By PATRICK BEJA
Situated at the intersection between Archbishop Makarios and Liwatoni roads is the Sacred Heart school, Mombasa. We arrived at the Goan school recently during the feast of the sacred heart of Jesus.
Teachers told us they dedicate this day every year to prayer. A mass is presided over by priests within the school.
The primary and secondary schools were established in 1932 by Goans to provide education to the community, which was then sending its children to boarding schools in Goa, India.
In the process, many women were forced to relocate to Goa to take care of their children. This kept them away from their husbands and other family members working in Kenya.
The wind of political change in 1961, however, completely transformed the community school. Even the name had to be changed to Sacred Heart. The Africanisation programme and its uncertainty made many Indians leave the country. The community handed over the public school to the Catholic Church in Mombasa.
“The Goan school has been a centre of excellence in the academic landscape because it had graduate teachers from Goa. Many of the students later trained in India and elsewhere and dominated the fields of law and medicine in Kenya,” says a member of the Goan community in Mombasa who preferred to remain anonymous.
Andrew Abreu, a Goan businessman and former student of the school, says the institution was once popular and attracted many students due to its association with the prominent Goan educationists.
Both the primary and secondary wings are burdened by the growing number of learners.
The school was born after the then Mombasa Liwali (ruler) Sir Ali bin Salim gave the Goan community land and laid the foundation stone for its construction on August 14, 1932.
At one point, the Portuguese funded the expansion of the school.