We received a long email from Jade today with all sorts of information. She writes:
I wanted to email you all as term finished for the children yesterday.
The end of term was good and the children were all excited to go on holiday. Having worked with Baby Class, Middle Class and Pre-unit I have got to know the children pretty well. This has allowed me to pick out four who are either struggling or could do with some extra input. There are two boys and two girls and on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th I will be running some catch up sessions for them. The aim is to re-enforce and/or extend what they have learnt this year and also for them to be engaged and challenged. I am hoping to take them to the disabled animal sanctuary I visited with Cindy and Rachel.
On the subject of children who need some extra support I have decided to begin sponsoring a child in Baby Class from September 2011. His name is Freddie Ratandi Kesomi. He was born on 8th February 2007 and is the youngest of seven children. The mother has very little money as the father threw her out of the house some time ago and does not make any financial contribution. One of her elder daughters suffers from a back problem brought about by a fall which also leads to extra financial problems. Freddie is a bright, affectionate and able child who is articulate (he very much enjoys conducting long conversations with me and does not seem at all put off by my incredibly basic Kiswahili!) who is really interested in picture and drawing.
Freddie and his family were introduced to Josphat by a neighbour and, once he learned of their situation, they were allowed to attend the school for free. In reality, however, as you are obviously aware no one really attends for ‘free.’ Freddie still needs exercise books, porridge for his snack, pencils etc, all of which are paid for by the school which inevitably has a knock on effect on the resources available for the whole school. Because of the cost of school meals Freddie has to walk home at lunch which means taking a 15/20 minute walk along a rough road four times a day for a three and a half year old not to mention crossing a busy road twice with teachers but twice alone.
I have met so many children who I’ve wanted to do something little for; buy a book or a pair of shoes but the problem has always been for me that the only person this would benefit is the individual child. In order to provide Freddie with everything he needs for a year (school fees, uniform and school lunches) I would need to pay the equivalent of around 70 pounds. I am unlikely (as an MA student next year) to have lots of money but this would average around 5 pounds a month which is around the price of a coffee and biscuit in London! By sponsoring a child like Freddie I can free up resources for Aquinoe to spend on basics and also helping other children who cannot afford fees. Josphat organised a meeting this morning with the mother and the management team. She was incredibly pleased and I was really happy to feel like I could make such a difference with such a small gesture.
Josphat and I have also discussed the possibility of me returning to Aquinoe again sometime next year (with the most heavy duty malaria tablets known to man) to conduct an early years teacher training course. I am going to look into funding it through the Winston Churchill fund. This is all hypothetical right now and depends on a variety of factors but I will keep you posted.
Hope everyone there is well. Can’t believe I’ll be back in two weeks!