The Tablet

Let’s hear it for girl power ~ May 2012

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Nyasa Times

Malawi Catholic Church embarks on ambitious K2.1b school project ~ September 2012

In its efforts to contribute towards the improvement of education, the Catholic Church in Malawi has embarked on an ambitious K2.1 billion secondary school project.

The modern school will be constructed in Kasungu District and the ground breaking ceremony took place Friday.

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National Catholic Reporter

Fostering Education in Rural Malawi ~ April 2012

For many American teenagers, doing chores after school is normal —there’s a bathroom to clean, garbage to take out, or a lawn to cut. But for teenagers in the landlocked African nation of Malawi there’s a whole different sort of workload, says Jesuit Fr. Peter Henriot. In rural areas of the country, young men coming home from school might be expected to tend cattle or work the fields. Young women might have to pump water from the neighborhood well or collect firewood to cook the evening meal.

That’s one of the reasons why Henriot, an American who has served in Africa for the past 22 years, says he and other members of his community have decided to open a Jesuit high school in Kasungu, a rural town in central Malawi where simple houses of brick and thatched roofs dot an open landscape.

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Community Advocate

Hudson kids’ pencil drive helps Malawi kids go to school ~ May 2012

Who could imagine that something as simple and as small as a pencil could prevent a child from attending school? Yet in Malawi, in Africa, a student cannot attend classes unless he or she has a pencil.

Malawi is among the world’s poorest, least developed and most populated countries. Free education is provided only to those in primary school. However, the number of students significantly drops off after these first years for many reasons. Only 35 percent of children attend secondary school and only 44 percent of those reach graduation.

One of the barriers to a student continuing with their education is that they need a pencil. In a country where a family brings home only a few dollars a day, owning this simple writing implement can be a luxury.

A few years ago, Sister Gladys Marhefka, a Sister of Charity and chair of the Grey Nuns Ecology, Justice and Peace Committee in Lexington, raised this need for pencils at a meeting of area directors of religious education.

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National Jesuit News

Jesuit Encounters ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ through Educational Efforts in Malawi ~ October 2011

Serving in Zambia on sabbatical in 1989 had a life-changing affect on Jesuit Father Peter Henriot. “Working in a village development project with local people and doing simple tasks did almost more for my education than all the other learning I gathered while studying and working in the United States. And at the end of that year, the people there gave me the best gift – the desire to stay.”

And for the next 21 years that’s exactly what Fr. Henriot was able to do, having joined the Zambia-Malawi Province (transferring from the Oregon Province) while working with the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Zambia after having spent the previous 16 years with Center of Concern in Washington, D.C.  And, then in 2010, he was assigned to another purpose – to help establish Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) in Malawi.

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EcoJesuit

Sustainability in a new Jesuit School in Malawi ~ June 2012

Sustainability – in both its material and ethical dimensions – is especially concerned with the future.  And who should be more concerned about the future than the youth – the young women and men of today who are the hope of the future?  That is why education, in whatever form it takes today, should have special focus on issues of sustainability.

That is the guiding principle that lies behind the Zambia-Malawi Jesuit Province’s commitment to make its new school in Malawi a “green institution” in so many different ways.  When Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) opens in another year or so, we hope it will be noted for a serious commitment to ecological sustainability in construction, maintenance and curriculum.

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What does Rio+20 mean to me? ~ June 2012

As I type this short note, I’m shivering in the “unseasonable” cold weather of early June here in Lilongwe, Malawi.  Winter isn’t supposed to come until July here!  And I’m recalling that the rains, so important for our maize crops, didn’t start as usual in late October last year, but only in early December.  And then the “unseasonable” rainy weather stopped and started again, then stopped and started again, worrying farmers and all of us here.

Yes, “unseasonable” seems to be the best way to describe our Malawian weather – and the weather of so much of southern Africa these days.  It’s caused, we are told, by “climate change” and if it keeps up, we are in for even greater problems.  So what does that mean for me, a Jesuit originally from the USA who has lived in Zambia and Malawi for over two decades?

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Northwest Jesuits

Peter Henriot, SJ, writes from Malawi ~ July 2012

Very chilly here in Malawi – winter has arrived early in June to the “Warm Heart of Africa” –
yet another sign of the reality of climate change for us here in southern Africa!

I have returned to home base here in Lilongwe, after two months of “fund-raising tour” in Europe and North America – no “FUN-raising,” that’s for sure! But it was good to touch base in Northwest over Holy Week and Easter Week, staying with the Bellarmine community. I especially enjoyed helping with the services with Gene Delmore at St. Rita’s – really a prayerful and joyful community!

Rome, London and Dublin came before Tacoma, then Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Chicago, Toronto, Washington DC and New York. Tapping into my brother’s United Frequent Flyer rewards really helped!

The “tour” gave me a chance to share widely about the Zambia-Malawi Province’s “option for the poor” school here in Malawi.

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Wisconsin Province

Jesuit Ministry Spotlight: Loyola Jesuit Secondary School

Yes, it is true that many of the people of this African country struggle to get by on the equivalent of $1 a day, only about a third of Malawi youth have a chance to attend secondary school, and the nation ranks in the bottom 10 percent of countries on the United Nations Human Development Index (measuring basics like life expectancy, literacy and access to food).

Yet the people in this country are working hard to change such conditions. While Malawi is rich in natural resources of the kind that typically come to mind, such as land, water, agriculture, fish and timber, it is perhaps most rich in terms of its people, says Fr. Henriot.

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