Il progetto in sintesi

St. Anthony’s Charities’ 2013 June 13 Project will take place in Mzimba, a rural district in the north of Malawi, a landlocked country in south-east Africa. The project is directed by a small group of friars from Zambia. This is the first exclusively African mission of the Friars Minor Conventual.
With these friars we will build a secondary school named after St. Francis of Assisi. Our intention is that of educating the future leaders of the community, people who will then go on to promote the economic and spiritual development of this poverty-stricken area. This project, which on the surface is similar to so many other projects, is actually a great challenge for this community.
The parish of these friars, St. Paul’s Parish, is directing 38 primary schools distributed over a territory of over 5,000 square kilometres. “The schools are overcrowded,” says Fr. Linus Mulenga, director of the project.  “Each school can contain from 400 to 1,000 pupils, and almost all of them are extensively damaged.” However, the most worrying fact are the teachers. The proportion is one teacher for every 125/150 pupils, over against the national average of 1 per 60, which is itself too high.
In these five years of mission in Mzimba the friars have managed to make families and teachers aware of the problems of the schools.
Through a parish-based association called SPACTA (St. Paul’s Parish Catholic Teachers Association), repairs are being done on the schools, and houses are being built for the teachers.
It is important to build these houses for the teachers so that they will remain in the villages.

The problem is now the 6,000 or so adolescents that every year leave primary school in Mzimba. In an economy based on subsistence farming they are unable to find work or continue their education. “This lack of job opportunities,” Fr. Linus explains, “exposes them to the risk of premature marriages, prostitution, alcoholism and AIDS, which is widespread in this area.”

The answer is to build a high school. But this poor community cannot sustain the costs of such an expensive project. This is why the friars have turned to St Anthony’s Charities. “Our dream is that the boys and girls who receive their education at St. Francis Secondary School will become the protagonists of their own development and that of their community. This is the hope that we, African Franciscans, would like to donate to our smaller brothers and sisters through your help.”