Malawi is a small country slightly inland from the east coast of Africa. Malawi was formerly a British colony known as Nyasaland. It is bounded on the east and south by Mozambique; on the west by Zambia and on the north by Tanzania.
Population : 13 million
Capital : Lilongwe
Father Stan Rozman SJ is the parish priest of St.Joseph’s, Kasungu.
Kasungu is a District in the central region of Malawi. The capital is Kasungu. The District covers an area of approximately 8,000 square kilometres.
From Kasungu District you can cross the border into Zambia and take the legendary “100 miles of rough road” to Lulangua National Park. If you survive the road, this is one of the great animal parks of southern Africa.
Kasungu town has a population of about 50,000. People in the District live on agriculture or trade. There is one hospital, 330 primary schools and a number of Secondary schools. There is increased demand for Basic Education. In five existing Primary Schools classes are crowded with up to 120 pupils in a class.
St.Joseph’s Parish project
The parishioners of the Jesuit run parish of St. Joseph in Kasungu, as well as the general public, had been asking for a quality Primary School for some time. The local community raised funds to purchase a disused building which had formerly been a school, and with funding from Misean Cara delivered through the Irish Jesuit Missions Office in Dublin, a renovated and refurbished facility was planned.
Reconstruction / refurbishment has now begun on 4 classrooms, 3 dormitories, an administration block and 7 staff houses which will provide facilities for teaching of 8 classes of Primary School in two streams for 640 pupils – boys and girls. Twenty five teachers will provide education under Jesuit guidance and supervision. A soccer field is included in the plan.
The parish has twelve other Primary Schools in the area. St. Joseph’s will be the thirteenth. There are plans to coordinate them and give them material and moral support.
The project will take six to eight months to complete, starting in September 2008.
The total cost of the project is €166,643 of which €123,274 will be funded by Misean Cara and the remainder will be provided by donations or by the parish through its own fundraising initiatives.
Care of the Orphan
Officially 12% of the population of Malawi is affected by HIV.
HIV infection is disproportionately female; 60% of adults living with HIV are young women. At the end of 2007 an estimated 91,000 children in Malawi were living with HIV and over half a million children had been orphaned by AIDS.
In the parish of St Joseph there are approximately 20,000 orphans; there is a programme in place which helps around 600 of them. The parish pays for their school fees, uniforms, learning materials and some food. Their caretakers and families are usually poor and depend on what they can grow themselves. At sowing time seeds and fertilizer is provided to them. This assures them of a living at least.
What the Local People did for themselves.
Local people are involved in the school project and contribute to the cost wherever possible. Christians donated 1000 bags of maize which was sold to raise funds for the purchase of the building. During reconstruction they will provide some bricks, stones, sand and do voluntary work. The project is supported and owned by the whole community. Many people are eager to become involved in either fundraising, voluntary or supplementary teaching or preparatory work.
The hope is to provide a Grant aided primary school which is supported by the parish and local community. Families will be asked to pay partial school fees, bursaries will be offered to children who are orphaned or less privileged. The Government welcomes and supports the school. In a letter of support it states that they will provide salaries for teachers, some limited repairs and school materials into the future. However the experience of the people is that this support is not regular with the exception of salaries.
The parish must rely on fundraising activities, the generosity of donors and their own resourcefullness which has been proven already in their ability to purchase the existing premises themselves.
If you would like to continue to fund services to the poor in this parish or in other places where the Irish Jesuit Mission Office serves, please send your contribution to:
Irish Jesuit Mission Office, 28 Upper Sherrard St. Dublin 1, Ireland.