Stories of Transformation in Sathya Sai Schools of South Africa and Kenya
The SSIO Education Committee sent a small team to South Africa (SA) and Kenya in June/July 2017 to conduct accreditation visits to Sathya Sai Schools. SA schools are located in Lenasia South near Johannesburg, Newcastle two hours south of Johannesburg, and Chatsworth in the Durban area on the south coast. In Kenya the team visited the Sathya Sai School in Kisaju south of Nairobi. The team also unofficially briefly visited a Sathya Sai School in Uthiru, in Nairobi.
Sathya Sai Schools endeavour to bring out human excellence in students in secular or academic education and in spiritual or values- based education. A remarkable feature of the visits to these African schools is the palpable sense of love and harmony that exists on campus. Comments describing the environment of love were made by multiple parents, school staff members, and students across all schools. Contributing to the sense of peace on campus is the transformation occurring in students, staff, and parents in each location. Here are a few stories of transformation, including descriptions of the presence of Sai Baba.
In the shantytown near the school in Newcastle, one mother reported her primary age daughter has taken to teaching human values to children in the neighbourhood. The children now wait for her to return from school to hear what she has learned that day. Similar stories were heard in Uthiru. Stories were frequent that children by their example teach the parents to talk quietly, pray at meals, and not to fight. Kisaju is a residential school for boys. Many Kisaju parents report that their boys when home on inter-term break, no longer roam the neighbourhoods with other boys as they did previously. Instead the boys prefer to stay home helping the parents take care of the house. The boys make their own beds and straighten their rooms.
A teacher in a government school in Newcastle is a devotee of Sai Baba and has photos of Him hanging behind her desk. There is a particularly troublesome boy in her class. One day she said the boy came up to her, and pointing at the photos of Baba on the wall, and said “Your God came in my dream. He patted me on the head. He told me to be a good boy and not to give the teacher any trouble.” Then the boy said as he went to get his chair, “So I am going to get my chair and bring it down right by your desk and write my exam here today.”
In Chatsworth a high school girl gave a speech describing how fortunate she is to attend the Sathya Sai School. After attending the school for some time she told how she had left the school to attend a public secondary school on the request of her late mother, but soon became very depressed and requested transfer back to the Sathya Sai School.
The reputation of Sathya Sai students in these schools has spread to neighbouring government schools. Education officials in Chatsworth area and in Kisaju are organising to obtain training in Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) for government teachers. In Kisaju nearby private schools have sent their students and teachers to the Kisaju campus for awareness training.
At each Sathya Sai School the team interviewed all staff members in small groups. In Lenasia South a support staff member came back after the interview to tell he had suffered from epilepsy with intense migraine headaches. One day he requested permission to go home early and lie down due to his headache. He is not a follower of Sai Baba. He said that Sai Baba came in his dream, put His hand on his head, the headache went away, and has never come back.
Sathya Sai Schools are surely part of Sai Baba’s Mission to reestablish dharma (righteousness) in the world and transform lives, including people who are not necessarily Sai devotees. The human value teachings of Sathya Sai Baba expand outward from His educational institutes in many ways, as shared in this article.