SPECIALIST Aberdeenshire oil service firm, ThinJack Ltd, is calling on North-east businesses and a local school to lend their support to an ambitious school building project in the Angolan capital, Luanda.
Anyone interested in lending their support is invited to attend ThinJack’s Westhill offices at 4.30pm on Monday, June 13th for a meeting which will give the chance to find out more and find a way of working together to help what promises to be a very rewarding project.
In 2010, Westhill-based ThinJack completed its first contract in Angola and whilst working in the country, director, Guy Bromby, became aware of a ground-breaking project to provide education to some of the nation’s poorest children on the outskirts of the capital city, Luanda.
Local man, former teacher, translator and oil worker Kisuka Baltazar (61) is gradually funding the improvement of the current school, with extremely modest facilities, using contributions from his own salary and a small number of donations from oil and gas companies working in Angola. Kisuka also has an ambition to build a larger school.
Currently, the school has a role of 850 registered pupils, looked after by 32 teachers and a small team of ancillary staff.
Kisuka hopes to create a new school complex including 36-40 classrooms with laboratories, a library and offices.
He hopes this will enable the school’s capacity to increase to over 1,000 pupils who will be able to choose morning, afternoon or evening sessions.
Kisuka explained: “I took over the running of this school in 2007 and have nurtured and supported it with my small salary. A donation of $10,000 (USD) from an oil company in Luanda bought aluminium doors and windows but there are still many things to do.
“The school is entirely independent and the teachers are not paid by the government but by me setting very low fees of $10 USD per month paid by pupils during the school year.
“This makes it difficult to pay the teachers well and in line with the huge cost of living in Luanda, whilst keeping fees low so that families can afford to send children to school.”
He added: “According to the government education policy, pupils from 15 years-old have little opportunity to enrol themselves for school because they are considered too old.
“In my school, however, I give these older children the opportunity to enrol and start studying at the beginning of the syllabus.”
He continued: “Education can be the key to so many things and I hope that my school can play a part in giving children and young people the chance to help better themselves and the world around them.”
ThinJack’s Guy Bromby added: “Whilst in Angola, over several visits, Kisuka told me about a project he was heading up to improve educational facilities in Luanda.
“At first, we thought it was simply another charitable project, but when Kisuka actually detailed his plans we were amazed at his passion, dedication and commitment over many years against a backdrop of so little state support. We decided that ThinJack would help.
“Now we are hoping that other individuals and companies in the North-east of Scotland will find their own way of doing something to help Kisuka’s amazing plan become reality.
“We would also like to try and establish a link between a school here and the school in Angola to further enrich the educational experience in both countries.”
Guy continued: “Clearly, money is needed for the more ambitious task of building a new school.
“However, right now, the school primarily needs stationery, furniture, computers, equipment for science laboratories and many other simple things which a school in the Aberdeen area would completely take for granted – and this equipment needs to get to Angola somehow.
“Therefore, we are hoping that other individuals or organisations here in the North-east of Scotland will be able to lend their time or support, be it financial, administrative, practical or logistical.”
To find out more or lend support to the school project, call ThinJack on (01224) 330645.
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Phone: 01224 330645