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.
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 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.
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 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!
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.
A cheque for £500 from the Monymusk Thrift Shop (to fund physiotherapy equipment) arrived today (11th March) – see post 2nd March:
With it, came a super letter:
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:
We hope for a photo like this at the end!
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.
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:
Damacline, the physiotherapist who joined the school in 2018, was delighted when she heard the news.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.