUGUST 13, 7pm
On Monday, August 13 at 7pm, Rev Dr Eli Rop, the founder of Sauti Ya Rehema Radio & TV Network (SAYARE) will be speaking at Lamont Community Church, 14000 48th Avenue, Coopersville. SAYARE is an interdenominational Christian broadcasting network that brings Christian programming to millions through the use of television and radio in multiple languages and various indigenous heart languages.
Although there may be many titles preceding the name of Eli Rop, it is compassion that drives him for bringing the Word of God to the multitude of lost souls across Africa through media. That same compassion is what led him to establish a girls school in the heart of the Rift Valley where he also pastors a church with several branches. The girls school allows girls an opportunity for an education outside of the influence of the regional culture of village living. The predominant culture of the region is that of polygamy and girls are often given or sold (a dowry price of a cow) at the age of 13 into polygamist marriage. Girls staying at the school are able to pursue an education that will enable them to escape the ‘plight of the girl child.’ The girls reside on the school property throughout the school year.
The plight of the ‘girl child’ is varied: polygamy, early marriage, harsh living conditions and lack of social development are only a few of the challenges they face. It was these challenges that Donna Terpstra, co-founder of GROWTH Ministries, brought to the attention of the community women’s group that meets locally. “My heart has been for women to realize that we all have a call upon our lives to serve those less fortunate. You don’t need to be a missionary with a passport to make a difference. Jesus gave us all a mission to win souls – that makes us all missionaries and together, we can make a difference!” And so, the challenge began to make a difference in the lives of the girls at Kapsigilai Girls School, in Chemase, Kenya.
In December 2011 the women attending GROWTH Ministries collected funds to pay school fees for girls at the school. Bringing the harsh reality of African living to the attention of the women at GROWTH prompted their current project of making washable menstrual cloths. Terpstra shared with them that the women there do not have underwear or hygiene products. The natural process of menstruation comes as a big problem to women and girls in many parts of the world. In order to stem the flow of monthly periods, the women and girls use anything from rags, tree leaves, old clothes, toilet paper, newspapers, cotton wool, cloths or literally anything that can do the job. Most girls from poor, rural communities do not use anything at all. To assist in this challenge, the women of GROWTH have developed a sewing project that makes washable hygiene products for the girls at the school.
To state it bluntly, menstruation has become like a curse not only to the women and girls but also to society in general. Because menstruation is largely a private act, the social damage is hidden and never makes the news headlines. Also, there are cultural and social attitudes that render discussion of menstruation almost impossible.
Hygiene products are either unavailable or unaffordable to most marginalized females. Young girls are forced to skip school during the time they experience monthly periods to avoid both the cost of pads or use of cloths. UNICEF estimates that one in 10 school-age African girls either skips school during menstruation or drops out entirely because of lack of sanitation.
A girl absent from school due to menstruation for 4 days in 28 days (a month) loses 13 learning days, equivalent to 2 weeks of learning in every school term. It is estimated that within the 4 years of high school the same girl loses 156 learning days, equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of learning in high school. The bottom line is no girl should be penalized for the natural process of menstruation.
Donna and her husband Jon Terpstra are the founders of TerpstrasInAfrica, (TIA) a non-profit 501c3 ministry that brings humanitarian assistance and teaching to countries in Africa. GROWTH (God Revealing Our Ways Through Him) is a part of the local ministry of TIA. Donna has traveled to Kenya to work alongside Rop by speaking in local churches, the girls school and filming programs to broadcast on Sayare Television. Eli Rop is visiting the US to bring awareness to the Sayare media network and also to meet the women at GROWTH who have been helping to support the girls at the school he founded in Kenya.
For more information about GROWTH Ministries or TerpstrasInAfrica, visit their websites:
For more information on this event, contact Donna Terpstra 616-262-3862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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