School for Peace

Registered charity No. 1151173

 Patron:  Louis de Bernières

The Parish of St Benet’s is a strong supporter of The Congo School for Peace and here we publish copies or scans of their regular Newsletters and other information  Documents are posted with the most recent on top.

Newsletter – Autumn 2017

Congo 3-2017-180


Newsletter – Summer 2017

Congo 2-2017179

The school year: September 2015 to 2016

We have had another eventful year which has seen great strides with the secondary building work and a visit by two supporters to Tshamalale in April (2016).  

There were 750 children on the school roll: 112 children in the Nursery School, 440 in Primary and 198 in Secondary. The children are now able to stay until 5th year Secondary when they take options to go on with academic education, pedagogy or business studies.  Most of the teachers in the nursery and primary school are now paid on a regular basis, but the secondary teachers receive no salary. They simply accept a donation which comes from the school fees the children pay. This will not be resolved until the secondary school is fully recognised by the state when there are 6 years. This will be in the next academic year.  The secondary building, however, has now doubled in size, thanks to a legacy from Ian Bauers.

Secondary School Building

Here is the latest photo, showing the final stages of part of the building which was delayed by two months in January and February because of torrential rain. In April, the builders were working very long hours and sleeping in the building in order to complete it before the end of the summer term. There will be a chemistry lab with copper sinks which has been paid for by a Belgian charity, as well as an IT room. The next stage will be a library as reading is something the children are very keen to do. Building work will start as soon as the secondary building is ready.

Le Dispensaire (free health centre)

DispensaryThis building, funded by two generous donors was also delayed because of the severe rain and termites, but is now nearing completion and includes wards with bathrooms and even a small operating theatre where operations will be performed by “ Médecins Sans Vacances” surgeons who go to work in Africa during their holidays. The beds were already in place but the painters were working on it every day during our visit and we were amazed at the size of the building.

A message from Sister Virginie

« Dear Friends, we have just had the joy of welcoming Mary and Mike here and we thank you sincerely for all the school equipment that Mary brought.

Resuorces Bought

Thanks to all of you for your generous financial and practical support for the project.Although the building work was delayed due to heavy rains it is now advancing well. Thanks to Philip who ran the marathon for the nursery school. We are praying for you all! »

Financial year 2015-2016

We were able to send £15,800. This was to cover sponsorship as well as to purchase nursery school resources and books. Without the generosity of our loyal supporters the project could not continue. A summary of the full accounts is available on request.

Fundraising news

The fundraising highlight was an Old Time Music Hall which took place in Hungate Canopy Theatre on September 12th 2015.Our patron, Louis de Bernières, kindly agreed to participate in the show which featured members of the group Salon Entertainment and included a magic lantern, music, recitation and community singing. The girls’ choir, Auriga Capella, performed by popular request. Refreshments were served. £1,095 was raiseEliza Byrned – our largest sum to date for an evening event.

The Music Hall was very popular and we received positive feedback. The entertainers gave their talents freely and we are extremely grateful to all of them. The money raised will go towards providing resources for the secondary school.

Eliza Byrne with her Cock Linnet

Films at Geldeston

These films, at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon, run monthly from September to May, thanks to the generosity of Brian Norman, not forgetting Jo and Lillian who make the cakes. This year £450 has been raised – more than enough to pay for four children’s education for a year. Thanks to all the film goers! The dates for autumn 2016 are: 28th September, 26th October and 30th November. For more information see

Bristol half-marathon

Bristol Marathon
On September 13th  2015, Marc Norris ran in this event, and raised £246.25 towards funding places for younger children in the nursery school.

Thank you, Marc!

Marc with his daughter after the run.

Other fund-raising events included a three-day bric-a-brac stall during the St Benet’s flower festival in August, a gift stall at Langley Christmas Fair and carol singing in Norwich with Auriga Capella in December.

Future fundraising

We hope to have another concert at St Benet’s

Church, a musical garden party as well as another Music Hall. Our next project is a library (the space has already been allocated for this), solar panels and we are also looking into the possibility of building a small kitchen where simple meals can be prepared using environmentally-friendly stoves. More information about future events can be found on the website.

 School links

These links continue to flourish and apart from the gifts sent by Glebeland School, the children from St Benet’s in Beccles sent pictures and letters.

The children from Wragby School in Lincolnshire, St Mark’s in Ipswich and Langley School in Norfolk also sent letters.  

During our visit to the school, we met most of the sponsored children and we interviewed the oldest children (in their fifth year of secondary education). The older children all seem ambitious and are very happy with the education they are receiving. We also attended lessons (Geography, French, English) and were impressed at the level of teaching. Everyone is very excited about the new building.


School for Peace, May 2016