Before school closed
We returned from a successful month in Kenya to 'Lockdown' both in the UK and Kenya. Kenya had just three cases at the time but the president closed all schools on the day we flew back. Whilst in Kenya we were able to sort out various issues that had been preventing progression of the school building and it was exciting to be able to see the upper storey of the school really get underway. It was going to be difficult to make a lot of progress whilst the children were in school but of course with the schools closed there has been great progress, especially now the rains are easing up. We don't know when the children will be allowed to return to school but hopefully they will return to six completed classrooms and we shall be able to move all children into this building.
Needless to say the above is the good news. The bad news is also that the children are not in school. Just as in the UK it is the underprivileged who suffer most. The government have ensured that there are lessons on WhatsApp for all children, or should I say all children who have access to WhatsApp. That is not true for most of our children. Teachers have been preparing work for children or parents to collect but not all have come. This is going to be such a disadvantage for our children who are already disadvantaged. The amazing B- that we have been able to achieve for our 14 year olds in their KCPE exams in the last two years cannot happen this year and will probably disadvantage them for much longer.
The next is a mixture of good and bad news. Thanks to a number of people who have made generous donations and some wonderful people who have done fundraising for us we have been able to feed the very poorest of our families and provide all our families with soap. People come once a week to collect soap and homework and the families we are feeding also collect dried beans and maizemeal. At least they will not starve. It cost £5 per week to provide food and soap to a poor family and we have 80 such families and additionally we provide soap to another 120 families costing us an additional 50p per family. We have used most of our reserves paying teachers salaries and they will now be going onto half salary. We shall be able to continue as we are for another month, but... so very worrying for every one.
I'm in regular contact via WhatsApp with Irene our headteacher and Collins our secretary and hear news from them. If any of you are wondering whether your efforts are appreciated the parents are absolutely overwhelmed by what they are receiving. I'm told that comments are, 'Rita is wonderful, we don't know what we would have done. We are praying for her to keep well. Tell her we are so grateful that we can feed our children.' I realise that the comments are directed at me but I know that this has come from you and I want to pass them on with my thanks to you all.
Such a difficult time for everyone, and so easy for people to look closer to home for their charity giving. And who could blame them? Unless you have seen first hand what it is like for our parents and children and know them personally and can see what a difference these donations are making it must be difficult to appreciate how important this is. I feel very humbled by their gratitude and even more grateful that you are allowing me to make this difference. We cannot do this without your help.
If you know of anyone who would like to support us please do forward this email. Although this project is about building a school, at this moment in time we need to ensure that healthy children return to us when school opens. As a result donations are going towards food, soap and salaries.
washing hands before eating
food during lockdown
Building will soon have a roof