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Augustinians in Kenya to open a new school with capacity for 700 students



A new project jointly financed by the Italian Bishops’ Conference, the St Augustine Foundation of California and the Augustinian Province of Ireland, will give up to 700 boys and girls access to a quality primary and secondary level education, for no charge


Fr Edward Daleng, General Councillor for Africa, went to Nyamasaria, in the county of Kisumu, Kenya - where the school will be built. He was joined on the trip by Maurizio Misitano, director of the Augustinians for the World Foundation, who pointed out some of the special challenges such an endeavour brings, adding "It is important to note that Kisumu is a very poor rural area, where the families have very few resources",


Fr Daleng reported moreover that, “This is a very special project. We want girls to have the opportunity to get a full education, something that is unfortunately rare in Africa." He continued, "The aim of the Augustinians will be to always serve the needs of the people. We want to bring an end to educational discrimination and help to create an environment of mutual equality and respect". But not just for girls. He noted that at least 5% of the students will have identified special needs.


Building work is scheduled to begin in July.


About Nyamasaria, the location of the school


Augustinian Friars have been serving in the parish of St Monica of Nyamasaria, in the Archdiocese of Kisumu, since 2006. In this poor part of Kenya, according to information provided by the Augustinians for the World Foundation, the social situation is further exacerbated by high rates of delinquency, pregnancies and early marriages, and HIV/AIDS infections.


At present, in Kisumu County there are around 675,000 children. According to the Government-funded Kenya Inter-Agency Rapid Assessment organisation, almost half (46%) live below the poverty line, and even more (48%) have to work to survive.


Fewer than six out of 10 pupils (58%) enrolled in the first year of primary school stay the course; and only one in eight children (13%) currently attend secondary school. Educational deficiencies at these key stages of children's development is, according to the project report provided by the Foundation, one of the limiting causes of "the social, economic and psychological fulfilment of pupils throughout their lives". Meanwhile, dropout and child exploitation rates continue to rise steadily.


At present, there are 35 Augustinian friars Kenya, plus four students in formation who have recently graduated in Theology. In addition to their existing responsibilities, these friars will have to develop, supervise and watch over the proper functioning of this new educational centre, which, as Fr Daleng hopes, “...will help to better sustain the wider community, foster good will, and contribute to the ongoing work of God".

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