Oxford students impressed by Tanzanian school

The Oxford University students with pupils of Nyakahoja primary School. Credit: Dushan Croos SJ
The Oxford University students with pupils of Nyakahoja primary School. Credit: Dushan Croos SJ

The Senior Catholic Chaplain at Oxford University and two students from the university are currently in Mwanza, Tanzania, on a three-week visit which will enable them to meet communities with which the Chaplaincy has had links since 2008.

Nyakahoja Primary School in Mwanza was founded in 1961 and is run by Tanzanian Teresian Sisters. They invited the Jesuits to found a parish - St Francis Xavier - and thereby support the school.  The sisters also founded Holy Family Girls Secondary School. Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy has partnered the primary school in Nyakahoja for the past eight years and the current visit – which will last until 10 September – will enable the students to see the work that is being done there at first hand.

Accompanying Chaplain Fr Dushan Croos SJ are Salvatore Valvo, an Italian lab researcher in Immunology at Oxford and Emily Hampshire who is an Oxford 1st year law undergraduate from Durham.

Ecology and education

At the weekend, the group from Oxford took part with children from several Catholic schools in Mwanza at Mass and enjoyed entertainment staged by the youngsters. “The entertainment celebrated the last Nyakahoja Primary School assembly before exams. Credit: Dushan Croos SJbishop who focused on the need for ecological care and the education of children,” explains Fr Dushan. “In particular, we were impressed by a scene in which children from Nyakahoja Primary school acted out a scene about businessmen who want to cut down all the trees to make charcoal, without paying attention to the effect on the local community. Each school contributed excellent dance, sketches or songs before a prize giving for the Catholic schools. The children and teachers had put in a huge amount of work for their piece. It was a really impressive and lovely day.”

This week, the two students and their Oxford Chaplain joined the children of Nyakahoja Primary School at their assembly (right) before they started their exams.