26th Oct 2011
I revisited Dogba after an absence of 2.5 years. Flood water was about 75cm deep throughout the village and the crossing from Affame was about a mile long. The newer 3 classrooms built by HATW certainly are working well and were piled high with all the desks from the remaining classrooms (which are not high enough to prevent water ingress at full flood.
2 of the 3 classrooms are being fully used and all damage caused by the falling walnut tree has been neatly repaired.
Some minor work remains to be done on last classroom:-
A 2 further rows of tiles (about 50) are required on the roof.
B Achilles (school director) requested the repositioning of the door, so about 10square metres ofventilated blockwork has to be built but blocks are already cast.
C Currently there is a double flight of steps from ground level part way along the building and Dieu Donne proposes to move one flight of steps further west to improve access.
The third classroom has been built to a better standard than the initial two and the alterations we made to the floor casting method worked well.
Dieu Donne has obviously put a great deal of effort into the project but admits that he under-estimated the logistical problems involved in a site with no road access.These problems were compounded by the Parry design whichwas much more complicated than needed. This has resulted in a building which, whilst fulfilling its requirements was more expensive than anticipated..
The major work now required is the rendering of the outside which, as explained in my previous report, is important to prolong the life of this building. Obviously the sooner this work is completed the better.
On a practical level it would be quite possible to do the remedial works A B and C at the same time as the rendering as Dieu Donne and team would have to mix the mortar in any case although they would be employing the localcontractor to apply it.
Further funds are now needed to complete the work (about £2000). Please can you help?
Autumn update - Athi school
HATW currently has 4 volunteers on short term placements with Athi school, 3 physiotherapists and an occupational therapist. The school childrenhave made them feel welcome, and teachers and children were delighted with the limited school materials and games that they had been able to bring.
The cost of local supplies has risen significantly recently and there are now 103 children, 5 special needs teachers and several non-teachingsupport staff. Currently, finding enough food to keep the children supplied is a serious concern; with much effort, enough money hasbeen identified to last until the end of November, but the term is then ending early.
There are always developments still to be made – completion of building work makes resource demands, but this may need to be urgentlydiverted instead to meet everyday needs; this means that the dining room which has been built is not fully functional yet, still needingwindows and the internal floor surface finishing.
More classrooms are urgently needed, since the 3 that are currently available cannot house all the children effectively. Classrooms aresplit in half with a thin dividing wall, but it doesn’t help separate the noise of the different lessons! A school dispensary and therapy room to support the disabled children are also badly needed.
The children borrow a ball from the main primary school next door for PE, since they do not have sufficient resources themselves – they canalways do with more games for inside and outside use!
How can you help today - to provide supplies and also complete much needed development?
Mr Alindra Naskar’s visit to the UK this summer has resulted in 8 new sponsors for the school. This will have a long lasting effect on the school as a whole as the money more than pays for individual children, so everyone benefits.
A link with an engineering company, who paid for the building of separate toilets for the girls and boys of the school last year, was also strengthened as a result of the visit. Having met Mr Naskar face to face the board were moved to suggest that they could help to build a health care centre on the site of the school for the local villagers, who at themoment are at the mercy of untrained ‘medicine’ men.
The school is growing rapidly with 71 new students this term, and soon the new classrooms will be full. If Mr Naskar wants to realise his ambition of secondary level schooling, then further building will need to be done.