Since our last newsletter, Paul has been out to Kenya for just a week in April, and is due to go out again in August – again for just a week. By going every 3 months or so he can undertake regular clinics at the School, renew his patients` prescriptions and restock the pharmacy.
At present, due to our Foreign Office`s advice, I shall not be going but shall continue to do what I can from here. We have good links with a school in Portishead, and with another at Longwell Green. I have been privileged to visit the schools and take part not only in Assemblies but in classes.
I value these school links very highly, because they not only provide some valuable ‘extras’ for the children at Little Angels, but our own children here in Bristol are learning so much from the link with a school in a Third World Country, with all that entails. We were asked if we could provide 100 nets for the children in the school who do not have them, and we received gifts for that particular need. In May, I took mosquito nets to a school in Portishead to show them what they were like; and with the cheque they gave me (from the sale of cakes) we sent out money for a further 20 nets. This month the school is holding a table top sale, and the money will provide `extras` for the Little Angels School at Christmas. The school in Longwell Green have also held a Summer Fair for the last couple of years, giving the proceeds to the Trust for various projects. Last year they were able to supply the school with some beds for the dormitory.
Since Paul went out in April, we have completed a block of toilets in Taliban village. We have also built a dedicated staff room at the school, since the one we built 3 years ago is now a classroom. There has been a fair bit of ‘making good’ too on some of the classroom floors, and also in the corridor in the dormitory, which is also being used as a classroom. This is essential to keep the `jiggers` away.
Unfortunately a large branch of a very tall tree – on a neighbour’s property – fell onto the roof of one of our classrooms, so we have had to buy new iron sheets. We have provided each of the children with a pair of shoes, and also managed to buy quite a large number of mosquito nets for the children who do not have one. We hope this might reduce the large number of children who have caught malaria recently and have needed emergency treatment. Fortunately, since all the children have been treated promptly we have had no fatalities. We see this as a high priority and, as we are able, we will purchase more nets to distribute. Each net costs around £5.00.
We were asked to move the toilets by the local council governor, since the new classroom was too close, and this has been done now. They were getting old and so we have built now ones – at our expense of course!
So what we have been able to achieve this year has been quite tremendous, thanks to your generosity!
We do have another big problem, which has only come up this week. Food costs have risen by about 30 per cent in the past year and, due to the high cost of food, it was decided – very reluctantly – by our school staff to stop providing breakfast for all the children. We were very disappointed by that, since this will make it hard for the children to concentrate and we are determined to re-establish breakfast. To do that we shall need to send out an extra £30 per week. This will provide a daily breakfast for all of our day-attenders; the children in the dormitory are still having breakfast 7 days a week. We have enough funds to pay for this for the next couple of months, but, in the longer term, we need to have something more permanent in place.
So, would you be able to increase your subscription? If all our lovely donors gave an extra £5.00 a year that would cover the extra cost; an extra £10 would give us a cushion for the foreseeable future. If you can help, do please let us know?
We cannot allow the children to start eating sand again to fill their tummies against hunger pains, which is what some of them were doing before they came to the Little Angels School.
Whatever you are able to send to us, please know that we will use it wisely?
Thank you for your concern and interest in our charity. If you are a tax-payer, we can, of course, claim back from HM Inland Revenue the tax you have already paid on your gift. We have forms available for this purpose.
Paul has also been very busy with the medical side of things. It seems to have been a bad few months for malaria and other water-borne diseases, so a number of the children have had to have hospital treatment. Nevertheless, he has funded several major operations and has treated an increasing number of patients in his clinics. As with the school, the medical work requires our input on an almost daily basis; but, as with the schoolchildren, is extremely rewarding.
With very many thanks for your help and with our very best wishes.
Pearl and Paul Walker,
Debbie, George and Paul