Mandy Cooper writes:
We are 3 generations of the same family making a one off trip across Africa and stopping at six children’s charities along the way. Before we left we did some fund raising and also brought along items that we could donate along the way.
Aquinoe Learning Centre was the 4th charity which we visited. As ever, we wished we could do more. The Director of the school, Josphat, met us in town and guided us to the school where we were given a warm welcome by the Headmaster, staff and pupils. Compared to other schools we have visited class sizes were small and all the children did have somewhere to sit and work. They also had a small outdoor play area. The ethos of integrating children with a disability is rare in Africa so it was wonderful to see at least some of the special needs children sitting with their peers in the classrooms.
As ever shortage of funds was apparent – not enough beds for all the children to have their own, lack of dry storage for clothes, a complete mud bath outside due to lack of paths are just a few examples.
Prior to our visit we had written to the Director to determine his needs and we had been asked to donate some food – maize and beans. The cost of living in Kenya has increased dramatically in the last year and so the school was finding it difficult to feed the children. Only the boarders ate at lunchtime. Children who lived nearby went home but others just had to do without as there was no money to pay for this.
When we arrived the school had been disconnected from electricity because of non payment of bills so we agreed to donate an amount to get this reconnected as well as a sum towards the water account.
In all we passed on the following:
20 bags maize
5 bags beans
Ksh 37,000 towards water and electricity accounts
Footballs, skipping ropes, hoops
Assorted small “noise” toys for the younger children with a disability
Two trikes that could be used for leg strengthening excercise
Misc educational items, toilet rolls
It is certainly a school to be admired for its desire to integrate special needs children but needs every support possible.
A huge thank you to Josphat and staff for making us so welcome.