Aquinoe Learning Centre

Annual Newsletter 2009

Annual Newsletter 2009

Annual Newsletter 2009

What a lot has happened in the last year and it’s time to write another newsletter. There have been several exciting developments, most of which have resulted in extra funds for the charity.

One of our supporters works for a firm that donates to charities at the end of each year. The chairman asks employees for their ideas, and the Aquinoe Learning Centre Charitable Trust was suggested as a recipient in December 2008 – too late for our newsletter last year. This provided us with an amazing £5,000 which was used to buy extra land for the school.

Tina started sewing bags last year to sell, the proceeds going to Aquinoe and has now extended her repertoire, making two types of cloth bag and a whole range of PVC ones in delightful designs, which altogether have raised over £1,310.


A charity event was held in the Scottish town of Crieff, where a variety of items was offered for sale – bags, scarves, hats, jewellery, orchids, cards and bookmarks, many of which were donated by kind friends. This raised £937.70, which funded two machines for sewing and knitting, more materials and accessories for the tailoring department at the school. Bags have also been sold at the golf club and craft fairs.

A friend celebrating his seventieth birthday asked for donations instead of presents and named Aquinoe as his chosen charity. This raised £580 to be spent on books for a library at the school. Another £1000 was added to this by a keen supporter as further books are still desperately needed. There is no library building at the moment and the trustees are trying to obtain funding to build one, enabling the pupils to read, study and research there.

We are fortunate to have received help from DHL, Crawley, in sending books collected in the UK. The company not only transported the books to Kenya without any cost to us but delivered them directly to the school. What excitement that caused!

There has been a great deal of research into how to obtain more books and Usborne, the publisher, has donated and sent a box of books to Kitale. Frances Lincoln, another publisher, has also agreed to supply some of their children’s books.

The charity, Boots for Africa, has donated fifty pairs of football boots and DHL Sheffield has kindly agreed to transport them to Kitale free of charge.

Another charity, Computers for Africa, has provided some more computers for the school at a nominal cost. What delight amongst the children and staff when they saw the modern flat screen monitors.

Two supporters organised a sponsored walk along the Sussex coast in aid of Aquinoe. They were joined by sixteen friends and raised £100, for which we thank them all.

In July Linda and Jean went to Hampshire to visit the Alton Boys Brigade. They gave a talk, showed pictures and a variety of other items from Kenya. The boys were brilliant and had lots of questions. Later they raised money by holding a sponsored silence and a coffee morning which together produced £180.17 for the school.

Last financial year £16,138.21 was raised for Aquinoe through the kindness of supporters and friends, who have once again given very generously in one-off sums, specific sponsorship for particularly needy pupils, and general sponsorship for the school. We are very grateful to all of these supporters.

Bootfairs have continued as fundraisers and we have just started attending “indoor” bootfairs during the colder months of the year. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed items for these fairs, which have raised nearly £400.

The fifth annual quiz, held in November, took place again at Groombridge St Thomas’ Primary School. We are very grateful to the school for letting us have the facilities free of charge. The weather was as bad as last year, but many people turned out and contributed to another success, £500 being raised. We would like to thank everyone who came and those who provided raffle prizes.

We are very grateful to Adrian who has spent over a month volunteering at the school, providing some excellent support, and he has clearly enjoyed his time with the children and staff.

We believe that the Aquinoe charity has been able to make a big difference to the lives of pupils and staff at the school with the new buildings and other items we have been able to provide, including:

  • new classrooms;

  • monthly salary for the physiotherapist;

  • monthly salary for the tailor and assistant;

  • monthly salary for the computer teachers;

  • beds for the boys’ dormitory;

  • books and shelving;

  • paint – to complete the decoration of buildings;

  • water conservation measures – including gutters, pipes and tank;

  • toilets;

  • architect’s plans – necessary for the new buildings;

  • food – supplementing supplies due to spiralling costs.

The trustees look forward to their visit to the school in May 2010 and seeing first hand all the changes that have been made possible through the generosity of supporters.

For more details of the school and all of the events above please go to:

With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Jean Thompson

Tina Panton

Linda Baverstock

P.S. We have just received a cheque for £300 from the Just Trust out of the blue. Many thanks!