Aquinoe Learning Centre

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.


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

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.

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.

From Kakuma to international star

The link below is to a football story!

It shows (in a small way) what conditions are like in Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya.

Kakuma camp is where several of the South Sudanese pupils at Aquinoe go “home” for the holidays.

We are fortunate that several supporters sponsor children from the camp but we are always trying to help more of the thousands of children in the camp.


Class Eight pupils at Aquinoe Learning Centre have now completed their National exams, along with others in primary schools across Kenya.

We wish them well.

Results will be announced by the end of November so that selection for secondary schools can be completed before the new term starts in January 2019.


Talk about Aquinoe

Last year St Giles church in Shipbourne (near Tonbridge in Kent) gave generously towards the water harvesting project at Aquinoe.

On Sunday Jean gave a talk during the family service to let the congregation know a little more about the school and charity and also show them photos of the equipment used for the water harvesting project.



Successful quiz 2018

The annual fundraising quiz raised a wonderful total of almost £800 for the Aquinoe Learning Centre at the weekend.

Despite a couple of setbacks over the question papers, the general mood in the Capel Village Hall was upbeat and the competitors all seemed to enjoy themselves.

The “Hungovers” were the eventual winners with a total of 106 points, after a really close contest, with “Let’s Get Quizzical” just half a point behind.

As ever, we were lucky to have local companies and individuals providing prizes for the raffle, and competitors were really generous in buying tickets.

Many thanks to Portmeirion, Barsleys, Capel Country Garden, Five Oak Green Stores, Five Oak Green Service Station and Homecare  for their generosity, as well as many personal friends.

We were also very grateful to Olwyn, long time supporter of the charity, for creating two paintings which were auctioned during the evening and raised £125.   Thank you Jon for your auctioneer skills.

Thanks also to Jeff for the loan of audio equipment and for setting it up.

Setting up of the hall could not have been done without the help  trustees and spouses – so thanks to them as well.


Quiz date!

Our major fundraiser for the Aquinoe Learning Centre – the annual quiz will be held in less than a fortnight.  Preparations are all complete.

Details are as follows:

Saturday 27th October
Capel Village Hall,
Falmouth Place,
Five Oak Green,
TN12 6RD
Doors open at 19:00 ready for start at 19:30
4-6 people per team
Nibbles provided, but bring your own drink and glasses
Entry fee:
£5 per person
Come along if you can – we’d love to see you.
You can join others in a similar situation if you don’t have a full team.

Uno is a Hit!

It’s half term for day pupils at Aquinoe, but the boarders are still at school.

Alexa and Jenny have taken in the card game Uno and have taught the children how to play.  They love it!


Volunteers’ Visit to Hairdresser

Alexa and Jenny have taken a well-earned break from their heavy schedule at Aquinoe to emphasise their mzungu look at the hairdresser, before taking a trip to the supermarket.

Charity benefits from sales of plants

MB and JB, longstanding supporters of the Aquinoe Learning Centre, have made another generous donation to the charity.

M is a horticulturalist who always propagates more than she needs for her garden and passes on extra produce at her garden gate.

The latest donation of £115 will add to the tranche of money we are about to send to the school.

Alexa Writes:

We arrived in Kitale for the first time last week.

Wow, we were very impressed with what we saw. Aquinoe is full of bright and spirited children and staff . All were incredibly welcoming. We were called mazungo by the children and our straight hair was much stroked.

We have spent the week helping Ernest and Josphat to look at appraisal structures and general systems to make things a bit easier for staff in the future .

The rains are here and we have sudden rivers daily, quickly followed by sun. The next three days are a school holiday so we’ll go and visit the boarders and teach them
A spot of uno!

Volunteer Visit Bears Fruit

Alexa and Jenny continue to work very hard at Aquinoe and have made real progress with administrative matters, particularly with those related to teaching and monitoring.

They took some time out on Saturday and walked to the Kitale Nature Conservancy along with school staff and pupils.


More of Alexa and Jenny

Alexa and Jenny have been at Aquinoe for a week now and have got through a tremendous amount of work – talking to staff and pupils, making observations and suggestions, writing reports and taking photographs.

Thank you so much – the trustees are very grateful.

Alexa and Jenny volunteer in Kitale

Alexa and Jenny, two highly experienced teachers and administrators arrived at Aquinoe at the weekend and were welcomed by Josphat, the Director, and Lilyan, Chair of the Board.

They have set about tasks at the school and have already been chatting to staff, taking photos and making plans.