Christmas 2019 Newsletter

Dear Friends

As I am preparing the accounts for the year end, I am very conscious that we could not have done what we have done without your help.

The school has continued, the children fed, the students leaving this year have done well in their end of school exams, and are now able to go onto secondary education, which is a great achievement. We have continued, despite all the problems we seem to face on a daily basis. Even as I write this, I do so, knowing that our school is under attack. In the last week or so, our security lights have been stolen, and several desks and chairs taken from one of the classrooms; our fencing has also been damaged, as men have broken on to the site. Our security guard has given up, as he is so scared – he was chased by guys with machetes. And this is all happening because of the extreme poverty they all live with. Chopping up our desks and chairs for firewood to sell, is understandable when you have nothing to eat, but it does cause us problems. Now, too, the weather is very bad and causing extreme flooding, as you may have seen on the t.v.

Paul continues to run his medical clinic on site, every 12 weeks and now has the assistance of a nurse, (who we pay for) to help him. He has also met a (local) surgeon there, who is very interested in helping Paul, so we will pursue this lead.

With the help of a school here in the UK we have been able to purchase some play equipment for the playground this year, and we are very grateful for all the help we get from the two schools who Pearl visits on a regular basis.

So…. Still plenty to do…….Thank you so much for your help and interest in the Kanamai Trust. You really are making a difference! Have a lovely Christmas.

From Pearl, Paul and all the Trustees.

Newsletter Summer 2019

All the schools in the UK have now closed for the long holiday. Paul and I have already had our main holiday for this year, and towards the end of August, Paul will be going back to Kenya for another medical `camp` (as it`s called there).

Pearl has been visiting various schools and organisations, the last being last month, when one of our local schools Year 2 put on a singing concert in aid of the Kanamai Trust. As well as the concert, two girls did a sponsored silence, and raised £104, and another girl held a sale of her toys and other things at her home, and at the school and raised a further £117. They wished us to use the money to buy play equipment for the playground at The Little Angels, and this money will be going out to Kenya in this coming week. It is very encouraging to see such commitment from young people, and we are so grateful to them, and the schools, for giving us these opportunities to spend time with their children.

Life is very precarious in Mabambani, where The Little Angels is situated. A young man was recently killed and two others have gone missing. This was reported on National TV and questions are being asked of the police. It`s all about land, and wealthy landowners and landgrabbers pay the police to deal with difficult villagers. Corruption is rife in Africa, and it is a constant problem our friends must live with.

The School continues to thrive, and we have been delighted to hear how well the senior children have performed in their National examinations. These students, who have all qualified for a high school education, have to pay school fees, buy school uniforms, shoes and books. For the past two years we have managed to cover the costs of 22 students, with help from some kind friends who have sponsored one or more of them. It costs about £200 a year to keep one student in high school. Although some parents are able to provide support, many can`t. So we do need help to make it possible for these very committed children to continue their education until the age of 18, when they receive their National diploma and the opportunity of higher education or a good career. We shall have another batch leaving school at the end of 2019. If you can help, please do get in touch with us?

Paul continues to go out to Kenya every 12 weeks, where he regularly sees about 60 patients and distributes about 150 prescriptions. He remains very busy, working full time at Southmead Hospital while always preparing for the next camp. Although we do all we can to make sure the paperwork required to import medicines is valid, there are often questions asked at Nairobi Airport. It is amazing how often they seem to change the rules! Still, we carry on. He has also given a lecture to the doctors at Kilifi District Hospital.

The cost of living – of food and petrol – continues to rise rapidly in Kenya, and so sadly the days when £40 per year paid for a child`s education at the Little Angels are long gone. Realistically, it has doubled. Teachers` salaries have risen, and the cost of basic foodstuffs – maize, porridge, sugar, rice, etc. – are astronomical. We are very rarely able to provide meat for the children, so their diet is mainly vegetarian. That is not a problem, but does need more managing. We currently have 15 children in the dormitory, and in fact one of our older children, who is at secondary school now, is living and helping out there, after suffering abuse from a family member.

