Aquinoe Learning Centre in Kigale, Northern Kenya, has been established for several years and has support from the Aquinoe Trust in UK. There are about 220 pupils from 3 years to about 19 years within which there are about 40 children with disabilities. The philosophy of the school is that handicapped children are to be integrated within a normal school environment – a seeming rarity in Africa where the view is still very much that any handicap is to be hidden away.
From memory there were about 100 boarders including all the children with a disability. Of the 100 a number were orphans and so lived at the school permanently.
Aquinoe had recently provided the school with a new building for the special needs children including a physiotherapy room. The only equipment though was a large “roll on” ball and a small bed.
Many of the children with disabilities had mobility problems and moving around in the thick mud was a challenge for even able bodied.
We had been asked to donate some food – maize and beans. The cost of living in Kenya has increased dramatically in the last year and so the school was finding it difficult to feed the children. Only the boarders ate at lunchtime. Children who lived nearby went home but others just had to do without as there was no money to pay for their lunch.
When we arrived the school had been disconnected from electricity because of non payment of bills so we agreed to donate an amount to get this reconnected as well as a sum towards the water account.
In all, on behalf of all our contributors, we passed on the following:
20 bags maize
5 bags beans
Ksh 37,000 towards water and electricity accounts
Footballs, skipping ropes, hoops
Assorted small “noise” toys for the younger children with a disability
Two trikes that could be used for leg strengthening excercise
Misc educational items, toilet rolls
We also personally sponsored 2 of the children. A 14 year old and a 19 year old. The older girl was an orphan with no other home than the school. She has severe problems and apparently came into the school following rape and being left for dead.
|Dormitory - not all the children have their own bed|
|Admiring the Library|
|Struggling in the mud|