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

Christmas Newsletter 2017

Firstly, apologies that this letter has been a long time coming! We have had a busy summer, and there has been a fair bit of work to do in Kenya, one way or another.

We had a drought; there had been very little rain for the last 2 years. This meant that very little food had been grown, and the cost of food was rising virtually by the day.

Having done what we could to help with the purchase of food, it then rained and rained!

So much rain, that whole villages and roads were washed away, and we received horrific pictures of the consequences. Many people, including children, lost their lives, and we sent out every piece of clothing and blankets which we had here to help, as well as extra money for food. Our school lost a bit of the roof, so that was replaced, and of course, the long-drop toilets needed emptying as they had flooded. It was awful to see how the homes built of mud and sticks, just disintegrated, and were left, in some cases, with just their bamboo roofs at floor level. This was followed inevitably with a fair bit of illness, particularly amongst the children. We are grateful to those who have helped us with extra funds to send out, and the support given by the two schools which Pearl visits was just wonderful. One School held a summer fair, and raised more than £500, and the other school also had a sale and raised in excess of £450. During the summer holidays whilst in the High Street shopping, Pearl noticed a sale going on in a front garden. Imagine her surprise when she went to investigate, to find it was 3 girls from the school holding a sale of their books, toys, clothes, DVD’s etc., in aid of the Kanamai Trust! They had taken pictures off the internet to decorate their stall, and it was really beautiful. They raised more than £220. We used this money to buy school books which we desperately needed. So, a big thank you to all our young supporters. We really couldn’t manage without you.

Earlier in the year, our oldest children took their mock finals, and did very well. They have just recently taken them for real, and we await the outcome. Their results will determine which senior schools they are able to attend so they are really important.

With all the upheavals caused by the elections it has not been easy living for our friends in Kenya. The future is not good, when you realise that tourism is virtually non existent, and on which they were dependent.

On a happier note, we had a dinner/dance in late Spring, which was a great success. We have just booked to hold another one on September 29th 2018, so book the date in your diary now and join us. It will be a great evening. Thanks to Wendy for organising this year’s event, and also next years event too!

We are going to add some photos for you which we hope you will find of interest.

Of great concern to us is the continuing rise in the cost of living in Kenya, and of course, this reflects on what we can do, particularly at the school. Throughout the last year, we have continued to supply porridge for the children for breakfast, and a meal at lunchtime. We are now very rarely able to provide meat as the cost is too high. The children in the dormitory need another meal in the evening, too of course. In 2012 we were able to fund education, food, medicines and even a school uniform for £40 a year per pupil. Sadly that is no longer the case, so if anyone can increase their annual giving even by £5 it would make our task a lot easier.

Many, many thanks for your support and encouragement. We are only able to do what we do because of your help.

Thank you too to George who has helped us with the website. Earlier in the year, it crashed, and so it meant a lot of work for George to get it put right. For technical reasons he will no longer be a Trustee, though he is going to continue doing what he does so well on behalf of the Trust.

May we take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and happy Christmas and the New Year.

Paul, Pearl, George, Debbie & Paul

May 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends

Thank you so much to the 98 friends who came to the Dinner/Dance on Saturday at the Aztec Hotel. We had a wonderful evening, and raised more than £3,000 for the Trust with which we shall open a Bursary Fund for the children who will need support when they go to Secondary School next year. We had friends from Norfolk, Suffolk, Wiltshire, Sussex, Kent, Somerset, Devon and Gloucestershire, as well as folk from the Bristol area. Many were medics and nurses, and we are grateful to them for their enthusiasm and support.

Picture 1Paul was in Kenya just over a week ago, and when he returned he felt that the economic situation would probably get much worse. The supply of maize was running out, and the price per kilo was rising daily. The rains were now coming in heavy bursts, and with no infrastructure to hold the water the peoples` plight was steadily deteriorating. Yesterday and today have proved him right. It is, quite honestly, devastating. There are now flash floods across the district and the poor peoples` homes are just being washed away. Overnight many have lost their lives. We have a picture of three young children of a family of six, all of whom drowned overnight (although we don’t feel we can share this with you). A young lad was washed away on his way to school. He has still not been found. We have photos of the main road, or rather where the road used to be; a car overturned and was swallowed up by the torrents. A family of 5 perished in it. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg and things are likely to get worse by the day as more deluges come.

Picture 2As well as the obvious need for many of somewhere to live, this will probably lead to many water-borne diseases – cholera and typhoid in particular – becoming rife in the weeks to come. This is also the malaria season, and there will be little protection from the mosquito’s. The villagers had just started to plant maize, but now it has all been washed away. Their houses are made of mud, wood and stone and so they too are just disintegrating. It would be unwise for me to comment on the political situation in Kenya, but suffice it to say that at present the politicians are doing nothing to help. This after all is Election year.

We will add some pictures for you, and if you feel you can help us to aid this terrible situation, we will send out your money to provide food, and shelter.

At present our school still stands, though there could be damage to our long drop toilets which will need to be addressed in the coming weeks.

If you would like to do so through our Website, using My Donate, please mark it `Flood Disaster`. Alternatively, please send gifts to me, and I will make sure that the money gets out there as quickly as possible.

With very many thanks – we remain – sincerely yours,

Paul and Pearl Walker.