John with his hearing aid
We have a beautiful clinic. It’s been a long time coming but what a difference it will make. Some years ago one of our parents died because she could not afford to visit a clinic for antibiotics. That will never happen again.
Sonal Lakhani climbed Kilimanjaro to raise money towards the clinic, and to furnish and resource a classroom and a staffroom including a couple of laptops and a projector. Such an amazing girl! She was so loved by our children when she came to visit. I was so impressed by the questions the older children asked her about her climb. So lovely she was able to visit when we were there.
Then we had a large donation from a charitable trust and from Rotary to enable us to complete phase two of our building including the pillars, the first floor slab, the office, the staffroom the cess pit and soak-away. No pictures of the completed rooms yet so I can't wait to go out to see it in February.
One thing that we were disappointed about last year was when two of our excellent teachers went for jobs in a government school. We could not blame them as the government pays higher salaries than we could afford however we were so delighted when they contacted us. Leah said, 'I have 109 children in my class and by the end of the day my voice has completely gone. The children at the back of the class do not listen to anything I say. I have spent a huge amount on throat tablets. Please can I come back?' Mwanajuma's story was similar. We know our school is making a difference to the opportunities for these poor children but it is so great to have it confirmed. How can anyone learn in those circumstances?
We did such a lot on our last visit but one of the highlights was getting hearing aids for John thanks to donors in the UK. John is our third deaf child but he is far more profoundly deaf than the other two. There was no look of joy on his face when they were fitted so we were all a little deflated. Then, three days later an excited mum came to say ‘He can hear! When motor cyclists or cars come past he mimics the sound and copies the actions’. Tears came to my eyes. He may not learn to speak, although he tries really hard, but at least this is a start.
We are so privileged to be able to do this work. The rewards are great. Of course we have anxieties too like the annual worry we shall soon have that we shall be able to continue to fund the feeding programme upon which these children rely. And will the next part of the building be funded in time for the following year’s intake. Then a donation arrives and we are elated. I suppose I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who supports us with whatever you have given. No donation is too small to make a difference.
Porridge, part of the feeding programme
Some of our children