We are delighted to announce the plans to build schools to educate 100,000 impoverished children across Africa over the next 10 years.
It comes after the joyful opening of our first school – St Catherine’s Primary – in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
The school was officially opened last year Friday 22nd November 2013 by Niall. It was built in less than six months – an achievement made all the more remarkable given the postponement of October 2013 building blitz trip for 350 Irish volunteers over security concerns in the aftermath of the Westgate Mall attack the previous month.
Niall described the efforts to get the St Catherine’s built as a “triumph of construction over destruction” and said the 100-strong local Kenyan workforce had “performed miracles” to get the school finished on time.
St Catherine’s now has 25 classrooms and almost 1,300 pupils aged from 4-14. It also provides meals for its children, some of whom are orphans and many of whom don’t get enough to eat at home.
Previously, the school – which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy – had been housed in a collection of shack classrooms with dirt floors, corrugated iron walls and as many as 70 pupils in each class sweltering in temperatures that often topped 40C.
Mellon Educate, the Kenyan department of education and the Sisters of Mercy are forming a committee to fund and run the school.
Mellon Educate also opened a new building at the Rueben Medical Centre in the Mukuru slum – which treats 60,000 people every year, while another school expected to be completed next will benefit 2,000 pupils.
This move represents a major shift in policy for the Niall Mellon Township Trust, which has built more than 22,000 homes for more 100,000 people in South African since it was founded in 2002.
Speaking about the new focus on education, Niall said: “Nelson Mandela once said that education is the key to freedom – and we want to provide the education that helps 100,000 of Africa’s poorest children escape poverty.
“The homes we’ve built have made a major difference to the lives of thousands of families, but education goes further – our schools will offer life-changing opportunities and the chance for children to break the cycle of poverty.”
“After seeing us build a school in just six months for children in one of Africa’s biggest and most deprived slums, the Kenyan government is keen to work with us to build more schools. We’re also planning to build schools in South African townships where we’ve previously built homes, and are working with people in Congo to do the same there.
“With our incredible network of volunteers – thousands of ordinary men and women across the whole of Ireland – we can continue to make a huge difference in thousands of lives.”
Check out more photos from the Handover >>
For more information contact: NMTT 01 494 8200