The Orthodox Institute of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Ahépé

The educational structures in Ahépé         

The Ahépé village, in South-Eastern Togo is 80 km away from the capital, Lomé, and is part of the Yoto prefecture. The village community around Ahépé has 50.000 inhabitants. The main activity in the region is agriculture.

Ahépé has two primary schools, a General and Secular School and a public High School.

Students lack references in the cultural domain because there is  no library or any cultural and educational infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why the completion rate for children in this region as  low as 25% for all classes (for the year 2005-2006) and why so many of them drop out of school, after repeated failures. The completion rate in better equipped regions of the country is of 75%.

A primary school and a Secondary College in Ahépé

The recently established Orthodox Church in Togo(Septmeber 2005)  has been offered a one hectare (10.000m2) piece of land in Ahépé. This land was offered by local chiefs and dignitaries who have recently converted to Orthodoxy. With the benediction of its bishop, Monsignor Alexandros,  Metropolitan of the Nigerian Archdiocese, the Church has launched the project of building a parish on this land. This parish will be under the protection of the Mother of God and it will be called “The Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God”. Its role is to cater, at the population’s demand, to the need for schooling of the children in the region. The Orthodox Church has in fact started building a primary and a general school, both  within the “The Orthodox Institute of the Dormition of the Mother of God “, in August 2008.

The Orthodox Church is still young and can not cover the cost of all of these projects on its own. Therefore, it needs to be helped in its missionary work and its educational projects which aim at educating children in the region and providing them with teachings and a cultural basis which respect faith and put it at the center of human life.

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Our missionary work is meant to offer reference points to young people in Togo and to help them fight against fear and doubt in a changing world that does not offer any clear guidelines. It is thus meant to help  young people reach their full potential and find their place in society. It would also like to help them find satisfying answers to their quest for the truth in the Christian Revelation.

The current buildings of the primary and the secondary college

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The donations received by the Orthodox Church in Togo have enabled the buidling of a hangar (a brick building open on three sides called “appatam”) fitted with school desks. This houses 1st and 2nd grade classes. The donations have also enabled the construction of six other classes which should be operational at the beginning of the school year 2012-2013. The Institute would need further funding to complete, in the future, the whole school complex and therefore to build the remaining classes for the primary and secondary schools.

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 The construction of the school buildings (March 2012)

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In practical terms :

We would like the Orthodox Institute of Our Lady’s Dormition to dispose of the means that would enable it to offer to the young people in the region an environment of educational, social and cultural development. The Institute intends to help young people gain :

  • a better understanding of the world and its cultural diversity, which will guarantee the tolerance, respect and acceptance of others,
  • an attitude of respect and protection towards nature and a wish to safeguard it,
  • the ability to express themselves freely and assert their own convictions and faith while respecting the opinions of others,
  • awareness of the crisis that affect the world’s affairs, in order to better contribute to finding solutions to issues.

In order to accomplish this, we need to build not only school buildings, but also a library covering a wide cultural range, with books which can either be borrowed or read on the premises. The library should also offer cultural animations such as film or documentary projections.

In August 2012, the students and teachers in Ahépé were sent a first shipment of about a thousand books and text books for the elementary and secondary schools. These were collected in France, in institutions in the Yvelines department and the Ile-de-France region and also thanks to generous donators. Another one of the Institute’s projects is to establish a sports and outdoor leisure field.