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As part of our participation in the global projects of Jesuit Schools worldwide, St George’s College and Hartmann House are participating in the Red Chair Campaign. Though their own contributions, students are helping keep a peer who would have been a school dropout, in the education system.  Since its launch, this project has been a huge success.

When challenged to reflect on the Global Red Chair Campaign initiated through Educatemagis and Entreculturas ( the students of St George’s College and Hartmann House came up with various ideas and after some sifting the idea presented below was agreed upon. During the launch of their version of the Red Chair Project on the 31stof July, the Feast of St Ignatius, these words were part of the students’ prayer of offering;

Together with students from Jesuit schools all over the world, we recognise how privileged we are to be in School when more than 58 million children of school-going age are unable to attend school. The reasons for this are bigger than us but as children, touched by your love, O Lord, we have decided to make a difference to our friends who are within our reach. We will put some of our brothers and sisters back into school.

Among students the rollout of the project is as follows;

  • Each class of about 25 adopts a student from a cheaper school (fees approximately $30 per term). The adopted child will henceforth be called our “Red Chair Friend” by that class.
  • Each term we contribute a dollar each towards keeping our Red Chair Friend in school.
  • Our friend is in the same age set as the corresponding class, i.e., a Grade 4 class has a Grade 4 Red Chair Friend.
  • The Jesuit Province Education Office has helped and continues to help identify friends for all classes especially from but not limited to the Jesuit Schools’ network.
  • The relationship between the Red Chair Friend and the class remains unless there are significant changes in the circumstances of the Red Chair Friend.

When the Red Chair Project was presented to parents at the Parents’ Assembly as well as at the SDC meeting, the majority of parents present expressed a desire to participate in a similar fashion so as to double the number of students who will be brought back into school in this way. Thus each boy will pay $1 per term, presumably from their pocket money and parents may pay an equal or larger amount as they feel inspired. Parents’ payments also come through their son’s class teacher.

In conversations with staff, a desire to participate was also expressed and what the teachers raise will be used as a buffer to augment shortages, e.g., some classes may for various reasons fail to reach the actual fees for their Red Chair friend.

To date, 40 students who had dropped out of school have been brought back into school through this project.

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