Since 1978

Two SMB members are active in Kenya, Luigi Clerici teaching Theology and Eugen Birrer in the service of refugees. Both live and work in the capital city, Nairobi.

Luigi Clerici

He has been engaged in the training of priests in Kenya since 1982; at first as a founder-member of the Theological Faculty of the “Apostles of Jesus”, the first African Mission Society that was founded in 1968 by the Italian Comboni missionaries.

By 2014 there were six educational establishments in Nairobi for the education of priests. Over a thirty-year period Fr Luigi Clerici worked part time in all six institutions, teaching five hundred priests, half a dozen of whom later became bishops – as well as a dozen women religious. As the Spiritual Master of the Marist Brothers, he cared for 16 years for about 450 Brothers with temporary vows who are now working as secondary teachers in twelve African nations. Today more than half of them are married.

He provides for a dozen girls from the slums, enabling them to study at a boarding school so that they will be able to earn and provide for a family later. In addition he supports two dozen women who are bringing up their often underfed children alone as their husbands have abandoned them.

Eugen Birrer

After Eugen Birrer had worked between 1980 and 1990 for the UN Refugee Agency in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Somalia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Geneva, he came in 1991 to Kenya and joined the Jesuit Refugee Service. In 1992 the UN Refugee Agency was able to open a wished-for refugee centre to cope with the rush of refugees from Somalia und Ethiopia and later from Sudan.

After the genocide in Ruanda (1994) a great number of refugees came out of the region of the Great Lakes. To help cope with this great rush, an orthopaedic centre for the victims of landmines was built in Kangemi, a township in Nairobi.

In 2000 the activities of the Jesuit Refugee Services were taken over by the Archdiocese of Nairobi. In the same year NARAP (the refugee programme of the Archdiocese of Nairobi), opened a hostel for refugees from the Great Lakes area.

NARAP is registered with the Education Ministry as a trainings institute. At any time it can accept 80 students between the ages of 18 and 30. Most of them come from poor families, some of them are orphans and cannot afford to pay anything towards the cost of their training. Originally the centre was intended only for refugees. Since 2010 young Kenyans have also been accepted and today most students are Kenyans.