Land Found For Dormitories

August 25th, 2015

Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ, Appeals to Purchase Land
For Building Dormitories for St. Al’s StudentsSt. Al Students

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Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ, Appeals to Purchase Land

It has been my dream for two years, and maybe the dream of much of the St. Al’s Community for even longer, to build dormitories for our students. Our original vision for our school was that we would be a day school serving our very needy youth from Kibera, and we would strive to make up for the deficits of our AIDS orphans and other orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) living in Kibera slum. Over time, I have come to recognize that we are unable to make up for certain deficits.

To begin with, we are aware that our girls do not do as well academically as the boys. While there is probably some difficulty in more chores in the home being demanded of the girls, the biggest issue concerns self-esteem. Girls are told directly and indirectly in their homes and all around Kibera that they are second class. Additionally, it has become clear to me that our girls are regularly being hit upon for sex by men, whom they pass on their way home every evening. While most are successful in resisting over the long term, what does it do to one’s self-image to be treated as a sex object day-in and day-out!

But let us not forget the boys who have their own challenges. One alarming statistic for Africa is that, while 29% of girls suffer sexual abuse by the age of 18, for boys it is 24%. We could expect that the statistic would be higher for those growing up in a slum. For boys in particular, this violence is such a taboo that they generally have to suffer in such isolation without any thought of being able to share their burden with anyone!

LAND FOUND

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New Land

After more than a year of serious searching, we have finally found a piece of land that is suitable for our dorms. Our basic requirement is that we need a minimum of one half acre within
walking distance of the school. Land is unbelievably expensive in Nairobi at some $500,000 per ½ acre in the area where the school is. The piece of land, which we have been offered is .625 acre and has a nice house in good condition on one corner of the property. I immediately thought of the house as having potential for a Jesuit community serving St. Al’s. It has five bedrooms and another room for a chapel along with living room, dining room and kitchen. We have been able to agree with the owner on a purchase price of $850,000.

Over the last two years, I have been able to raise $350,000 in generous contributions from three of our benefactors who believe in this project for the benefit of our students. We have entered into a sale agreement with the owner and have three months to raise the additional $500,000. We are appealing to your generosity in contributing to this project that will help our students have a safe place to live while they are pursuing their high school education. Having our students in a secure environment will not only contribute to an excellent atmosphere for studies but also to an environment where we can more successfully form our students holistically to become men and women for others.

We are looking for contributions in any amount, both large and small. We ask that any contribution made might be over and above what you already contribute since we need your continuing support for the funding for the ongoing operating expenses for the school.

We have been in contact with the US government, USAID and the America Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA), which have already helped us significantly with capital expenses to build the school, as well as with other funding agencies which are interested in supporting our project to build dormitories – but only after we have secured suitable land. Thus, we are confident that we will be able to obtain funding for the construction of the new facility. We peg the cost of dormitory facilities for all our students at $ 1.5 Million.

Our agreement with the seller is that we will complete the payment for the purchase of the land in 90 days. Thus, we must raise the additional amount required, $500,000, by August 31, 2015. Please help us reach this urgent need.

Contributions

  • You may make your contributions in the usual ways through the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus at connect.jesuitsmidwest.org/StAls
  • Make checks to “Jesuit International Ministries” and designate “St. Al’s Land Fund.”
  • You may also contribute electronically through a link on our website, www.sagnairobi.org with the same designation.
  • PS: We would be happy to discuss naming opportunities or tribute gifts (in honor of or in memory of someone) with you.
  • For more information, contact Jeff Smart at jsmart@jesuits.org or 773-975-6920 or contact me at charlton@jesuits.net.
  • We will keep you posted about our progress.
  • Thanks so much for your ongoing support of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, our School of Hope!