25 SepKEEPING BUSY WITH LJSS
KEEPING BUSY WITH LJSS
There is never a dull moment in the lives of those of us currently involved with Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) in Kasungu, Malawi!
That’s because we recognise how important education is for the present and future development of this beautiful country of Malawi, so aptly nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa”! We want to be sure that LJSS is ready for enrolment in Form One (Grade Nine) of 144 young women and men in September 2015. As they come into our “grant-aided” school (because the Government of Malawi pays teachers, the fees are more accessible) as boarders, our new students will experience the best that the Jesuit tradition of educational excellence can provide.
Three members of the Zambia-Malawi Province of the Society of Jesus are currently assigned to the task of getting LJSS up and running as a premier secondary school in Malawi. We want our school to be top-rate, and really an “option for the poor” – located in a country where less than 35% of the youth attend secondary school, less than 30% of the girls.
How do we keep busy these days?
Educational planning is in the hands of our Head Teacher (sometimes called “Principal” in other places), Fr. Simon Makuru, S.J. Simon is a Malawian Jesuit priest, with good experience in educational oversight.
Blackboard in empty classroom, soon to be filled with equations, verses, new words, book references, etc., for our eager LJSS “learners” (a meaningful word used in Malawi for secondary school “students”).
Details he must pay attention to range from assuring a good supply of teachers will be ready, making sure that students’ text books are available and good reference books are in the library, checking on the right designs for uniforms our students will wear, and keeping close liaison with the Ministry of Education of the Government of Malawi.
Construction oversight is handled by Fr. Alojz Podgrajsek, S.J., the Project Manager for LJSS. After over thirty years in Zambia (originally from Slovenia), Alojz has been in Malawi for the past six years, involved in the initial planning for the school and in the oversight of construction.
Some final touches being put by workers on exterior grounds of one of the girls’ hostels. Most of the construction crew comes from the local community – people “earn and learn” from LJSS works!
His keen eye on numerous details and his close cooperation with architect, contractor, builders and suppliers has assured an educational institution that really excites visitors as well as prospective students. Phase One construction is drawing to a close by the end of 2014, and Alojz is already looking at the plans for Phase Two to begin in early 2015.
Fundraising for this huge project keeps Fr. Pete Henriot, S.J., occupied as Director of Development – and he says it is no “fun-raising”! He came to Zambia in 1989 from the USA and then moved to Malawi in 2011 to be part of the LJSS founding team.
Generous donors helped put up two floors of our LJSS Administration Block, with reception area, offices for Head Teacher, offices for teachers and staff, conference rooms and storage spaces.
Personal contacts with donors in Malawi and around the world, project proposals to church groups and foundations, donors’ letters of request and thanks, and up-dating social media keep Pete moving. The generosity large and small of benefactors really encourages him.
If any readers of this blog would like further information about Loyola Jesuit Secondary School, please don’t hesitate to contact our busy team!
Simon Makuru, S.J. Head Teacher firstname.lastname@example.org
Alojz Podrajsek, S.J. Project Manager email@example.com
Peter Henriot, S.J. Director of Development firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 499, Kasungu, Malawi P.O. Box 1530, Lilongwe, Malawi
[24 September 2014]