Join Us on March 29th for our St. Al's Fundraising Event!
March 06, 2017
BENEFITING: USA MIDWEST PROVINCE OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS INC
"St. Al’s" history began with the founding of Christian Life Community (CLC) in Kenya in 1989, a world-wide, Catholic lay movement that follows Ignatian Spirituality. In the late 1990s, as the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa worsened, CLC looked for ways to respond. In 2002, CLC members, together with others, formed to provide ministry to those affected by HIV/AIDS in Kibera, a Nairobi slum that is home to nearly 1 million people. By 2003, CLC had raised enough money to send 12 HIV/AIDS orphans from Kibera to private high schools to begin their first year of secondary education. CLC members were frustrated as they saw that some of the students they had sponsored struggled in the schools they attended. Their attempts to provide additional service to the students were sometimes stymied by the schools. Further, they learned that there would be a nearly four-fold tuition increase at the school which most of the students were attending.
In response to these conditions, Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ, prepared to open St Al’s to allow CLC to quickly respond to the needs of HIV/AIDS affected students in Kibera. The school opened its doors on January 19, 2004, in space rented from a local grade school. The school ended up beginning with 21 second-year students and 35 first-year students.
Over the years, the student body has increased and their academic performance has improved, but they continue to be impeded by the horrendous conditions that they return to each evening in Kibera. Whole families live in one room without running water or the electricity necessary to study at home. Toilet facilities are, at best, pit latrines. All of our students and the girls especially, are at risk as they walk to the school early in the morning or return home after dark when they have completed their studies.
The new dream at St. Al’s is to provide a dormitory facility for our students so that they will have a positive environment for progressing in their studies. St. Al’s has been able to purchase suitable land for the dormitories at the distance of a ten-minute walk for the school. We plan to build dormitories for the school’s full capacity of 240 girls and 240 boys and to increase enrollment to capacity within 5 years. In addition, some additional important facilities are included in the new building project: a band room, six apartments for faculty who currently commute daily up to two hours each way, and a safe facility for the volunteer workers who have proved an integral part of the effectiveness of the school.
On Saturday April 9th 2016, the St. Al’s community gathered to mark the ground breaking ceremony for phase 1 of the dormitory campus expansion. In order to continue moving forward, we are appealing to our generous benefactors and friends to support the construction of the dormitory complex for our students.