Dick Wheelock and I timed our arrival in Benin to coincide with the arrival of the container which we had loaded in Monmouth and the timing worked well. It held a generously donated a Fordson Major tractor and many ploughing and other farming accessories, also a number of bicycles for intended use by the youngsters enabling them to get to school. Dick also linked with a church in Monmouth and obtained an organ to give to the Affame Methodist Church. We took redundant medical equipment, and literally hundreds of pencils!
It was decided that the container should remain in Affame for added security and so after having off-loaded the tractor in the market place we faced the challenge of placing the container within the ‘Kakpo’ family compound. Dieudonne had successfully negotiated the release of the container from the port and its transport to Affame, but now he needed a lorry with a crane. Fortunately he located one and between the tractor pulling and the lorry lifting and pushing the container was left securely in place.
The organ is in use in the church and the organist wrote reiterating the great thanks he had expressed in church. ‘Merci beaucoup et que Dieu vous benisse’.
Medical equipment will be offered to the Health Centres of Hounvige and Aschonsa.
Achilles was pleased that he had been able to use the three classrooms on stilts during the school year 2011/12 but he also expressed his concern that the plastering and painting had yet to be done. The construction relies extensively on the use of re-enforcing bars and these are liable to corrode if not fully covered. However, this task is difficult to achieve and can only be done between the two rainy seasons when sand can be taken from the river and cement can be safely transported by pirogue and lorry from Affame.
In order to make optimum use of donations, keeping the transport costs to a minimum and making bulk purchase of cement would be essential. Thus, it would make the most economic sense if this remaining task could be undertaken when the funding for the total estimated cost of £2500 became available. We are currently £1800 short of this target and so further financial assistance is urgently requested please.
Excellent news from Athi school! Following on from a visit earlier in the year, of a professional volunteer (physiotherapist) and the project co-ordinator, we have had news that great progress has been madetowards the completion of the school dining hall. The project, which had been initiated by HATW volunteers in response to a request from the school, had been awaiting completion for some time.
The Local MP on a visit to the school campus agreed that progress was needed, and presented a cheque from the community development fund which has allowed for the connection of electricity and water, as well as other steps forward.
The school has been waiting on water for years in order to connect up the washing facilities and toilets which had been built into the dormitory building (another HATW project), but lacked the funds to make this happen. It is such good news to hear that at last the children will have access to a more regular water supply!
HATW has also been able to forward funds to buy a modern Jiko ( cooker) which will be installed in the kitchen off the dining hall, as well as some money towards plates and porridge jugs for the children’s use.
The next visit will be that of another professional volunteer – again a physiotherapist, who will stay at the school for 3 months from November. We are also hoping to be able to equip a treatment room, so that the disabled children in the school can have access to regular therapy on site; this room would also provide a place for health checks to be held.
We are always looking for professional volunteers who can spend time supporting the school – ideally, special needs teaching staff, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. If you want to find out more, or volunteer, please contact HATW at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In August The New Life Centre in Sarberia celebrated the 65th year of Indian Independence as seen in the photo. Alindra Naskar, the Principal, spoke to the children about the real meaning of freedom and the place of education in a free society.
I have attended several festivities at the school during my visits, and Alindra believes that it is important for the children and staff to celebrate together.
Here we see the staff sharing some snacks at the end of Independence Day.
The school is helped by Hands Around The World’s sponsorship scheme, but in an attempt to educate as many children as possible, Alindra accepts all children whether they can pay or not.
The HATW sponsorship scheme is providing a much needed boost to the school fees that Alindra Naskar collects from the children. There are now 19 sponsors and I continue to recruit sponsors in the belief that this is the way toself-sufficiency for Alindra.
One of the latest children to be sponsored was chosen by Alindra as her brother drowned tragically two years ago and her parents are still traumatised by his death. Alindra believed that by sponsoring this little girl, her parents would be given hope for the future. There are a lot of deep ponds around Sarberia, so this is an ever present danger.
Wouldn’t you like to support the school, and make the world of difference in the life of a child?