Aquinoe Learning Centre

Newsletter 2010

Newsletter 2010

It’s been another amazing year, especially for the trustees, who visited the school at their own expense in May.  They kept their personal belongings to a minimum allowing a large amount of their baggage allowance to be used to take out donated items – sports kit & equipment, books and items for cataloguing and preparing books for a lending system.  

The trip was brilliant as we were able to see first hand all of the new buildings and equipment which the supporters of the charity have helped provide since the last visit in 2007.  It was the first time Linda, along with her husband, Chris, had visited so it was particularly exciting for her to meet the pupils, staff and Josphat, and also see the layout and fabric of the school.  The welcome ceremony was emotional for Linda as it was clear that a huge amount of
planning had been put in and she was asked officially to open the special needs building, naming it the Linda Resource Centre.  

Too late for last year’s newsletter were several events organised by or connected to Tina – a Pampered Chef event (£123 raised), a Christmas raffle (£163) and several events at which she sold her aprons.  Tina’s sixtieth birthday was celebrated in December, raising £1,035, as she requested donations instead of presents.  

2010 began with an overhaul of the website by Ed, Jean’s son-in-law, who set up a completely new system, and a very good website has become a brilliant one, which is informative and easy to navigate.

February saw Simon spend some time at ALC as a volunteer and Alex, his girlfriend, joined him there for a week at the end of his stint.  He spent most of his time working with Nicholas, the physiotherapist, and Sarah, the special needs teacher, and felt they were both doing outstanding work in challenging conditions.   He was most impressed with the demeanour of the pupils who smiled a lot and were genuinely happy to be at school.

The Second Alton Boys’ Brigade and Anchor Boys have raised more money for Aquinoe this year.  They held a sponsored event called “Lend a Hand”, the boys taking part in games requiring the use of hands and/or feet e.g. bouncing a ball, throwing/catching and dribbling a ball.  £188 was donated to Aquinoe.

In April Dave took part in the Paddock Wood half-marathon and donated sponsor money of £480 to the ALC.  It was his first race of that length and he was pleased with his time of two hours and twenty eight minutes.  
Dave was able to give another large sum of money in June when his sixty-fifth birthday raised £1,440 for the charity as he requested donations instead of birthday presents.  

Whilst in Mombasa, after their visit to the school in Kitale, Linda and Chris met Joe and Karin who became interested in the charity and decided to do something to help.  In June they organised a petanque competition to celebrate Karin’s birthday, which raised €155.

Margaret is an old school friend and has been propagating plants for sale for the last eighteen years.  In the spring and summer she attends many events where she sells her plants and this year decided to donate the proceeds, totalling £140, from one of these sales, to Aquinoe.

In August Chris and Paul again organised a sponsored walk, this time between Milford and Haslemere in Surrey in aid of Aquinoe.  They were joined by fourteen friends and raised £112.   

Once again, Tina has extended her range of goods for sale and now makes aprons for adults, tabards and aprons for children and scarves as well as the cloth and PVC bags which have been in her repertoire for some time.  Altogether these sales have raised £2,955 for Aquinoe Learning Centre.

The charity has been very lucky in securing funding from Cambridge University Southern Africa Fund for Education of £688.50 from St John’s College (for physiotherapy equipment) and £668.50 from Trinity Hall (for furnishing the new dormitory for young pupils).  We also received a £500 donation from Tunbridge Wells Lions to buy a generator so that the school would have electricity when the local power supply fails.    

We have continued to sell donated goods at both outdoor and indoor bootfairs, raising £676 during the last year.  This has all been possible through donations of unwanted goods by friends and colleagues.  

Since the trip to Kenya in May, Tina has produced a talk illustrated with photographs and movie clips which she has presented to the Rotary Club and Fifty Plus Group in Crieff.  Both were successful and £700 has been raised from these events.

September saw the arrival at the Aquinoe Learning Centre of fifteen large boxes of books, weighing five hundred and thirty five kilograms, a huge donation from the charity, Books Abroad.

The sixth 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 and to all who donated raffle prizes.  The evening raised £647 altogether.

Stanley and Linda, two staunch supporters of the charity got married in August, but waited until November before celebrating with a party.  They suggested that friends might like to donate to Aquinoe rather than buy wedding presents.  At the time of print we have no more details but offer many thanks for their generosity.

Over the last financial year £14,325 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 in addition to our fundraising activities.   The trustees would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all who donated money or goods or helped in any other way with all of the activities mentioned above.

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:

monthly salary for the physiotherapist;            
monthly salary for the tailor and assistant
monthly salary for the computer teachers;        
monthly salary for the librarian;
new dormitory & furnishings for youngest pupils;        
books and shelving;                     
water pump & tanks;
physiotherapy and special needs equipment;        
mosquito nets;
architect’s plans  – necessary for the new buildings;    
food – supplementing supplies due to spiralling costs;    
first aid kit.

With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Jean Thompson        
Tina Panton            
Linda Baverstock