Senior Psychology Student Seeks to Provide Tanzanian Children with Education

Andrew Johannson changes lives of hundreds in Tanzania

May. 24, 2011 By Adrienne Nunley

Senior and psychology major Andrew Johansson ended up changing the lives of hundreds of youth in Tanzania while on a family trip in the summer of 2010.  

Johansson was gripped by the lives of the Tanzanian youth. Many of the children are orphans or semi-orphans (children whose parents cannot take care of them), and they have poor living conditions nor can afford schooling.

It was Johansson’s father, Paul, the lead pastor at Central Lutheran Church in Elk River, Minn., who desired to expose his family to the same cultural familiarity he experienced in his youth where he was raised and his parents had been missionaries.

His family returned to Elk River, but Johansson decided to stay behind to learn more about the youth of Tanzania. He was able to make arrangements to stay in the country for another five weeks.  During his time there, he conversed with 384 Tanzanian children, all of whom had one major thing in common: they all needed an education, but they could not afford it.

Witnessing the depravity and dreams of these youth, Johansson was moved to help jump-start a sponsorship program for the youth of Tanzania. The project is a sponsorship between Johansson’s home church and the Southern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. When someone sponsors a child through Central Lutheran Church in Elk River, Minn., the sponsored child will be provided education, school uniforms, supplies and food.

Financial support began in January 2011, and, as of May 2011, 260 of the 384 youth that were originally interviewed are now being sponsored.  

Since the start of the program, Johansson said there haven’t been any challenges with the program specifically, but he said that his personal walk with God has been impacted.  He admitted to being more on the shy side and said that through this whole experience, God has stretched him to actually talk about the program.

“My time at Biola has influenced my involvement with the program because God has given me a heart to want to help others,” Johansson said. “When I came to school at Biola, my relationship with God was not right, and I have since become much closer in my walk with God.”

Once Johansson returned from Tanzania to continue his time at Biola, two women from his congregation took over the project.  

For more information about the program or to sponsor a child, go to http://clcelkriver.org/.
 
Written by Adrienne Nunley. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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