Work in Progress - An Ideological Miracle

Some of you have received a remarkable letter - from Anisha Ramlaul, Head of St James School, Durban. You are among the sponsors of children there whose families can’t afford school fees.

After thanking you for your generous support, Anisha writes: 

‘As headmistress of a school in part of Africa that desperately seeks ideological miracles, I have found myself meeting with current thinking that cannot continue if we wish to deepen the lifetime work of raising truth, strength and unity.

One of these ideological crossroads is responsibility. The children you have supported have biological fathers who are rarely in the life of their son or daughter. In fact many disappear after the birth of their children and it is considered an accepted part of tradition for the matter to come to a close. The mother raises the child with the help of an extended family (usually an aged grandmother) and most ties with the fathers are severed.

As fate will have it, our School has attracted many more boys than girls who are in this kind of situation. The mothers of these children are rarely properly educated and hence work and earn very little. The cycle of poverty is almost inevitable. However these children do have fathers – many, I am discovering, have started working hard and becoming fairly successful in their own lives.

Over the last few months we have made some strides in contacting these absent fathers. Not so long ago I met with some individually to establish the role they were going to play in the lives of their children (as well as taking up financial responsibility). The miraculous part is that in principle, they have taken this on! We have had success with a few and they will now pay the full School fee for their child’s education.

These fathers are essentially good men; they have managed to hold onto decent jobs and will make a conscious effort to raise their children in a St James education especially after seeing how the children are turning out! My wish is that this continues and that the financial responsibility of children (who have parents) rest squarely with the parents except in really exceptional situations.’

Anisha finishes her letter by asking those bursary sponsors to continue donating to the development needs of the school, rather than to specific individual pupils. We’re promising to keep these generous people fully up-to-date.