On October 18, Dakar Academy (DA) in Senegal celebrated its 50th year of providing a quality, primary and secondary education to the missionary kids (MKs), as well as to people of West Africa and beyond, with a formal ceremony held on the school’s soccer field. Representing the 26 nations in Africa, North, South and Central America, Asia and Europe from which they come, the school’s 250 students entered the field in national groups (like the Olympics), led by one holding a sign with their country’s name on it and another carrying its flag. After circling the field, they lined up in rows facing the audience, which included staff, family and friends, members of several of the 30 mission organizations the school serves and ambassadors and representatives from several nations. Director of DA, Joe Rosa, gave the keynote address, lauding DA’s history while stressing the importance of looking to the future.
Founded in 1961 by United World Mission and located on a six-acre campus in Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, DA is a K-12, college preparatory, co-educational boarding and day school primarily for missionary kids (MKs). However, it also offers a Christian education to the children of embassy, UN and business people in the country. It is the only boarding school program in Africa accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International, and currently boards over 40 MKs (beginning in grade six). DA is now one-third owned by United World Mission, the Assemblies of God and WorldVenture. Those from our mission serving there include: Jim and Ramona Adams, Darl and Jill Powell, Ken and Julie Vaughan, Cathy Lukon, Fran Morris and Bill and Nancy McComb.
Some of the countries from which the kids come do not allow Christian missionaries, yet they send some of their future leaders to be educated at DA. As an ambassador’s wife from one of those countries said after the ceremony, “I am so glad we are sending our children here. The teachers really love them.” Because of that, as well as the love of the Christian kids, some of these students are choosing to become believers. While DA provides vital support to the mission community throughout West Africa, with up to 30% of its student body non-missionary students, it is in a very real sense a mission field itself. As Hans Finzel puts it, “Not only does Dakar Academy facilitate missions by giving missionary parents a great option to educate their children while serving the Lord in West Africa, but many students at DA go on to become great leaders of influence in many disciplines back in their home countries. We are investing in future Christian leaders around the world by building into the lives of the youth at DA.”
In Senegal today—WorldVenture’s largest mission field—our missionaries report that exciting things are happening: churches are being started, national pastors are maturing and becoming leaders, and villages are changing. At the same time, some churches have been closed by the government and others have suffered attacks. Yet there is a degree of freedom there that is not present in many West African nations. Because of that, Senegal is strategic in reaching West and North Africa, and Dakar Academy and those who serve there are vital to this effort. May God bless every missionary working at DA, and may He grant the school another 50 years of impactful operation! To learn more, go to www.dakar-academy.org