St Augustin High School in Bozoum

Education is the way how to get out of poverty and be directed to economic independence. Nevertheless, the Central African Republic isn’t able to give its children high-quality education. The schooling system doesn’t work in the country. No school has been constructed since getting independence, using state funds. Contrary to that, SIRIRI did so and built a school in 2011 within a partnership with the missionaries of the Discalced Carmelites’ Order. The school is called St Augustin High School in Bozoum and is the only one in the region with a size comparable to Moravia. SIRIRI has been co-financing its functioning since its establishment. In 2014/15, the high school gave its first generation of the school leavers, having passed school-leaving/GCSE exam.

The project’s origin

The missionaries in Bozoum had started to organise some secondary-level education (to follow primary education), doing so in an improvised way within the framework of the Mission. And then, at the beginning of 2011, two SIRIRI representatives got to Bozoum to build a new school able to provide education up to the GCSE-exam level. Finally, a school was built according to a designer’s project involving six classrooms (each for 40 students), one library, one computer room, one teachers’ room and a director’s office.

The project’s evolution

Students at St Augustin High School pay school fees amounting to 30 EUR for the high school (le college) and 45 EUR for the secondary school (le lycée). Anyway, it’s insufficient to cover the total amount of operating costs. That’s why SIRIRI finances remaining costs, i.e. 10,000 EUR a year in total. This helps reimburse Central African teachers’ salaries, buy textbooks, school supplies and settle other maintenance costs. Even if the school was established by a Catholic mission, it accepts children of any confession, and that’s why there are Catholic, Protestant and Moslem children attending the high school.

The Italian missionary, P. Aurelio Gazzera, who has been living in Central Africa for more than 20 years, is responsible for the proper functioning of the school where he also was a director for 2 years. Two SIRIRI volunteers worked at the school during one school year, namely Terezie Imlaufova in 2008/09 and Vojtech Bily in 2013/14.

The costs of one student amount to 83 EUR for a school year