World AIDS Day Message
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
In anticipation of World AIDS Day I ask you all to keep those affected by HIV/AIDS throughout the world in your thoughts and prayers. I especially ask you to keep the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Community in prayer. World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day, first held in 1988, was the first ever global health day.
As we remember our students, faculty and staff, let us also remember the great strides that we have made in providing education and hope to our students affected by this pandemic.
At St. Al’s, 2015 has been a year of “4ths”. When our KCSE results for 2014 were announced in March, we were 4th in Langata District after being 5th for the previous three years. Our video, The Shattered, an inspiring entry about the evil of drugs, won 4th prize in the national high school drama competition. Form 4 student Samuel Kuria represented us at the Kenya High School Music competition as a trumpet player, and was ranked 4th nationally. Samuel has overcome great odds in his life since he grew up in an orphanage and was thrown out because of lack of resources, but found his way to St. Al’s where he has excelled as a student leader, including fine leadership at our Quest (Kairos-style) Retreat.
Over the years, virtually all our fundraising has been done abroad and especially in the United States. We now have an excellent Advancement Team in place in Nairobi which focuses on project proposal-writing and on local fundraising. On October 9, we had our first annual Gala which was a resounding success. The goal was to raise awareness about the great work of the school and encourage the local community to join us in spreading the word. An underlying goal is to request financial support from our local constituents.
One of the most exciting accomplishments this year is the successful purchase of land near the school that will allow us to build a dormitory campus and become a boarding school. We have recognized that, despite our best efforts, there are just too many hardships for our students who return to the devastating conditions of Kibera every evening after school. The boarding facility will give our students more time to study, while providing a safe environment that will promote the growth of our students in every way. Our students often battle low self-esteem, particularly the girls. We give them one message during the day and they return to the slum to experience a contrary message every evening. Having our students 24/7 during the school year will enable us to consistently provide and reinforce a positive message and help them to realize all their potential and gifts.
I am so grateful for your generosity in continuing to support St. Al’s. You have graciously provided the necessary funds to purchase the land for our new campus. We request your continuing generosity as we move forward with raising money to build the dormitories. With your help we hope to have enough money in cash and pledges to begin construction by February 2016, in order to open the new facility at the beginning of the following school year in January 2017.
One of the benefits of the new campus is the house on our new property. Initially, this will provide a place for our guests and volunteers to stay. I invite you to visit us at St. Al’s. Please also consider coming on the Pilgrimage sponsored by the Midwest Jesuits to Nairobi in June 2016, for it gives ample time to experience St. Aloysius and our students and programs.
Be assured that our students continue to be grateful for all you do for us, and we frequently pray for you. In the name of all of us, I wish you and yours a most blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year.
With great gratitude,
Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