Build a chapel for a school for visually and hearing-impaired children in Nigeria

Project Code: 141-05-19

Exactly 40 years ago, the Saint Francis School for visually and hearing-impaired children was founded in Ahileijime, a village in the so-called Middle Belt of central Nigeria. It is run by the Sisters of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus, and it has changed the lives of many children.

Before the school was established, many people looked on such children as burdens. They were frequently neglected by their own families and by society, and even mocked and derided. So when the Catholic Church founded the school, it was a courageous step that brought positive changes. Many of its former pupils are working today and earning their own living. Some are even working in their former school. And it is also noticeable that there has been a complete turnaround in the attitude of parents towards their partially sighted or hearing-impaired children. 

At present the school has 92 pupils, aged between 4 and 18 years. Most of them are hearing-impaired. The parents are also being encouraged to learn sign language, so that they can Build a chapel for a school for visually/hearing-impaired kidscommunicate with their children. Many of the surrounding parishes contribute with gifts of food in order to help maintain the school. But most people cannot afford to give money to support the school, since as farmers they already struggle even to support their own families. And the Diocese of Gboko, in which the school is situated, is also poor, having been established only recently in 2012 and still struggling to build itself up and cope with the economic, political and social challenges around it.

The Saint Francis School urgently needs a new chapel. The parish church is 4 miles away, and to get all the children to the church, the minibus has to travel there and back six times. As a result, the children can generally only get to Mass on Sundays. When it is possible, a priest comes to the school and celebrates Holy Mass there; but if no priest is available, then the pupils, teachers and other ancillary staff of the school say Morning Prayer together at the beginning of the day and the Rosary in the evening.

The school chapel is far too small and can only fit 60 people – and they now need space for at least 120. The ventilation is also poor, and so as a result they often pray and celebrate Mass outside, under the trees. In the meantime, the school is continuing to grow, and in addition many people from outside also want to take part in the prayers.

Now the Sisters are planning to build a new chapel that will have space for 160 people. ACN is helping with $8,400.

Will you give to build this chapel for visually and hearing-impaired children in Nigeria? We are sure they, and the Sisters who care for them, will remember you in their grateful prayers!


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