In our rural area, most villages have primary schools (1st‐6th grades) but lack secondary schools (7th‐9th grades). This leaves a high rate of children out of school after they graduate 6th grade because of the distance and expense of transportation.
In 2013, we had high hopes that someday we might be able to purchase a boat to transport kids to school. So when Brent Deener asked founder Anne Richey during a fundraiser in Peoria, IL “What does it take to buy a boat?” we embarked on a path to bring this dream to reality.
With the funds generously donated by Brent and Kathy Deener, we purchased the “Eva DeAnn,” our first school boat and prepared to transport kids to school. When word got out on the river, we had an overwhelming groundswell of parents and children asking to be included. This led us to expand our program— we purchased our second school boat the “SS Jacobs” with funds donated by Jim and Jean Jacobs.
Only because we made transportation available free of cost, more than 80 children, half of them girls, from 9 rural villages were able to attend school.
Our most important priority now is to keep those buses running—because without a means to get to school, rural children can’t attend!