This summer we received a completely unexpected visit from Fred Akhelumele, the director of the Holy Trinity School in Nigeria. Fred was actually on a family visit in Austria and took the opportunity to discuss with us personally the most important points for this year. Despite her busy schedule, our chairman Heidemarie Kipperer did not miss the opportunity to welcome Fred personally in Graz and to reschedule her appointments without further ado, so that there was enough time to discuss the current situation of the school down to the smallest detail.
A surprise visit from Nigeria!
This only confirmed once again what we already knew through many online meetings and email correspondences with Fred: the school is in a difficult situation and there is currently no money for many necessities.
The already tight financial situation since the outbreak of the pandemic has been further aggravated by the effects of the Ukraine war, which are also clearly felt in Nigeria, and the school no longer has any financial resources to support students from poorer backgrounds.
In concrete terms, this is currently affecting a large group of students in higher grades who are unable to pay the fees collected by the state in Nigeria for some compulsory examinations. In the past, the school could have supported them, but unfortunately this is not possible at the moment. Younger students are also affected by the difficult financial situation, as they also lack the money to support their families in the purchase of necessary textbooks.
Another big problem are the repair costs for the school buses. For many children, transportation by the school's own bus is the only way to get to school. In Nigeria, there is no extensive public transportation system and many families cannot afford their own car. The poorly constructed, often unpaved roads mean that the buses are damaged time and again, but the price of spare parts has exploded in recent months, making it increasingly difficult for the school to have the damage repaired.
If the buses are cancelled altogether, this means that many students will no longer be able to attend classes in person. Fortunately, a generous family from Austria, friend of the school, helped out with this situation and donated a new bus. THANK YOU!
As a small emergency aid, we were able to sponsor an urgently needed laptop for the school, which we were able to give directly to Fred. The joy was great and the device will facilitate the administrative work at the school enormously, but the need for support goes far beyond a laptop.
We will continue to do our best to support the school as much as possible. As a charitable organization, however, we are dependent on donations.