LATEST CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

May 2015 – it’s just four months before 144 young Boys and Girls boarders will arrive at Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) to begin Form One (Grade Nine).  Will we be ready for them?  Will they have a classroom for studies? A chapel to pray?  A hostel (dormitory) to sleep? A dining room to eat?  Will the teachers be nearby?

These are very big questions for all of us associated with LJSS right now.  And we are very happy to say: YES, WE WILL BE READY!   Thanks to the generosity of donors, the hard work of contractor, architect and teams, the careful oversight of Fr. Aloyz Podgrajsek, S.J.  (Project manager) and the prayers of so many, many people, construction of what is needed right now at LJSS has been completed!

When we began with groundbreaking in September 2012, we looked at an empty 22 hectare (50 acre) field – beautiful, but empty!

Project Manager Fr. Alojz Podgrasjek, SJ, and Director of Development Fr Peter Henriot, SJ, survey the 'field of dreams' - soon to be a construction site with buildings rising from the red earth into classrooms, hostels, laboratories...
Project Manager Fr. Alojz Podgrasjek, SJ, and Director of Development Fr Peter Henriot, SJ, survey the ‘field of dreams’ – soon to be a construction site with buildings rising from the red earth into classrooms, hostels, laboratories…

Today, we can see that field of dreams, crowded with all the necessary Phase One buildings constructed and equipped.

Compus Overview.

Crowded LJSS campus seen from nearby highway, with Phase One construction completed.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED?

Here is a quick and encouraging overview of what has actually been completed:

  • The Administration Block contains offices for the Head Teacher and other officials, with additional offices for teachers and meeting rooms for conferences.
  • Eight classrooms and two laboratories provide the learning spaces for Form One and Form Two (Grades Nine and Ten) learners.  And temporary library space is also provided.
  • Hostels (dormitories) are outfitted with comfortable bunk beds and lockers for all Boys and Girls boarders.
  • Kitchen and dining facilities are complete, with the necessary cookers, ovens, pots and pans, tables and benches.
  • A large Conference Hall provides space for many gatherings to take place during the school year.  It also serves as space for religious services until our Chapel is built in Phase Two.
  • Teachers’ housing next to campus is ready to welcome ten new faculty.
  • Electricity is connected (with an emergency generator also installed) and municipality water is available with borehole backup.
  • And of course there are sports fields for recreation and for training future Malawi football and netball national champions!

All of this good work has been possible through the generous support of so many benefactors, large and small.  Church organisations, Jesuit communities around the world, foundations, parishes and schools, businesses, individual benefactors – from all across the globe!  And the Government of Malawi has been very cooperative and supportive.  We Jesuits connected with LJSS are deeply appreciative of this assistance!

Something that has encouraged all of us involved in setting up LJSS has been the enthusiasm of visitors who come to see what is happening on this site in Kasungu. Surprised at the size of the school’s infrastructure, impressed by the quality of workmanship, challenged by the task of getting this up and running, and moved by the generosity of donors what make all this possible: these are reactions that keep us moving forward.

Just take a look at some of the impressive structures on campus.

Administration block

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Classroom block

Classroom block on side, Admin block in front

               Boys’ hostel (dormitory)

admin-dormitoryajax

Kitchen ready for installation of cookers, etc.

kitchen work

If you would like to help us move forward in our educational commitment to Malawian youth, please let us hear from you.  Funds for the construction of Phase Two and for provision of all the necessary furnishings and equipment are still greatly needed!  Go to ‘Support Us – on this webpage’ for details of how you can Help Us”.  Thank you!

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UPDATE: GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY | 21 September 2012

Construction has now begun in Kasungu on Loyola Jesuit Secondary School! This was marked by a joyous Groundbreaking Ceremony on Friday 21 September 2012. The event was both ‘formal’ in the presence of and speeches by high Government, Traditional Authority, and Church officials, and ‘festive’ with the singing and dancing of local people and youth.

Honorable Minister Eunice Kazembe unveils the foundation stone plaque

THE PROJECT

Building a new secondary school that is for 500 boarders, young women and men, is no inexpensive task in Malawi!  Our architect has drawn plans for classrooms and laboratories, library, administration offices, boarding facilities, kitchen and dining room, clinic, residences for teachers, chapel, and general purpose hall.  Also included are playing fields, orchards and agricultural plots, and plenty of green spaces!

Architectural rendering, partial view of girls’ dormitories

The initial estimated cost to get things up and running is about USD eight and one-half million (USD 8,500,000)  That surely seems like a lot of money but we have to realise that costs in Malawi are very high because most construction materials must be imported into this land locked country.  Kasungu is several thousand kilometers from the places in South Africa where we must secure roofing sheets, window and door frames, ceiling materials, electrical fittings, plumbing fixtures, etc.  Even cement will have to be imported!  Costs for these necessary materials add up very fast.

With Zambia-Malawi Jesuit Province funds we have already been able to secure an excellent and well-situated plot of 22 hectares in Kasungu (120 kms from the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe.)  The plot is close to St. Joseph’s Parish, our Jesuit pastoral centre.  We have protected it with a wall fence, paid for electrical and water connections, and provided an access road.

We have now begun the first stage of construction. Phase One includes those structures necessary to begin operations for enrolment of Form One and Two girls and boys in September 2014, and will cost approximately USD four and million (USD 4,000,000). Phase Two construction will see the school through to its completion.

LJSS plans with Phase One construction marked in blue

Beyond construction costs will come two additional demands.  There will be the expenses for furnishing the school buildings and providing necessary educational supplies such as books and laboratory materials.  Moreover, we will seek endowment funds for providing bursaries for students from families of lesser means (especially from the local area of Kasungu) and for rewarding staff appraised to be particularly supportive in promoting the goals of Ignatian Education.

We have devised a funding schedule that begins with seeking some large donations from foundations and institutions and will move toward securing smaller grants and donations for initial building funds or specific parts of the overall project, e.g., boarding facilities, classrooms, IT room, library, etc.

With generous help from Jesuit groups around the world, some foundations, and many individuals, we are past the 50% mark right now and have been able to commence Phase One construction.  But we have a long way yet to go!

People ask how sustainable will our ambitious project be?   Because we will be a ‘grant-aided’ school, salaries for teachers and some staff, plus some minor costs, are covered by the Government of Malawi.  Boarding fees and minor grants will make possible the remainder of annual expenses – as has been the case in the other well-established Church–administrated schools in Malawi.

Of course, we will ultimately rely on God’s good graces to be truly sustainable!  And we will trust in the generosity of those who will be encouraged by this website to donate to our school.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Callista Mutharika says:

    There is no doubt this is a sustainable project just like the other catholic schools e.g. Ludzi Girls, Likuni Girls. I can’t wait to see this school by the Jesuits in Malawi. You offer excellent education and I am happy you have started. May God continue to grant his blessings. Regards, Callista Mutharika

    • Pete says:

      Madam Callista Mutharika.

      Indeed it has been a long journey to put up a Magnificent School like this one, but at last we are yet to open the school in September, 2015, we further recognize your appreciation on the same. Your support in any form, will be appreciated in advance.

      Best regards.

      • Wow!!! Happy to see that you now have boys and girls learning at the school. I hope students realize how privileged they are to be at this school. I will definitely visit one of these days. May you all remain blessed. Callista Mutharika

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