A Duplicating Machine For the St. Francis Secondary School in Eritrea

Project location: ERITREA, Massawa
Project start date: July 2012 - Project end date: March 2013
Project number: 2012-085
Beneficiary: ASPE ONLUS


Eritrea is a small country situated in North East Africa, covers an area of 121.000 sq. km and has a population approximately 4 million. It has been under the foreign yoke of respectively Portugal, Turks, Egypt, Italy, England, Ethiopia for more than 400 years. It gained its independence from Ethiopia on May 24, 1991 after a bitter 30 year long struggle. The condition of the country is so tragic, that although it is an independent country, it is still being threatened by Ethiopia.
The country lacks natural resources, like rivers, lakes, oil. The scanty rainfall often causes draught and famine. Even though the condition of the country is so grim, the Government and the people are not idly sitting, waiting for help from the other countries and Organizations, but they are unitedly fighting against these adversities implementing their human efforts and natural resources. As a consequence of this, dams, hospitals and schools are constructed, many roads have been repaired and new ones are under construction, agriculture is given more importance by implementing modern methods of agricultural produce, etc.
One of the natural resources Eritrea has got, is the 1000 km long coastal line of the Red Sea, and Massawa, which is the main port city of Eritrea, is regarded as the "pearl of the Red Sea". This city underwent the crucial attack of Ethiopia during the Liberation Movement, and although it has been completely tarnished by the war, it will be a centre for the many activities available on the Red Sea coast and plays host to the many sun and fun seekers that visit the coast all year round. It is a developing tourist centre.

The presence of the Catholic Church in Eritrea.

From the very beginning, the Catholic Church has been close to the people, serving, curing, teaching, guiding, comforting and helping them in many ways. A lot of Missionaries came to Eritrea to help the people in their needs and most of these Missionaries were Italians.
The Capuchin Friars came to Eritrea some 150 years ago and their first missionary station was in Massawa. Their social and pastoral work consisted in helping the people to adjust themselves with the harsh realities of life. Even now they are trying their level best to help the grief stricken and they do offer their spiritual and material help to alleviate the sufferings of the needy ones.
The social service of the Capuchin Friars is rendered to everyone, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Special attention is given to the education of children. For more than 60 years they have being running a Middle School (built in 1950) named  "St. Francis Junior Secondary School". Most of the students who attend their school are very poor, so there are many who cannot pursue education and hence they are forced to remain at home; but they encourage them to continue their education by giving them monetary help. The future of the country depends on this young generation who faces the lacuna of education, so if they are given literacy, certainly our country will prosper and can attain self sufficiency.

Massawa consists of the main land and the two islands, named Old Massawa and Twalet. The Middle School which the Capuchin Friars have been running almost for 60 years was placed in Twalet, but since the civilians in old Massawa and Twalet were asked by the Government to shift to the mainland because these two islands will be serving tourism and other port activities, they realized they also should shift their school in Twalet to the mainland.
Based on the request of Capuchin Friars, the Government provided an adequate plot of land in the mainland of Massawa to build a new junior and secondary school and Hotel, Catering and Tourism Management training school. The new school views the combination of basic education and vocational training paramount to prepare students for a potential career in the tourism industry.

The cost for the new building has been almost entirely covered by donations from Funding Agencies, Associations and private persons.
The school has been inaugurated on January 05, 2010 after five years of working and now it is attended by 1000 students.

The new school is a very large complex, with a lot of classrooms, laboratories, offices and a library, which need to be furnished with more benches, tables, chairs equipments for the office, books for the library. Except the computer lab for which the school has received a big quantity of second hand computers, all the laboratories need to be equipped with fittings for laboratory work in physics, chemistry and biology.

A big problem which is still pending is the lack of text books for all the subjects taught in the school, so the teachers are compelled to photocopy textbook material or to make handwritten copy of the existing textbooks. As it has already said, St. Francis Secondary School is attended by 1000 students.
During the time of examination the school needs to make large numbers of exam sheets; the existing photocopier is meant for taking small numbers of copies and becomes overheated very soon if large numbers of copies are taken, this could damage the photocopier. So the school needs a kind of duplicator which is fast in printing, high performance, reliable and user-friendly.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project. Acquiring an efficient duplicator will enable the school to provide textbook material in a more efficient and quicker way. In the event of non availability of adequate textbooks materials, it will reduce the burden on teachers who would otherwise have to take a lot of pain to make handwritten copies of textbooks for the students.

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