Aquinoe Learning Centre

The News

Sarah Fuamba

The trustees received the shocking news of the death of Sarah Fuamba over the weekend.

Sarah had been at the Aquinoe Learning Centre for seventeen years and was dedicated to teaching and caring for all of the children with special needs at the school, whatever their difficulties.

Jean first met Sarah fifteen years ago and counted her as a friend.

She has always been compassionate, calm and considerate, and many children have benefited from these attributes. Recently she took on further training, and was awarded a diploma in special education.

The charity trustees send their condolences to Sarah’s family, at this distressing time.

Song and Dance

Jean met Baljit, who will be taking up a placement at Aquinoe in 2020, in London.

Baljit is in the process of doing a PhD at the University of Sussex and has exciting plans for for Aquinoe.

She will be going to the school for three months.

Part of her plan states the following:

“The structure of this project would involve 3 groups of children aged between 8-13 years old. The groups of children will make a joint decision as to whether they would like to:

 

  • Construct a song using various materials/resources and instruments available to them
  • Perform a dance to the music that group 1 have created
  • Write lyrics to the music that group 1 have created.

 

The overarching aim would be to put on a final set of performances in the final month of the placement to the school and/or the community depending on the capacity of the audience and the venue required to cater for this.”

 

What an exciting prospect!

Crieff Baptist Church donation

Crieff Baptist Church

Crieff Baptist Churchcc-by-sa/2.0 – © Bill Boaden – geograph.org.uk/p/3575497

The Aquinoe Learning Centre Charitable Trust has received a donation from Crieff Baptist Church which will be used to purchase musical instruments.  These will not only be used in the school itself, but also for Christian services which are held in the school on Sundays.

Thank you so much to the congregation and elders of the church.

Magnificent Masks and Excellent Eggs

The pupils of Colston Bassett Preparatory School have been enjoying Africa Week.

This has included two competitions, the pupils creating African masks and painting eggs.  The results were on show in the playground and Jean and Dave were really impressed at the creative talents on display.

Jean had the unenviable task of choosing winners in both categories, a really difficult job as there were so many worthy entries, before J and F were presented with their Easter eggs prizes.

The pupils, staff and parents at Colston Bassett have generously been donating to the Aquinoe Learning Centre charity for several years and always invite Jean and Dave to the school to speak about developments at the school in Kitale (Kenya) that the charity supports. Jean was able to display slides showing:

  • Improvements in buildings and classrooms over the years
  • What projects the charity has been able to fund over the last year
  • How the most recent Colston Bassett money was spent – providing table tennis equipment and quoits
  • How volunteers visiting the school in the coming year will make a difference

Jean also pointed out that it is not always big projects that are appreciated at Aquinoe.  Sometimes, the charity sends items like therabands or clothes pegs, as these can be used in the physiotherapy department as exercising equipment for some of the children with disabilities.  Pencils and crayons are also useful as there is always a shortage of these in classrooms.

At break time, B presented Jean with bundles of pencils from a huge collection which he had won in a competition.  What a lovely thought!  We will ask the next volunteer going to the Aquinoe to take the pencils with them.

Colston Bassett Africa Week

Colston Bassett School has raised funds for Aquinoe on several occasions in the last few years.

The pupils have organised cake sales, participated in a swimathon, taken part in competitions, and thought of a plethora of other ways of fund-raising.

Jean and Dave are travelling to Colston Bassett again on Wednesday 27th March ready for a session with the pupils on Thursday.

We’re very excited!

Patrick Posts Half-Marathon Personal Best, Raises over £600 for Aquinoe

Jean’s son Patrick battled to a brilliant personal best time of one hour 54 minutes 36 seconds when fund-raising over £600 for the Aquinoe charity in the Reading half marathon on Sunday.
On a breezy, chilly morning, 40-year-old Patrick, who works in Reading for a legal firm**, who have kindly donated £250, shrugged off old injuries and niggles to make it up a stiff uphill finish to the town’s Madejski football stadium.  Once inside he sprinted the final 100 metres to the finishing line.
His time placed him 3,246th in a field of over 12,000, a fantastic result which thrilled his support team — Patrick’s wife Helena, daughter Grace, 13 this coming Thursday, Jean and husband Dave.
They were all there at the seven-mile marker in the town centre and then, courtesy of a shuttle bus service, made it to the stadium just in time to see the big finish.
Patrick says: “It was the toughest run I’ve ever done but well worth it to help Aquinoe in a small way.
“The atmosphere was fantastic and the support inspirational. I may even be tempted to do another half marathon!”
Helena says: “It was great to see Patrick’s face light up when he spotted us spurring him on.
“There was a real buzz amongst the spectators – community spirit at its best.”
Grace says: “It was cool seeing Patty running into the stadium and doing a sprint finish and seeing him at the 7 mile mark and giving him a big high five! I was proud of him.”
Jean says: “It was great to see Patrick enter the stadium and acknowledge his fans in the stands, and what a privilege it was to be part of his cheering support team!  I am delighted he has been able to raise so much money for the Aquinoe Learning Centre.”
Dave says: “Such charity events are always so uplifting in a world where negatives often abound and to see Patrick sprinting up the straight after such an heroic effort was a real joy.”
Patrick’s run received even wider recognition later on Magic Radio who were asking listeners that evening to contact them and say what had made them particularly happy and proud that day.
Helena swiftly texted, sharing Patrick’s feat even wider.
Magic!
**  Patrick works in the the centre of Reading for Blake Morgan, a leading law firm with six offices in South England and Wales.
The firm offers a match-funding scheme for some charity events involving their employees, up to £250, which has very generously been awarded to Patrick for the Aquinoe Learning Centre.
The trustees are extremely grateful to Blake Morgan.

