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.
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!
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 realize 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 enrollment 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.
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.