Festivities were held in Sendivakkam (Tamil Nadu, India) on June 22, 2019 to officially celebrate the name change of the school that the Foundation built some 14 years ago in this remote village located 100 km southwest to Chennai. The RC Higher Secondary School is now called Alfredo Cuomo Higher Secondary School. The renaming procedure pays tribute to the late founder of our philanthropic organization according to the will of whom the school compound was built at a time when the village had only a rudimentary primary school.
Your Excellency, Dear Fathers, Dear Sisters, Dear Teachers, Dear Students, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Coming back to Sendivakkam is always moving for me, as it brings back a lot of memories.
Sendivakkam has a long standing history with helping and educating those in need. Already in 1920, the Catholic Christian Community was present. I only came in 2006 for the first time, with my late husband, Alfredo Cuomo, and since then, never did we stop coming.
The Foundation was not yet an organization, as it is today.
Times were different, everything seemed easier and mostly based upon good will.
I can recall there was a field with cows wandering. It was difficult to imagine that a school, such as Sendivakkam, could come out from nowhere, in this peaceful and wild place.
Fortunately, we met His Excellency, who has helped us and made all possible. I can recall a young priest, Father Anthony, and I can figure the long way he has gone through, when I saw him last month in Rome for his thesis.
Unfortunately, Alfredo passed away some 10 years ago, without seeing all what he had fancied, before it came true.
Many schools, hundreds of students, the scholarships and all of it for these young people whom have been given the opportunity to study and thereby improve their lives. We are all proud of such achievements.
I am sure that my late husband, from where he is, can see all of it.
I am sure that he feels rewarded and proud to have a school named after him. He has given passion, time and money, and shown us the way to go.
“When there is a will, there is a way”, we have followed, with our will, the same way he showed us all.
I wish to thank all of you for this celebration, as his name will remain for ever attached to Education to children, to those in need despite that we are in this place so far away from home.
Education cannot be bought, Education remains when everything else is gone, Education is acting as a wall against violence, racisme, intolerance.
Nothing could be a better reward that naming a school Alfredo Cuomo. I want to thank all of you for this achievement. I hope that these schools will help many generations to come, to grow educated and prepared for this wild world.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU.
– Maria Elena Cuomo
Sendivakkam, June 22, 2019