11/27/2015, 00.00
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From Kenya to India: Catholic schools committed to educating the young

by Nirmala Carvalho
Kevin de Souza, a teacher and director of the Opus Dei Centre in Mumbai, talks about the Strathmore School. Founded in 1958 at the initiative of Saint Josemaria Escriva, it was Kenya’s first interracial school. Later the order also set up the Kimlea Technical Training Centre for young rural women and girls and the Eastlands College of Technology. Half of the Kenyan population is under 25 years with unemployment at 80 per cent.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Catholics are playing a leading role in educating Kenya’s new generations, this according to Kevin de Souza, an African of Indian origin. He is a former student at the Strathmore School, Kenya’s first interracial educational facility founded in 1958 at the initiative of Josemaria Escriva.

De Souza remembers that admission to the school was hard because of its high standards, but “if I scored maximum marks in English and Mathematics in the Board Exams, I would be admitted,” he told AsiaNews. Which he did. Currently, he is working as a teacher in India where he also heads the Opus Dei Centre in Mumbai.

Speaking about the Opus Dei in Kenya, he noted that after a visit to the country, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo threw his weight behind the Kimlea Technical Training Centre near Nairobi. Founded in April 1989, the school provides technical training to rural women. Since it started, some 12,000 women have benefited from its programmes, most of them girls and young women working on tea and coffee plantations.

Another educational facility, the Eastlands College of Technology, was established in a slum district just east of Nairobi, where over a million people live in desperate poverty, with about 800 registered students. Run by the Strathmore Educational Trust, the facility is located in one of the poorest districts of Africa, providing students with a quality education.

Currently, half of Kenya's 40 million people are under 25 years of age, and an unemployment level hovers around 80 per cent.

Speaking about the development of his religious vocation as a layperson, de Souza remembered those early moments at Strathmore. “Every now and then my mother would throw a hint that there was daily Mass celebrated in the School Chapel and I could go. Initially I rebelled.”

“In my second year, however, I saw a friend going to daily Mass. I was perplexed and asked him if he had someone at home, who was very sick or he had other problems. He smiled and replied that he wanted to receive Jesus every day. That changed my way of thinking and I started attending daily Mass.”

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