The NGO HAMAP, together with its branch, HAMAP ENGINEERING, has offered to assist with infrastructural renovations at the Sainte Thérèse School in Bangui, Central African Republic. This offer comes in response to an appeal launched by Sister Milou.
The Sainte Thérèse School was founded in 1933, in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (formerly the French colony of Oubangui-Chari). It is one of the oldest schools in the city and the country. It was the earliest school for girls, but now accepts boys too. It is a not-for-profit and outward-looking denominational establishment.
It offers pupils a broad academic education, and early in its existence became the cradle of the Central African female ’intelligentsia’. It is a school that respects humanitarian values, and human rights.
Staff at the Sainte Thérèse School have always been anxious to create conditions in which children, and by extension their families, will flourish. The School’s self-assigned mission is to promote peace, tolerance, and non-violence, and its name has become synonymous with these qualities in the Central African Republic.
In October 1997, in the wake of the terrible events in Rwanda, the school opened its doors to 75 refugees. The primary school continues to accept refugees without payment. This year, there are 95 of them.
AIDS has been a world-wide reality for some decades now, sparing no sector of society. In the Central African Republic, the situation is particularly acute: more than 20% of the population has been affected by the virus. The AIDS death rate there is startlingly high. Life expectancy is constantly decreasing, and no class at the school ends the year as large as it began it. The school takes more and more children orphaned by AIDS. This year, 45 such children will receive a free education.
The Sainte Thérèse School also takes part in activities organized by the charity Mama Thérèsa, which was founded by the young Zambian missionary Father Gustave Chisenga in 2003, to help victims of AIDS. The school’s headmistress is an adviser to this charity, which currently monitors and supports 108 HIV-positive women, and 320 HIV-positive children.
A first aid station must be built within the school to permit emergency care for its 800 pupils. Every day, numerous children suffer from attacks of malaria. The school needs to be able to provide emergency care until their parents arrive. It is vital that it be furnished with a small first aid station, with a bed, table, electrical supply, and medicines. The school also needs a well in order to irrigate its plantation and kitchen garden; the river, 150 metres away, is difficult to access. The WC and shower area requires total renovation, as do water points in the yard.
The 10 existing latrines are in a very poor condition, and need to be replaced. The same is true of the septic pit, which is too small and overflows, polluting the basement. The number of pupils has increased, and so it is vital that 6 further WCs and 2 further showers for pupils and support staff be added.
The NGO HAMAP is going to help meet this school’s needs, via its branch HAMAP ENGINEERING, which specializes in infrastructural issues and has expertise in both water supply systems and treatment.
In autumn 2008, the St Eloi primary school, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, joined forces with HAMAP to make a donation of children’s clothes to the Sainte Thérèse School, Bangui.
The parents and pupils of class CM1 showed great generosity in collecting 35 kg of clothes and other items for children aged 8-14. These items were transported to the Central African Republic and handed over to Sister Milou, the headmistress of the Sainte Thérèse School.
The following film was recorded in November 2008:
The NGO HAMAP has committed itself to improving the school’s sanitary infrastructure, via its engineering arm. It has also offered to send a shipment containing a number of supplies that the school is currently lacking: library books, stationery, I.T. equipment in good condition - and light clothes. This shipment is due to depart early in 2009.
We are therefore appealing, once again, to your generosity. Please help us help this remarkable school, which is educating the boys and girls who will, one day, get a struggling country on its feet again.
Sister Milou would like to thank the generous donors of Class CM1 at the Saint Eloi primary school, its headmistress Mme Regnier, and all those who took part in this tremendous display of solidarity.
This is Sister Milou’s thank you letter:
Publication : October 2008