This update may seem a little gloomy but, sadly, the socio-economic status of the poor people of Coastal Kenya has in fact become worse rather than better in recent years. So the Dinner/Dance we held in March, attended by almost 100 friends and supporters, was a great encouragement to us; as are the many verbal and written expressions of support we receive. Interest in the Kanamai Trust among people of all ages seems as intense as ever. We have already booked the venue for next years` Dinner/Dance – Saturday 13th June at the Aztec Hotel , Bristol . More details of that later, but meanwhile, please book the date!

So, very many thanks for your support – we really do need you – and every pound counts and makes a difference.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the Summer.

With all good wishes and our sincere thanks

Paul and Pearl

October 2018 Newsletter

Dear Friends

We do apologise for the long gap since our last letter. The summer months have just flown by, and we now find ourselves with a lot to report to you.

We have given the school buildings a make-over this year, and for security reasons we have had to have new gates made as well. Paul has just returned from Kenya, and has taken some pictures of the school which are attached to this letter.

Thirteen children took their final exams at the end of 2017, and all but one qualified for a place at secondary school. We have emphasised to the parents that we cannot pay their children`s fees every term, but we did start them off with books, uniforms, stationery and entrance fees. However, 6 of these children really are needing extra financial support, as they either do not have parents, or have a single struggling parent or grandparent. More of that later.

Meanwhile, at Little Angels the work continues. We have 17 teachers now for 200 children, and despite the rocketing prices of food we have continued to provide two meals daily for the children, and full board for those living in the dormitory. The teachers have had a small pay rise, which they have more than deserved. The cost of food and salaries have pushed up our running costs, which are now £2,500 a month. (Five years ago we were running the school on just £500 a month!) This figure does not include such things as new fencing, lighting, water pumps, and so on, which are an extra drain on our resources.

The economic situation in Kenya does not get any better. Tourists are few, and most of the hotels near the school have closed. There is just one open now, owned by President Kenyatta, where Paul stays – often as the only guest! Because the tourist industry has virtually ended, there is little work in the area, and paid work is very difficult to find. This has had a profound effect on what parents are able to contribute towards their children’s education, and it has become obvious that for some of the school children the only food they eat is what they are given at the school.

Pearl has continued to visit our local schools and other organisations to talk about the Trust, while Paul visits Kanamai every 12 weeks. (January, April, June, September, and one more visit in December.) His clinic population increases every time he visits, although sadly a small number have died. In December he will be giving a lecture on Heart Failure to local doctors and nurses.

We will have 18 Class 8 students taking their finals at the end of this year, and hopefully they will do as well as those who left last year. But at present we have no solution to the huge dilemma of how their school fees (about £200 per annum per student) will get paid. But we continue to live in hope!

Because he also runs our website George was required by the rules of the Charity Commissioners to stand down as a Trustee, but we are pleased to say that one of Paul’s Cardiac nurse colleagues has agreed to become a Trustee. Mrs Wendy Clifford will join the team in the new Year. As she did in 2017, Wendy will organise a dinner/dance on March 9th 2019, where we shall be focussing on how we can help support those secondary school children who will otherwise drop out and never reach their potential.

We are so grateful to all those who support us in many different ways, and if you know anyone who would like to sponsor the school on a regular basis, then do please pass on our details? One-off gifts are really wonderful too, and these have enabled us to ‘keep our heads above water’ this year. If you felt able to increase your standing order or send a one-off gift, then please let us know? We have forms available to enable us to claim Gift Aid. Gifts can also be made on line on the website. We urgently need to increase our guaranteed income to keep the Little Angels Academy running. It seems a long time since we had money available to build wells and toilets, but for now our main concern has to be to provide primary and, we hope, secondary education for the poor children of Kanamai.

Thank you so much for your support. We will hope to get out another letter before the end of the year. Meanwhile, we have to prepare the end of year figures and Reports for the Charity Commission and our accountant!

With best wishes and our grateful thanks to you all

Pearl and Paul