Aquinoe Learning Centre

Newsletter 2011

Newsletter 2011

The year has whizzed by and it doesn’t seem possible that it’s time to write another newsletter.  The last twelve months have, once again, been good for the Aquinoe Learning Centre – in terms of the school in Kitale and the charity here in the UK.
Tina has continued to give illustrated talks to local groups and in March spoke to the Ladies at the Crieff Baptist Church Women’s Fellowship, raising £209 in donations and sales.  Her creative flair has also been in evidence during the year and she raised £250 at the Crieff Crafters’ Fair in May.

We were delighted to have the services of another volunteer at the school this year.  Jade arrived at the beginning of June to start her stint of volunteering at Aquinoe.  What a fantastic asset she was, teaching the younger children and taking them out on trips.  She is an experienced teacher with plenty of curriculum ideas and was able to pass on a lot of knowledge and ideas.  She came back to the UK in August and hopes to return to Kenya next year to do some Early Years training with staff at Aquinoe, as well as reacquaint herself with some of the children she really loved.

June also saw a new fundraising event, a golf day organised by Chris (Linda’s husband) and played at Dale Hill Golf Club with local friends.  The day raised £191, including £50 for bunker shot penalties!

Dave (Jean’s husband) and daughter, Marie, participated in the Great North Run – yes, the televised event – in Newcastle in September.  It’s a half marathon, and both athletes had run many, many miles in training for the day.  Jean tagged along too, not as a runner but with camera in hand, to support and cheer them (along with the other participants) on their way.  Between the two of them they raised the wonderful total of £1,200.

Donated goods still make their way into Linda and Jean’s garages, which are stored until the next bootfair, outdoor ones in summer and indoor ones in Five Oak Green in winter.  These have raised over £700 during the last year, all made possible through donations of unwanted goods by friends and colleagues.  It’s tough packing up the cars and making our way to the various venues early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but once there with the stalls set up, we have good fun and enjoy the atmosphere while making new friends. Without these donations from friends and family, we would not be able to raise funds in this way, so we are truly grateful to everyone.

In November the quiz was held once again at Groombridge St Thomas’ Primary School.  It was the seventh of these events and was as enjoyable and successful as ever, raising £878.  An innovation was an auction for a three to four day break at Holme Lacy (Warner Leisure Hotel).  What a fantastic donation!  Many thanks to all the participants for their support.  We are very grateful to the school for letting us have the facilities free of charge and to all who donated prizes.

Another November highlight was the arrival of the Cooper family in Kitale.  The family is made up of three generations who were travelling through Africa from south to north and stopping off at various pre-arranged locations on the way to provide goods and supplies.   They run a centre in Dorset which caters for groups of young people and had suggested that these groups might like to help others less fortunate than themselves in certain African countries.  This could be done by donating to a central fund which would be distributed by the family while en route.  They had seen our charity displayed on the ”Stuff Your Rucksack” website and invited us to participate.  This sounded great so we quickly agreed and when the Coopers visited the school they made some valuable contributions and donations, and also wrote an article which can be seen on our website.

A new departure this year for Aquinoe has been signing up to Twitter.  

£17,446.86 was raised over the last financial year, a truly magnificent amount, especially considering the current economic climate.   Our supporters and friends have continued to give generously, both in specific sponsorship for particularly needy pupils, and general sponsorship for the school, in addition to support for our fundraising activities.   The trustees are hugely grateful to all who have helped the Aquinoe cause in any way during the year – by donating money, goods or time and by all of the support we have received.  

When we look at the appearance of the school now and compare it to what it     looked like in 2004, we know that the lives of pupils and staff have been improved considerably.  Funding in the last year has been able to provide for the following:

monthly salary for the physiotherapist        
monthly salary for the computer teachers    
monthly salary for the tailor and assistant
monthly salary for the librarian    
purchase of land adjoining school for extra space        
completion of baby dormitory
tiles for dormitory and classroom floors
lockers and chairs
food – supplementing supplies

With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Jean Thompson            
Tina Panton           
Linda Baverstock