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No. 44 • January - June 2007 • Page 158
 •  Initiatives

Bodjondè (Togo) -- The Takeli Foundation: Inauguration of a new school

The Takeli Foundation came to birth in Granada, Spain, in 2005. It’s founder, Raymond Dyssyrama Takeli, who lives in Spain, is from Bodjondé, a small Togolese township with 1900 inhabitants. The object of the foundation is to help educate the children of the township.

The foundation has already constructed a primary school and a secondary institute, and has paid the tuition for 451 children. Each student costs annually the equivalent of six dollars, something which, although it seems incredible to Raymond’s Granadan friends, is out of the reach of the people living in Bodjondé. Thanks to donations from several companies, scholarly and sporting material has been provided to the children: notebooks, pencils, schoolbags, and even jerseys and soccer balls.

“I was born into a very large family, with 23 brothers and sisters,” Takeli explained in an interview. “And this left a deep impression on me. But the starting point, the match that ignited the whole idea was a letter I received in Granada from one of my sisters in January 2005. Two of her daughters had been expelled from school because they could not pay the tuition. This made me very sad, since here I was a privileged Togolese living in Granada, with a wonderful wife and two clever girls. My salary as a French teacher does not leave a lot left over, but I decided to do something. Besides, I am a supernumerary of Opus Dei, and have heard many times about the responsibility Christians have in the area of social justice.”

He began by explaining to his own students what six dollars could mean in the African jungle. “One of them said to me: ‘Messié, I can pay for three tuitions.’ And another: ‘As for me, five’ and another; ‘Me, one.’ And another: ‘I’m going to talk to my father.’ And so we began. Later some friends helped me to set up the foundation.”

The motto of the foundation is: “Help, yes. Education, more.” It has received help from commercial firms and public corporations such as the University of Granada, and above all from many individuals. For example, it has been helped by many students and also fathers and mothers at the Mulhacen School (where Raymond teaches), as well as those at other schools.

In 2006, thanks to donations from various entities, a school, a pharmacy (to which boxes of medicine are sent periodically from Spain), and a well to provide clean water began functioning in Bodjondé. On May 28 a secondary school with four classrooms was inaugurated.

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