Happy New Year from St. Aloysius Gonzaga! We are happy and grateful to God for allowing us to be in school after a very extraordinary 2020 courtesy of COVID-19. We are happy to report that none of our students or teachers got infected with the virus. Glory be to God! In a special way, I want to thank our benefactors who stood with us during the tumultuous moments in 2020. Through your generosity and kindness, we managed to keep our students out of casual jobs that had become a norm with most teenagers from Kibera. In addition to this, you also gave us reasons and strength to continue serving our esteemed students in the midst of the pandemic through class assignments which were administered every month. In this our school was unique, which helped our students not only to be able to keep in touch with their teachers, but it also accorded us opportunities to attend to their psychosocial needs. As a result, we managed to defeat idleness among the students and keep them away from the many social evils within their communities, such as drug abuse and unwanted teenage pregnancies.
More crucially, with COVID-19, many of our caregivers lost their livelihoods and that rendered them unable to provide basic needs such as food. Once more, benefactors like you stood with us we were able to provide food packages twice a month for nine months. Perhaps the most profound statement came from one of my students who reported back to school just a day after the government had closed down all the schools. In my efforts to persuade her to go home since it was deemed safer there, she decried that St. Aloysius is the only home she’s known and staying away would be more detrimental to her.
When the schools were re-opened in 2020, all of our students reported back safe and sound. We had to get down to work immediately since the school terms have been shortened while we “catch up” in 2021 and 2022. In order to compensate for the lost time and in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, all extracurricular activities were banned. In keeping with our mission of providing holistic education, all the students had psychosocial support sessions to help them process their experiences during the partial lockdown. This we believe has proved effective in averting many behavioral and psychological instabilities as witnessed in other schools all over Kenya where students have been torching and vandalizing school properties.
Unlike teachers from other schools who lost their jobs during the pandemic, we managed to keep all our staff. This has helped to keep them motivated and ready to kick-off the learning process with great vigor and enthusiasm. As a way of staying on course and making up for the lost time, we have introduced Saturday classes for all the students. Indeed, 2021 will be a unique year since we will have to run two school calendar years within 12 months. Obviously, this calls for deep commitment and doing magis from everyone. No doubt we will pull through as a team to give the very best to our students. More than ever, we continue to request your prayers and support to continue with our noble mission.