Congo School for Peace

Update from Mary – 18 January 2020


Dear All,

Happy New Year!

We do hope you have the Italian Evening in your diary. Please see the poster below for details.

If you are unable to attend and live locally maybe you would consider donating a bottle of Don Faustino wine!

The latest news from the school is good: all of the children have been vaccinated against measles and because of the proximity of the medical centre, early signs of malaria can be dealt with promptly. They say this has been a worse threat recently than measles. The three sponsored university students have settled in well and have had their photo taken in their lecture rooms! We hope to send out another newsletter soon.

Hope to see you next month. Thank you for all you have helped us achieve in 2019.

The School for Peace Support Group – please visit our website at



Mary’s Christmas Message

Dear All,

This recently arrived from the School – and I am sending it on to you –  errors and all!

Congo Christmas Greeting 2019 357 (800x581)The library building looks lovely and we hope to start furnishing it and stocking it fully in the New Year.

We are grateful for all your support throughout 2019 which has made this possible.

Our next fundraising event will be on Saturday 15th February – Saint Faustino’s Day. We will be sending more details after Christmas and they will also appear on our website under ‘events’.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

The School for Peace Support Group

Mary’s Update Letter – September 2019

Dear All,

A lot has been happening since I last wrote and the head teachers say the new school year has started very well, with more pupils enrolling every week. The autumn newsletter will be available in time for

the AGM on Thursday 17th October at 7.30pm

in Beccles Library.

Please come if you live nearby to hear our news and plans, see photos and enjoy some refreshments.

The head teacher at Glebeland and Barnby schools will be setting off for the Arctic with her husband Darren, who kindly drove all our donations to Antwerp for the container in 2017. Please visit the website – see below – to see a poster advertising their challenge for The School for Peace; – please buy a snowflake if you can.

Best wishes,

Mary Ellwood (Secretary)

The School for Peace Support Group

Mary’s Update Letter – August 2019

Dear All,

Please come to Joy’s Musical Garden Party on Sunday 18th August to enjoy a lovely afternoon of music and cakes (bring one if you can). It will be in her garden at 40 Puddingmoor, Beccles NR34 9PL from 3pm to 6.30pm weather permitting.

Congo School Pupils (800x598)In June a group of us visited the sisters in one of their convents in a remote part of Zambia (12 hours from Lusaka by bus). Mwense is a village near the river Luapula which separates it from the DRC. The head teachers at the School for Peace came over to see us, travelling by bus to the border before crossing the river in a rowing boat without seats and jumping on the back of a motorbike to get to us.

Congo - Departure on boat

They brought all the latest news and photos with them. Basically St Benet’s school for Peace is thriving now with over 1000 pupils, the library building is almost finished, the choir has just won a prize and teachers from other schools are visiting to see what can be achieved. I attach a photo which shows the sisters departing in the boat and one taken in June of the children lining up for lessons.

You still have the opportunity to sponsor Peter Hobbs who has completed his epic bike ride from Land’s End to Shetland and is now safely back home. In September a couple will be driving to the Arctic Circle to raise money for us. More news of all these trips in the forthcoming newsletter.

Greetings from all at the School for Peace.

Mary Ellwood


The School for Peace Support Group

New Introductory Leaflet – June 2019

Congo Intro 1- 276



Congo Intro 2 - 281


Congo Intro 3 - 278

If you would like to help and support this magnificent work, please print a copy of the form below


Congo Intro 4 - 279




Congo School for Peace Banner (800x250)

Latest News from Congo

The elections took place in December followed by much unrest. The sisters remain positive as ever and are sending information regularly now via WhatsApp although Internet connections can be cut off without notice.

Message from the Headteachers

There are now 1021 pupils in the school: 114 in the Nursery, 547 in Primary and 360 in Secondary.

Of the 36 teachers only 10 are paid by the Congolese government. That explains why the money from the sponsored children helps us to fill the gap in salaries whilst also adding to the pay of those teachers who receive the poor, irregular government salary.

The exam results from the first term reveal that most of the sponsored children are doing extremely well. Many have results of 70% – 88%.

One of the greatest achievements for pupils and teachers this year is that our school has been selected to participate in a provincial competition which will be organised by the society of francophone speakers in Lubumbashi. We are proud that our school has been recognised as one of the serious schools of the Province.

The Library 

This is coming along very well in spite of the rains. We have managed to send £10,000 recently in order to finish it. There will be another room on top which will be used as a staffroom.

Schools Support

Last year St Benet’s and St Edmund’s primary schools organized a ‘Congo Week’ when the children studied all aspects of Congo and put on a wonderful exhibition of the results. More photos can be found in the gallery section of our website. We hope to interest more schools in the project this year.
Films at Geldeston

A small group from Beccles will visit Sr Virginie in Zambia this year with the possibility of making a short trip to Congo if it is safe to do so. Peter Hobbs will be cycling from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in June for three good causes including The School for Peace.

The headteacher of Glebeland School, and her husband are also planning a road trip to raise money for the school in the autumn. Please see the website for all details.

Films at Geldeston

Sadly Brian Norman has decided to take a break from showing the films and we are hoping that someone else will take over. Since Brian agreed to share the profits with us we have raised a fantastic £1,507 so far.  We are very grateful to Brian for his dedication,
and to Jo and Lillian for all the lovely cakes.

 Sister Agnes

The headteacher of the primary school, has sent photos of the library building so far, including herself on the top! You can see how far they have got already in spite of the heavy rains.


Message from Sr Virginie

“I pray that the Lord will accompany you in your work for this project which gives dignity to poor children and helps us to give them a good education. Please pass on my warm good wishes for Easter and sincere thanks to all the supporters.”


Contact:     Mary Ellwood (Secretary) or Alan Williams (Treasurer):


Some Background Information!


Congo 3

Congo School for Peace Banner

Our Parish Involvement

The Congo School for Peace was initiated at St Benet’s and it has been widely supported for almost 15 years, with more than £100,000 raised in that time. As a recent example, a concert in May 2015, raised.£625.  Regular contact is maintained by parishioners making visits and reporting progress on their return – with photos of the school displayed at the back of the Church.   In addition, Mass is currently offered three or four times annually for the work of the School.

An Easy Way to Contribute!Congo 5

We have just learned that there is an easy way to make contributions to this very worthwhile charity – and NO COST TO YOU!

If you are planning to do some Internet Shopping – visit and sign up on the web site

Then carry on shopping and a contribution will be made on your behalf by the retailer you use. It really is that easy!

Sponsor a Child

If you would like to find out how to Sponsor a Child, please visit the web site, and learn how you can REALLY make a difference!

Web Site

For full details of St Benet’s School for Peace, Chamalale, Southern Congo, visit