Another Fantastic Donation

The Aquinoe Learning Centre has been incredibly lucky once again.

St Giles Church in Shipbourne has sent another cheque for £500.

The trustees would like to spend this money on water purification measures, if possible, and maybe some more rainwater harvesting equipment on the buildings which don’t have that facility already.

Many, many thanks to all at St Giles.

 

Funds for Physiotherapy continued …

A cheque for £500 from the Monymusk Thrift Shop (to fund physiotherapy equipment) arrived today (11th March) – see post 2nd March:

https://www.aquinoe.org/2019/03/funds-for-physiotherapy/

With it, came a super letter:

Sports Day

Pupils from Aquinoe have been participating in the local inter-county schools athletics competition.

They look great in the sports kit sent by the Cherry Beach Football Club in Toronto and are proud to represent the school.

 

Patrick runs for Aquinoe

Patrick will be participating in the Reading Half Marathon on Sunday 17th March, St Patrick’s Day! How appropriate is that!

Having had to pull out of the event last year due to injury a couple of weeks before the big day, he is keen show just how well he can do!

Training has been going well in the last few weeks.

If you would like to sponsor Patrick, please donate by making a transfer to the charity account, or checking the following:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?campaignId=7937&charityId=1016205

We hope for a photo like this at the end!

 

Canadian student to do research at Aquinoe?

Jean and Tina met Kendra, a Canadian, in London on Thursday 7th March.  She is studying disability in education, particularly in East Africa and we discussed the possibility of her going to Aquinoe to continue her research there.

Kendra hails from Toronto and is doing the third of her four years course at Brunel, a top university in West London.

Funds for Physiotherapy

This week the Aquinoe Learning Centre has been awarded £500 towards some much needed equipment for the physiotherapy department.

The donation was agreed at a committee meeting of the Thrift Shop in the village of Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, and the trustees are incredibly grateful.

This wonderful donation will be able to purchase the following items:

Wheelchair

Static bicycle

Tilt board

Floor mat

Cervical orthotic

Knee orthotic

Ankle orthotic

Foot orthotic

Damacline, the physiotherapist who joined the school in 2018, was delighted when she heard the news.

 

Exciting Project has Potential

Jean, Suzanne, Bryony, Ellie and Min met at the Wellcome Collection in London on Monday to discuss the possibility of an exciting project involving colour tents, art, science and film in relation to Aquinoe.

Suzanne is a recognised expert in colour tents, which can be used as a way of cutting out extraneous sights and sounds, allowing the person inside to focus on one thing. With repetition (sometimes a great deal!) the person’s brain can develop in new ways.  Some children with cerebral visual impairment who were, in effect, treated as being blind, can use the tents to develop some sight By stimulating the visual pathways to the brain. Other basic skills may then be taught as well.

See https://www.aquinoe.org/2018/01/new-equipment-for-aquinoe/

As well as providing stimulation, the tents can also be used as a calming therapy, so children who are stressed or agitated, can find solace.

Under Suzanne’s guidance, Jean and Min took tent equipment to Aquinoe in February 2018.

The whole of that trip, including details of the colour tents are within Jean’s blog, see https://jeaninkenya2018.wordpress.com/page/1/

Min is an old friend, who Jean was introduced to in Zambia in 1971. It was her friendship with Bryony that started the seeds of this art/science collaborative project, which hopefully will involve both staff and pupils at Aquinoe (and maybe members of the local community, including parents too).

Bryony is an artist and environmental campaigner – see

http://bryonyandbloom.com/

Ellie is a documentary film-maker and conservationist, who has collaborated with Bryony before. She has worked in many locations in a variety of fields.

http://www.elliemackay.com/about.html

The trustees of the Aquinoe Learning Centre are honoured that these two dynamic women are looking at ways of attracting funds to allow them to go to Aquinoe to carry out their project.

Physiotherapist at Work

Damacline, the physiotherapist at Aquinoe, works with some of special needs children.

 

Staff at Aquinoe

Staff group pose for photos after meetings before the start of term last week.

  

Sara – Special Needs Teacher

Sara, the Special Needs Teacher at Aquinoe continues to work with several pupils at the school, both individually and in small groups.

    

Quoits at Aquinoe

Pupils have returned for the new school year at Aquinoe.

There are now one hundred and thirty four children at the school.

In their leisure time they are enjoying playing quoits outside and table tennis inside.

    

New Headteacher for Aquinoe

The Aquinoe Learning has a new Headteacher, who took up her post last week.

The school has had a female deputy head before, but this is the first time it has had a female head.

She is Linet and has been teaching at Aquinoe for two years.

The charity trustees wish her good luck.

Christmas Festival

Sunday 25th November – Tonbridge Christmas Festival Day, which involves a variety of stalls along the High Street (which is closed to traffic), a parade with marching band, fireworks, entertainment, turning on the Christmas lights and a fun fair.  It is all organised, on an annual basis, by the local Rotary group.

The day was not a great one, weather-wise – in fact, it was cloudy and drizzled for an hour or so, but we continued to man the stall until early evening.

This did not put off the locals from visiting the festival, though, and we had a steady stream of customers at the stall, so we were delighted to raise over £130 for the Aquinoe Learning Centre.

 

It’s a Record!

We’ve just received another £20 for the quiz fund – thank you very much to JM.

This brings the total up to a wonderful £891.04 – the largest amount in the thirteen years we have been holding a quiz.

What wonderful supporters we have.