African headteacher appeals to council to save St Joseph’s

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The headteacher of a rural school in Africa has written to East Dunbartonshire Council to urge them to keep Milngavie’s only Catholic school open.

Vivex Kumisuku, headteacher of non-denominational Mitsidi Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi, pleaded with the council not to close St Joseph’s Primary School in Milngavie as they have supported his school so much in the past five years.

The Milngavie children have helped to fund the charity Mary’s Meals with cash to supply his 1,100 impoverished pupils with a daily meal.

Through ragbag appeals and other projects they also raised thousands of pounds for structural improvements at the non-denominational school, which has a high intake of orphans, to improve the water supply with a new borehole and plant saplings to replace trees which had been cut down around the school as well as to refurbish some of the teacher’s houses.

In addition the children at St Joseph’s collected and sent books , sports equipment and uniforms to the pupils in Africa as well as funding for wooden desks and benches as they were previously sitting on the dusty floor for lessons.

In his letter, Vivex Kumisuku, said: “We are very sorry to hear that you have proposed to close St Joseph’s which has inspired the development at Mitsidi in so many ways.

“Everyone benefits when pupils help each other in different parts of the world.

“We very much appreciate their numerous support and we would very much regret the closure of the school.”

Parishioner Joe Murray said: “The Mitsidi project is just one example of how the school’s social responsibility activities and interests are closely related to those of the parish community. This close relationship is one of the many things which will be lost if the the school closes.”

Head of education, Gordon Currie, said: “The proposals would mean establishing a new school, where there is no reason why this excellent work could not continue.

“The council welcome and encourage the continuing relationship the school has with Mitsidi Primary.”