The town of Embulbul is situated just outside greater
Nairobi, one degree south of the equator, at an altitude of 5500 ft. Fr Kevin McGarry was Parish Priest in Embulul for 8 years and during this time he accomplished an extraordinary transformation. He built a series of fine buildings - Counselling Centre, Dispensary, Presbytery, Convent and Church. He also commenced an education program.
Establishment of Schools
What began as a spiritual education, as a way to find and experience the presence of God and to express the knowledge learned, has blossomed into a forest of different types and modes of education affecting people of all ages. Out of their need to grow spiritually it was realized that there was an urgent need to help people digest and disseminate all that they learned, they needed to teach them different skills not only to understand but to be able to share all that they learned with others. The church would call this evangelization. Fr. Kevin McGarry wrote the following about the start of the primary school;
“The primary school for street children was opened on Monday 17th July 2000. On the first day 128 children registered, on Tuesday morning another 120 children registered; when we reached 300 we stopped registration. These children were the poorest of the poor. Many of them were between the ages of 8 and 13 years, mostly girls, who had never been to school for even a day in their lives. The volunteers who worked as teachers did a fantastic job. Only one was a trained teacher, some of the others had left school with only a primary education. The nursery school was started at the same time as the school for street children. Its main purpose was to prepare the poor and underprivileged children to enter primary education. We realized that when the poor started school they were at a disadvantage to those who could afford to go to private nursery schools.”
Fr McGarry, had been taught by the Christian Brothers when he was a youth in Ireland; he was so appreciative of the education he received that he named the schools he founded in Embulbul after one of his teachers– Br Thomas Finbar Beausang; he also successfully sought the Christian Brothers to administer the schools. There are striking parallels between the initiatives taken by Kevin McGarry in Embulbul 2000 with those of Edmund Rice in
Not for Profit
Kenya is one of a small number of countries where some primary and secondary schools are run for profit. Beausang certainly was not established to make a profit, and in fact, in its first two years, had to be heavily subsidized by the Parish in order to continue its work. The school accounts are audited by the Diocesan auditors, and are available for inspection. Again, Kevin McGarry’s description of the foundation is revealing
- June 2000 - Fr Kevin McGarry established an
Primary school. Certainly the provision of a substantial meal in the middle of day was a huge attraction.
- January 2002 -
Primary Schoolwas established and gained registration
- January 2004 - Secondary School was established in tin sheds (two Form One Classes and 5 teachers);
- 2004 - Master Plan was commissioned on a very ambitious scale
- January 2006 - Christian Brothers assumed management of Centre, with Br Laurie Collins as Principal.
- October 2007- First KCSE candidates were presented, sat for their examinations in the new building, and performing creditably)
- 2008 - Secondary school relocated to new site; a third stream introduced in Form One.
- Resource block constituting of a science laboratory and a library has been built.
Fr. Mc Garry’s vision for the secondary school incorporated the following elements
- Assist the local youth, the majority of whom are very needy, who otherwise had little chance of a secondary education
- Develop quality buildings and quality programs
- Establish a Strong Christian ethos
- Provide a Comprehensive education, which would meet their real needs encourage independent and creative thinkers.
In summary he planned the best possible school for the local poor; it was not to have a boarding component, as it was intended for locals, not the elite or the well to do. I believe the main reason so many sponsors support us because of this vision of catering for the needy to the needy, not elite.